#IncomingElliott: Julianna Gil

Julianna Gil, M.A. International Development Studies, Class of 2023, #IncomingElliott Student

Julianna Gil is a first-year Masters candidate in the International Development Studies program at the Elliott School, concentrating in Natural Resources and the Environment, and Humanitarian Assistance. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs, and minor in Creative Nonfiction Writing, at University of California, Riverside in 2020. She is interested in sustainable development, peace building, humanitarian aid, and environmental policy in both Africa and Latin America. She recently held an internship with the Community and Government Relations team at the County of Orange Social Services Agency, ensuring employees and county residents received communications regarding public assistance programs through social media and weekly newsletters. She hopes to use her knowledge of Latin American culture and Spanish in a future career. Julianna enjoys traveling, learning new languages and cultures, keeping up to date with current international affairs, and reading.  

What made you interested in your graduate program of choice?   

Since I was young, I was always interested in international affairs (IA) without really know it. My interest started due to my aunt having studied and currently working in IA because I would see hers take business trips to Asia and Europe. Aside from that influence, I traveled frequently to Mexico, which exposed me to another culture, its domestic issues and a whole region outside the U.S. However, I decided on my own to pursue a career in international development after receiving my bachelor’s because of personal research. When I was searching for different careers within the IA field, I focused on what I truly was hoping to achieve within my professional life— helping people in underdeveloped countries and having the opportunity to travel to those places. I based my decision on those desires, which led me to finding GW’s International Development Studies program. 

What skills do you hope to pick up or further develop at the Elliott School? 

During my graduate studies, I hope to learn hands-on and current development methods. I want to be prepared to come across problems and find the adequate solutions for them. I learned theoretical approaches to IA, and I want to know beyond theories and history. 

If you could have anyone in the international affairs field serve as your personal mentor through grad school, who would you pick and why? 

If I could have anyone to mentor me, I would choose my family friend, Audrey. She is a GW alum and has a lengthy career within the World Bank, so she would have a lot to teach/advise me on, as well as guide me through this next chapter in my life. However, if I had the choice to choose anyone I wasn’t personally connected to, then I would choose Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Merkel has been an influential, female figure within the political realm, which is still a harsh environment for women to breakthrough. I find her tenacity, strength and attitude admirable, especially for me— a woman beginning her professional career in IA. 

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program? 

I have always loved Washington, D.C. By causality, I visited GW during a family trip to the east coast and had a feeling that I would attend this school one day. The Elliott School attracted me because of it’s program structure and approach towards real-life experience in the IA field, as well as it’s international reputation. I found myself committing to the Elliott School at the right place in my life. 

If you could recommend one city outside of the US that people should visit, which city would you recommend and why? 

If you haven’t visited Venice, Italy, do yourself a favor and book a flight right now. It’s absolutely the most beautiful, historical, and fascinating city. Venice looks straight out of a painting. The tight, maze-like streets lead tourists to hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cafes, as well as picture-worthy moments. The lagoon the city sits on is close enough to other small islands worth visiting— Murano, Burano, and Torcello. And don’t even get me started on the food… 


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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.