Strangely enough, my connection to GW began the day I received my F-1 student visa from the US Embassy in Muscat, Oman. The woman behind the counter in the consular section had spent the previous summer at the Elliott School – which is where I was going to go for my MA studies.
Swapping the heat of the Middle East for two years of crazy weather – Hurricane Sandy and the never-ending Polar Vortex to name but two – was the least of my problems. I was wondering how I would cope with going back into the classroom eight years after graduating from university in the UK with a BA in English Literature.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry. I was deeply impressed by the knowledge and hands-on practical tutoring from the professors – the majority of which had day jobs in globally influential institutions, such as the World Bank. IMF, USAID and the State Department.
Everything I have learned, from quantitative analysis to trade theory, as well as sharpening up my presentation skills, will no doubt be used in whatever professional field I move into after graduation. Aside from these skills, I’ve learnt so much more about my areas of interest – international development and the Middle East – from professors with hands-on, practical experience of the issues at hand, as opposed to purely classroom experience.
Working here in the GW Center for Career Services has been a fantastic experience too, and not only because it gives me an excuse to spend all day on Twitter. It has given me some great skills which I can add to my resume; not only in social media, but also outreach, analytics, and strategic planning.
Both working and studying here at GW these last two years has given me a great appreciation for what the university does for it students and for the wider community. Although I graduate this May, I can’t imagine that I won’t remain connected to GW in some way.
Alex Adams is the Graduate Fellow for Communications and Outreach at the GW Center for Career Services.