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About jakem1023

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    2018 Fall

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  1. jakem1023

    2019-2020 Boren Applicants

    I'll be applying! Have my sights set on Tanzania to study Swahili and the intersection of climate change and the refugee crisis. Any thoughts on the African Flagship Language Initiative? Would love to speak to anyone who has done that program.
  2. jakem1023

    LSE vs SIPA? MPA in development

    I just turned down a $24,000 scholarship from Columbia's MPA-DP program. Even with that funding I would have needed to take out loans upwards of $130,000 to cover fees, tuition, and cost of living. Its completely ridiculous how expensive it is. I am just not convinced this kind of investment is worth it in a career in international development. I declined a 38.5% scholarship from Georgetown's Global Human Development program for that reason as well. Instead I accepted an offer from University of Arizona's Masters in Development Practice (full ride + living stipend). Granted I am very lucky to have this option - but I think I would have gained more work experience (only have 3 years of experience) in an attempt to get more funding. I talked to loads of professionals in development and it simply doesnt matter as much in this field in terms of where you go. However I heard too many horror stories about how debt made them stressed throughout the program and significantly impacted their early career decisions and even their ability to afford starting a family. Youre starting salary probably wont exceed $60,000 or so for the average entry job in development - keep the finances in mind! Overseas field jobs dont pay much either - ask yourself if you think you can make the $500/1000/month payments. I was blinded by the prestige at first but I think I made the right choice going to a smaller program with more faculty access - SIPA is notorious for low faculty access. I would recommend LSE - good way to access European networks and better bang for your buck. There is no objective answer to which program is best for you - best of luck!
  3. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Wishing everyone on their way out soon the best of luck as we all embark on this incredible opportunity! I've been slowly going crazy these past few months because I've gotten practically no information from Fulbright. I wasn't able to attend PDO and I'm in a non-commission country (Cambodia) with only 2 people in the entire program. The average response time to my e-mails has largely been 3-4 weeks since the head of East Asia is in the middle of a transition period which has been difficult trying to secure a Fly America compliant flight among other inquiries etc. Was hoping to run a few questions by those in more developed programs: 1. When does the first installment of our grant usually enter our bank accounts? I don't depart till September 25th so I still have time, though to capitalize on cheap flights I purchased my plane ticket already and was really hoping for the money to come at least 1 month in advance but I'm growing worried that the money won't be in my account (I just came out of the Peace Corps and I'm all too familiar with missed/late payments so I'm hoping Fulbright runs a tighter ship). 2. If we have a medical emergency are we given access to the US Embassy doctor or are we largely left to whatever the local health institutions can provide? 3. Are we allowed to purchase vehicles and drive in country if we have an international drivers permit? I want to buy a motorcycle to cut down on transport costs. I just came out of the Peace Corps where we were inundated with all these rules and it seems like Fulbright is largely laissez-faire. 4. How does vacation work? How many days are we entitled to? 5. It still isn't very clear to me what the structure of the program is (I'm US Student study/research). To date my main point of contact is the Embassy's Public Affairs Specialist however on the Fulbright website it provides the information for the Cultural Affairs Officer. Anybody have a little cheat sheet of who to contact for what? I have an in-country half day orientation when I arrive so I'll have a lot of questions answered by then but based on everything that I've been told it appears the expectation of my program is for me to show up and figure everything out once I arrive. I'm perfectly fine with an unstructured program and actually prefer it; just wanted to compare with others and get some answers to these questions as I impatiently wait 4 more weeks to start!
  4. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Congrats! I'm a current Peace Corps volunteer serving in the northern part of Benin. Would be happy to chat with you more about Benin and put you in touch with about the 80 or so volunteers out here as well! PM me!!
  5. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Got this from an email 3 days ago from East Asia Pacific Program: "PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION: Grantees to non-Commission countries (aka Post grantees) are required to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) in Washington, D.C. See the Resources page for the dates of the PDO for your Region. The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and IIE will provide a range of Pre-Departure Resources including websites with information and country contacts and live Webinars on Grant Administration and in-country issues, such as visas and arrival. The official PDO invitation emails should be sent out within the next 2 weeks and will provide information on how to register for the event and make travel/hotel arrangements. Travel and hotel expenses will be covered by the Fulbright Program. Your prompt attention to all requests for information, whether from this office or from the U.S. Embassy, will insure that you receive your grant payments on time." Email had other frequently asked questions, but sounds like PDO will be solidified by May 5th
  6. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    So I contacted Fulbright and they told me: "You will receive an email with a link to the orientation website within the upcoming weeks. You can file for an exemption request, all decisions and dates are made by the State Department."
  7. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Hope we get clarification this week...I suppose they are waiting to inform the rest of the programs before releasing information on how to get an exemption? Do you suppose commission country's have a quicker document turn around time than non-commission countries? I have sent some time sensitive requests to Fulbright but I imagine they are overwhelmed on a number of different items (including notifications on the remaining countries)! I just really need to know ASAP what date I will be flying, whether it be the first week of September or the last!
  8. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    "Attendance at Pre-Departure Orientations is mandatory. Exemptions will only be considered for extenuating circumstances by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. Information on filing an exemption will be made available to grantees invited to the Pre-Departure Orientations in early April." I only just received notification yesterday, but was wondering if anybody has any more information on filing an exemption. I'm overseas with the Peace Corps and the process to request vacation days is a timely one so I need to know pretty much ASAP when/how/if I can get an exemption.
  9. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    If you want to start subscribing to superstitious belief I'd recommend it...within 24 hours of using this supposed "reverse magic" I got notified! Worth a try eh? Seems like an awful lot of waiting left for South America and Latino countries...good luck!
  10. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Woohoo! Cambodia just announced, got selected for research! So glad the wait is finally over! Hope everyone who is waiting on results/clarification on alternate status hear back soon!!
  11. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Anyone want to make bets on which country will notify last? I'm currently waiting on Cambodia to release results...though I'd rather bet against myself for own sanity's sake!
  12. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    On the bright side I think for East Asia its only Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, and Singapore in terms of countries that havent released any notifications. Seems to me like results are kind of aggregated between East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Really hoping they finish off East Asia this upcoming week!!
  13. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Have all my fingers crossed and actively pursuing any and all good luck remedies in hopes that East Asia will make a lot of announcements today! I'm waiting on Cambodia, but at this point seeing more and more results from East Asia pour in brings me happiness in that I know there are that many less countries that stand in my way of finding out for myself!! I find it crazy that if Im selected as a finalist, by the time I would start the grant it will have been 1.5 years since I first contacted my host organizations asking about affiliation! Such.A.Painful.Wait! I make periodical contact with my affiliates, but the conversation is basically "hey dont forget me, still waiting on results!!!"
  14. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Semi-finalist for Cambodia to do research! Scored an affiliation with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Cambodian Ministry of Environment, and we hope to research the impacts of wildfires on biodiversity and livelihood resiliency on the tonle sap (would be working on floating villages and in flooded forests but hoping to base myself out of Siem Reap). For my community engagement project I plan on running an after school program to teach kids English and to engage in different community projects with a local NGO. My Fulbright project isn't as academic as it is a development project since I hope on conducting research that will drive environmental policy on a national level. I studied abroad in Cambodia in 2014 so I'm hoping that doesn't go against me, but I'll just have to wait and see what comes! Would be really nice to get an early notification this year...after watching Sub-Saharan Africa get notified a month early I'm hoping SE Asia follows suite!
  15. jakem1023

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Anybody currently living overseas? I'm in a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa (sitting here in my town with a super slow connection refreshing my e-mail takes up a nice chunk of my late afternoons), and due to the time difference, I have to essentially wait another day more to see if any new notifications arrived. I found out that I was a semi-finalist during a mid-night bathroom run and that ruined my night's sleep for sure! Now every time I go to the bathroom at night I check my phone in hopes of a magical blue dot to suddenly appear, or rush out of bed as if it is x-mas morning to check my e-mails. Guess the torture shall continue...

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