Archive for the ‘Diary of a MIR Student’ Category

25
Mar

Day 2 in Brussels:

Today the MIR students and I woke up quite early to enjoy the complimentary breakfast served at our hotel. We’re staying at the lovely Radisson Blu which is conveniently located in walking distance to most of the EU institutions. After satiating my growling stomach with french toast, eggs, bacon, and sausages, we began our walk to the European Commission building. We arrived during the middle of rush hour with a line coiling around the lobby to enter the first security check. After a quick briefing, we were led into a meeting room to participate in a very interesting series of seminars covering a range of different topics.

Topics included information about the EU and the European Commission, EU and Russia relations, Banking Policy, the EU energy union, and the EU enlargement policy. It was quite surreal to see the civil servants walking around going about their daily work life. Various languages could be heard as I walked around each corner of the Commission. One of my favorite parts of the day was the lunch in their cafeteria. The food was diverse and delicious and most of us left happily clutching our stomachs with satisfaction.

One of the other students and I got to catch a glimpse of the EU Water Conference by accident while getting lost in our attempt to wander back to our meeting room. There was a large room with seemingly important people and booths filled with translators in the back. People were rushing around with papers seemingly preparing for something important.  We were really lucky to have briefly seen the proceeding.

After a long day of seminars, most of the MIR students and I went for dinner. We had to try the famous Belgian fries and local foods! The food was plentiful and delicious. Tomorrow we will be attending a seminar with the International Organization for Migration and also the European Parliament.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Calvin

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This is part of a series where current Master in International Relations student Calvin Nguyen will share with us updates about the Master in International Relations yearly trip to Brussels.

24
Mar

 Day 1 in Brussels:

At 8:00 am the alarm clock began blaring loudly. I swiped sideways.  With the sun still not completely out yet and the rain pattering on the outside of my window, I slowly made my way out of bed. There was no time to waste because today was the long awaited day for the MIR program’s annual Brussels trip! With a quick shower and some last minute adjustments, I was out the door and on the way to the airport. At the airport I was greeted with 22 other excited, yet not fully awake MIR students. Before we knew it, we were on the way to Brussels, Belgium.  After a brief 2.5 hour flight, we had finally arrived at our destination. We checked into our hotel and had a quick one hour break before having to meet for our first event of the day.

We had the chance to meet with Director Doru Frantescu of Votewatch Europe, an NGO whose goal is to gather information on the EU Parliamentarians via data mining, compiling, and then finally presenting the information on an easy to understand platform on their website. Their goal is to provide accountability and transparency within the EU Parliamentary processes and to overall provide information to curious people and other organizations. In 2014 during election season, the NGO offered a free phone app that allowed users to answer and to share their opinions on 20 critical issues. Afterwards, the app would display matches with EU Parliament members and political parties that matches their views by matching data from the past 5 years.

After the very interesting meeting with Votewatch Europe, we went to a local bar for “Beers and Foreign Policy,” for an informal event to listen to and to discuss with Mr. Nereo Peñalver García. The hot topic and focus on the night was the situation in Iraq and Syria with the emergence of the Islamic State/Daech. Over cocktails and snacks over an informal setting, we got to hear about Mr. Nereo’s unique perspective and insights from his recent return from the region. Such an informal setting was a very different and fun way to engage in an exchange of ideas.

Tomorrow we will be up bright and early for a trip to the European Commission. It’s very rewarding to be able to not only learn in the classroom in Madrid, Spain but to see the actual institutions and talk to the actors that we have been studying about these past few months.

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This is part of a series where current Master in International Relations student Calvin Nguyen will share with us updates about the Master in International Relations yearly trip to Brussels.

24
Mar

Hi everyone! Saludos a todos.

I’m sitting here in my apartment in Madrid, munching on the famous Spanish mandarins and Canarian bananas, writing this post after finishing the notoriously difficult 2nd term of the program. I feel mentally and physically exhausted, but very accomplished, accompanied with a sense of excitement for the MIR program’s upcoming Brussel’s trip. We will visit key EU Institutions and even NATO and have the opportunity to attend an EU Parliamentary session. I’ve officially passed the half way point of the program and it’s crazy to think that I’ll be done in just a few months. It is within this context that I begin writing to you all today.

My name is Calvin, a student of the Masters in International Relations program at IE. I’m from Sunnyvale, California, USA in the heart of all things technology-related in Silicon Valley. Most of my friends and family work in technology, many as engineers or programmers. It seemed natural that I too, should pursue a career in tech. After starting my undergraduate as a major in Computer Science and taking my first programming course, I immediately knew it was not for me. I noticed I lacked the enthusiasm and interest that my classmates had as they typed away on their laptops and spent weekends holed up in the basement level computer lab.

At age 20, I went to participate in a summer Japanese intensive study program in Kyoto, Japan because of a strong recommendation from a friend. That trip really changed my life by opening up the world to me. I felt like a fish that had finally left its fishbowl and had discovered the ocean with its vast unknown, yet exciting possibilities.

That event spurred me to begin to pursue further international opportunities during my undergraduate and post-graduation through interacting more with international students at my home university and also via studying, volunteering, traveling, and working internationally.

By the time I was applying for the IE School of International Relations, I had lived in several countries already. I was sitting in my Japanese tatami style room in Taipei, Taiwan with the table was covered in Chinese books and piles of papers with sketches of Chinese characters. My laptop was on the table with an application open for the MIR in Madrid, Spain. I felt that an International Relations program would have been the perfect match for me.

Fast forward 9 months later and now I am living in Madrid, Spain.

On a concluding note, I will be keeping a running blog of our Brussels trip so stay tuned for updates!

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Best Wishes,
Calvin

27
Jun

This will be my last post…

I said last week that I would explain why IE Business School is such a great option; so, I will begin with that. The main reason why I chose to study at IE was because it was much cheaper than graduate schools in the U.S. This reason may not be understood by all – especially if you if you are not from the States; however the following reasons certainly can resonate with all. The programs at IE are very short, and very intense — a preferable method to many over the long, slow-paced programs in the U.S. and in most other countries. I believe the best thing about IE, though, is the international student body and professors, from whom you can learn much. Lastly, IE desires for you to have a balance between study and personal life/fun/relaxing, and also a balance in class concerning the teaching method and material.

My year and a half (I did two programs) at IE Business School was one of the best periods of my life and I highly recommend embarking upon this memorable experience to all. Good luck to all of those who will study at IE Business School in the future, and I know that your experience here will be just as unforgettably great as mine was.

18
Jun

2 weeks remaining…

2 weeks to go! In the next two weeks, we have four intense courses to finish and our thesis to submit. Additionally, I´m sure most of us are still searching for jobs; or at least, preparing to move and start fresh in a new location.

The next 3 weeks for me will be mostly focused on school (along with looking for jobs). The week after classes end we have to defend our thesis, which understandably, is also very demanding. Immediately following the program, in addition to packing and preparing to move, I expect to spend time with my close friends before I leave.

I don´t know how many more times I will write in this blog, but just in case next week is the last, I will write about why IE Business School is such a great option for pursuing a degree and why it should be considered by all…

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