September 2, 2012 - 12:00am
Program: International Policy Studies
Specialization: Human Security & Development
Undergrad: University of California-Santa Barbara (Global Studies, Spanish)
Fast Fact: Monica has been able to utilize her Spanish skills while living, studying, and traveling throughout Spain and Peru.
"I love the fact that I can do fieldwork abroad and come back to incorporate it into my academic work."
Monica chose to attend the Monterey Institute over other graduate schools because of the internship component that is a core part of the curriculum. It was really important for her to gain real-world experience in development while in school. She says, "I also found the heavy emphasis on the second language fluency attractive, and I wanted to be able to blend my policy coursework with work experience that utilizes my Spanish language skills."
"I've really enjoyed many of my classes and workshops at MIIS, but I also love the fact that I can do fieldwork abroad and come back to incorporate it into my academic work. MIIS very much supports building up the immersive education model in capacities beyond the classroom."
Monica spent this past summer in Peru working with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development.
"I'm excited about the progress we made in the projects and what the next year is going to look like for this organization and Team Peru. Many participants are public administration students, so I brought a slightly different perspective to the projects as an international policy student; I was able to incorporate my language, data analysis, and policy analysis and writing skills from the MIIS classroom to Peru. The project management and facilitation skills that I learned from the Development Project Management Institute program in May and June also blended really well with the work I did there."
Monica has developed a passion for international sustainable development and grassroots leadership.
"Once I graduate, I would love to continue working in Latin America - or even expand and work elsewhere in a completely new environment," she says. "I feel as though my education and experiences here have inspired me to envision myself in any part of the world, even in places I never would have pictured myself 5 years ago."