What Did You Do This Summer?

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We asked a couple of our classmates what they did this summer to see where everyone is coming from and where they hope to go during their time at SAIS:

Shereen Shafi:

This summer I studied Urdu for two months in Lucknow, India through the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program funded by the U.S. Department of State. In addition to exploring the city of Lucknow and seeing the Taj Mahal and other historic sites on a CLS-organized trip to Agra, my friends and I were able to spend weekends in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Dehradun while traveling independently. Most importantly, thanks to our excellent classroom instruction and the benefits of an Urdu/Hindi-immersive environment, my Urdu speaking abilities and vocabulary expanded significantly; upon returning, I passed my proficiency exam at SAIS. I would highly recommend the CLS program to any SAIS student studying a foreign language.

Yael Mizrahi:

Yael spent 6 weeks volunteering with a Kurdish NGO, based out of Erbil, Iraq, advising on the current Iraqi IDP crisis, and influx of Syrian refugees. There she also conducted research for the KRG on the future of the Disputed territories of Northern Iraq.

Christopher Dunnett (Bologna)


I’ve lived in Ukraine for the past two years, first as a Fulbright ETA in the city of Dnipropetrovsk, and later in writing and journalism in Kiev. My Fulbright began just before the start of the political upheaval and lasted throughout much of the early stages of the crisis. Following my Fulbright, I began working as a writer and assistant editor for the country’s main international press center, as well as a writer and producer for an English-language news show associated with a prominent independent Ukrainian media outlet. Later, I also assisted the communications team for Ukraine’s Presidential Administration. I continued to live and work in Kyiv until this August, when I moved to Bologna.  

Ben Kupferberg

This past summer, I interned for the venture capital firm Genesis Partners in Tel Aviv, Israel. I split time between the actual VC office and the accelerator that they own and operate. At the accelerator, where I spent a majority of time, I worked with 4 Israeli startups selected from over 600 companies, to provide American market research and go-to-market strategies. At the VC office I was exposed to investment horizon models for potential investments. Additionally, I travelled extensively both in the North and South of Israel.

Rose Fishman (Bologna)

This summer I was in a small town in Northwestern Ethiopia closing out my two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer. I sloshed around in my rain boots (summer = rainy season = lots of mud) saying goodbye to friends and pseudo families, finishing up programs at my host school, and packing up my little mud hut.

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