Empire state of mind

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Hello everyone! My name’s Beatrix Vas (or Trixi), I graduated this summer from Corvinus University of Budapest with a BA in International Relations, and I’m one of the Kellner Scholars who are spending the first semester of this year participating in Bard’s Globalization and International Affairs program in New York City. It’s crazy to even think about this, but I’ve already been here for a month, so it is definitely time to tell you a bit about my life in the Big Apple as a Kellner Scholar and BGIA student.

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Visiting the United Nations Security Council

Our fantastic coordinators made it crystal clear at the start that BGIA is an intensive program, and accordingly we have been super busy since Day 1. I consider it one of my greatest accomplishments that I managed to battle through Orientation Week with the worst jetlag of my life. Orientation was definitely a tiring but rewarding experience as we got to meet some of our future professors, got useful tips on our internships and NYC life, and got the chance to start exploring the city through visiting some of its most important spots – like the United Nations Headquarters. I got to admit, being able to walk into the Security Council was a pretty good start to the semester.

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For a lot of us, our internships started on the second week, right after Labor Day. I’m an Advisory Intern at Oxford Analytica, an international political risk consultancy firm. I wanted to do my internship here as I was interested in getting a closer look into what an international relations career in the private sector looks like, and I’m definitely getting that. We work in a small office environment, so the interns are instantly treated as full members of the team, and we’ve been able to join important projects on basically our first day on the job – but I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement, so I’ll have to spare you the details. Oh, and OA’s office is in the Chrysler Building – probably the most impressive art deco building in the city, or at least it’s definitely my favorite and was admittedly an important factor in my decision to work at OA. The view from our 54th floor office is also pretty incredible, and totally worth my ear popping like crazy in the elevator.

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The view from Oxford Analytica’s office

I work about 6 hours every weekday, but my classes also help keep me busy. I decided to take 3 classes at BGIA, but it was a pretty difficult choice as we have a very impressive lineup of teachers and courses. I ended up going with Ethics for a Connected World, taught by Professor Joel Rosenthal, who’s also President of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. This means that not only are we studying the influence of ethical norms on international issues from one of the greatest experts of the topic, but we’re doing so in the gorgeous building of the Carnegie Council in the heart of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I’m also taking Power, War and Terror in International Affairs with Dr. Scott A. Silverstone, who teaches at the West Point Military Academy and is admittedly excited to trade in his all-American students for the diverse BGIA group every Tuesday night to discuss the power shifts taking place in the 21st century. We also have the Core Seminar, which as the name suggests is obligatory for everyone because it puts the whole BGIA experience into perspective as we examine the role of cities and non-state actors in international affairs. Even though the workload is pretty heavy, all of the classes have been great so far, and able to provide new perspectives even on topics that I thought I knew back and forth as an international relations graduate.

Still, it wasn’t impossible to take time to explore the city a bit, which honestly just made me realize that probably not even a whole lifetime is enough to discover everything New York City has to offer, but I’m determined to do as much as I can. I’m slowly ticking off all the ‘must-see’/touristy things that one just HAS to do, but I feel like my bucket list is only growing with each day, and then there are always sweet surprises. For example, I never thought I would get a sunburn in late September while walking across Brooklyn Bridge, but I’m so glad I did. After one month it’s already very hard to highlight specific things that I’ve seen as pretty much everything on these streets can be truly fascinating – but maybe I’m just still overwhelmed. I promise to make my next post all about cool spots in the city!!

 

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