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Students on the Move

Taylor Crosby

'The experience visiting Islamic Center of Kassel during ESI was truly amazing. We heard about different struggles each refugee encountered, such as traveling for over 5 years until they reached Germany. Some traveled with their families which includes young children. We also heard about their experience settling in Germany. The involvement of the Mosque assisting the refugees extended far beyond worship. They provided assistance with searching for homes, applying for immigration status, finding language teachers, schools for the children and so on. It was truly wonderful to have the opportunity to meet these incredible individuals! Thank you for encouraging this opportunity!'

Amy Passaro

'As a full time student with a full time job, studying abroad never seemed like an option for me. However, with lots of planning and assistance from the UN MA Program, I was able to do what I never thought is possible. This summer I spent six weeks studying at the ESI in and traveling Europe. Beginning with a layover in Iceland, some fellow graduate students and I explored the other-worldly Reykjavik. From glaciers to volcanos, and from waterfalls to the world's most famous natural day spa, the Blue Lagoon, we spent 4 never ending days in a country more beautiful than anyone could imagine.
From there, we arrived in Kassel, Germany just in time for the world's biggest political art festival: Documenta. Home to a breathtaking UNESCO world heritage site, it was hard to leave a the quiet but comfortable city of Kassel. However, we managed to make it to Paris, Geneva, Berlin, and even Hamburg in our time here. Every day was a new adventure, and I can truly say that this is one trip that I will NEVER forget. I can now say that I've climbed the Eiffel Tower, attended conferences at the United Nations in Switzerland, witnessed peaceful but powerful protests of the G20 in Hamburg, saw the remnants of the Berlin Wall, and made many, many friends along the way.
I cannot thank the UNMA program enough for this experience. As I write to you now with tears in my eyes on the way to the airport, I can only hope that anyone and everyone will seize this opportunity of a lifetime'.

Valeria Valle

'I take joy coming into the city every morning and walking down to 1st Ave and 44th to my internship site. Interning at the New York office of United Nations Training and Research Institute (UNITAR) has probably been one of the best experiences I have had. I communicate and collaborate with various member states and other agencies within the UN to deliver informative courses for the public, UN staff, delegates and ambassadors. I greatly appreciate UNITAR for allowing me to engage in these projects independently where I am able to apply skills and knowledge I gained as a student in the UNMA program, and combine them to produce results that benefit the agency. I had the fortune to engage in the High Level Political Forum in July 2017, where UNITAR, among other UN agencies organized courses aimed to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14 and I was part of research, organization, and communication. Throughout the series of these week-long courses, I was able to find the relationship between the topics that were discussed in my coursework at UNMA and understand the challenges that stand as a barrier to achievement and implementation of SDGs on a global scale. Ultimately, my professional aspiration is to work in the field of Humanitarian Affairs. I have learned so much through the courses I have had the privilege to develop from scratch and coordinate. I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer than spending this time with UNITAR'.

Merissa Pimenta

'We visited international organizations and NGO's in Geneva. First, I'd like to thank Ms. Janne Mande for organizing our study trip to Geneva. We received presentations on Business and Human Rights from professionals who work in the World Health Organization, United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, amongst others. Aside from their presentation, they also took the time to explain their career paths and gave us some advice as to how to work in our desired field. Geneva trip is only one of the many great things that the European Summer Institute has to offer. It is an opportunity to meet people from other countries and share our experience. ESI is also an edifying experience'.

Jessica Ronan

"Prior to graduating from Rutgers in May of 2016, I really didn’t have a plan for my professional life. It was not until a Professor in the Political Science department suggested I look into the UNMA program that I gained a sense of direction for my post-undergraduate future. Being assigned readings on the emotions connected with our nations and cultures, I have gained a stronger understanding of non-political decision making. Entering the program, I have learned and shared with many of my colleagues new interpretations of old phenomena while remaining a part of the Rutgers community".

Harrison Burke

"The European Summer Institute program is one of the larger highlights from my time so far in the UN Masters program. The courses were interesting and made me want to learn everything I could about the topics I was studying. The people that I met were some of the kindest, helpful, and intelligent people I've come across. The family I was living with were nothing but hospitable and welcoming. It was one of the best summers I have spent, and I hope everyone that is considering going on the trip signs up!"

Asal Salah

"During the summer of 2016, I was part of the first European Summer Institute Trip to Germany with Professor Davis and the UNMA program. From being picked up at Frankfurt airport to escorting us on trips to Geneva and Berlin, the Kassel University staff was tremendous and extremely helpful. As for my home stay, I could not have asked for a better family. We actually got so close that they are coming to New York this July to visit, as we have maintained communication almost daily since I returned to New Jersey! Lastly, this adventure allowed me to experience a different culture and people at a deeply meaningful level, and I even found time to go to Prague in between classes! This was truly an experience of a life time".

Elisabeth Flinsch

"The European Summer Institute was a great experience for me. I was especially grateful for the opportunity to study abroad in Kassel, Germany where I got a European perspective about global affairs and got to visit places of historical and personal interest. Visiting the United Nations in Geneva was fascinating and enabled me to learn more about a diverse range of topics. These experiences have helped me grow as a scholar and a person".

Frank Cassata

“Coming to Rutgers from a different state I had no clue what to expect but have felt at home since moving to New Jersey. In my first semester here, I jumped right into a class that is near to my heart, International Criminal Law with Dr. Adi. Before coming to Rutgers I was a delegate at the National Model UN Conference twice in New York City where I was able to vote on resolutions in the UN General Assembly Hall. Not only have I had this educational experience, but outside of class had the opportunity to be the Director of Educational Initiatives for the Illinois State Campus Chapter of UNICEF, as well as be a co-founder of the Water Walk, a bi-annual 6 kilometer walk to simulate the daily struggle Ethiopian women and children go through to access water, while not knowing if their water source is safe or dried up. This event has grown from six to nearly three hundred and raised enough money to build three wells in Ethiopia. I would love to bring this event to the Rutgers campus and get UNMA students engaged in the planning process as well”.

Karen Kwiatek

“This program truly engages students in the most complex challenges of today's global society. I have had the opportunity to take multidisciplinary courses in cutting edge topics such as conflict resolution and global business. In my first year, I participated in research on the recruitment of youth and women to terrorist organizations, assisted refugees resettle in America while interning at the International Rescue Committee, and received ongoing mentoring from Johnson & Johnson's global procurement department. Upon graduating, I believe that I will possess the skills to thrive in an internationally-focused career”.

Sirfaraz Piracha

“I had the great pleasure of attending the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. As an attendee and observer, it is great to see a diverse span of ideas within one place at one given moment in time. I was able to fully take advantage of opportunities to hear the President, Vice President and a variety of government and cultural icons comment on the state of America as they saw it. I look forward to bringing many of these ideas into my work”.

Ratna Nishanthini Michael Gunaratnam

“The European Summer Institute at the University of Kassel in Germany was a very enriching experience for me both as an individual and as a student of political science. Meeting Syrian refugees and hearing their stories in person made the Syrian's struggle more real, and their fortitude and strength in the midst of such sorrow awe inspiring. I came out of the experience understanding myself and the world a bit more, as well as the role I want to play in this world in the future. I am very grateful for the life changing experience”.

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