Experiential Learning

At SIA, students learn by doing.

One of the key benefits of the M.I.A. program is its unique emphasis on experiential learning. Our students participate in hands-on activities like simulations, case studies, briefings, negotiations, role-plays, and mock trials - all while learning the fundamentals of international relations and affairs. In one course, students conducted a simulated meeting of the United Nations Security Council; each student represented a member country and debated a resolution to a dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates. 

Each year, SIA holds a school-wide simulation with the Army War College, when students and faculty spend three days negotiating an international crisis. Photographs from this annual event can be seen here

The M.I.A. program culminates in a capstone experience, for which students choose an internship or a master's paper. An internship enables students to integrate their curricular studies in an actual working environment, while a master's paper allows students to explore their areas of interest and engage in original research. 

Past SIA student internships and placements include organizations such as the United Nations, Accenture, Bank of China, USAID, Booz Allen Hamilton, the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Turkey, Qatar University, The Corporate Council on Africa, The Carter Center, LASPAU (Harvard University), the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the German-American Institute Nuremberg, and more. 

This experiential curriculum spans most SIA courses and draws on the real-world experience of a robust faculty that includes former ambassadors, a former Judge Advocate General of the United States Navy and Vice Admiral, National Security Council staff members, a senior official of both the African Union and the United Nations, an economic development agency director, members of the FBI and CIA, a U.S. State Department senior counselor, and a U.S. Geological Survey chief scientist, as well as international law and arbitration experts and top scholars who contribute to the public discourse. This comprehensive training, combined with more traditional forms of academic study, prepares our students for a wide range of careers in international affairs.