Q & A with Global MA in International Relations Student Ann Nguyen

Nguyen spent some time to talk about her experiences in Webster University’s Global Master of Arts in International Relations program.

Ann NguyenVIENNA, AUSTRIA - For students in Webster University’s Global Master of Arts in International Relations or International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGO) programs, the world is their classroom.

Full-time graduate students in the 11-month Global MA in International Relations program spend five consecutive eight-week terms, at nearly each one of Webster's international campus locations. The locations where the master’s students study are Leiden, the Netherlands; London, England; Geneva, Switzerland; and Vienna, Austria. Students also will visit either Bangkok, Thailand, or Beijing, China. While there, students immerse themselves in new cultures and learn firsthand how theories of international relations connect to the practice of world affairs. Besides studying on other campuses, students are given the opportunity to network with international relations professionals during site visits to various organizations including the United Nations, International Committee for the Red Cross, and the International Court of Justice.

In the Global MA in International Nongovernmental Organizations program, students study in in Bangkok, Geneva, Leiden, and London, with the final eight-week term in Washington D.C. Students gain a foundation in International Relations as well as the specific skills needed to attain a career in the INGO and non-profit world. In the final eight-week term, students are provided the opportunity to complete a capstone project and field research, with the option of earning academic credit for an internship.

This year’s Global MA in International Relations program has three cohorts of nine students, or 27 students in all, from 16 states and Poland.

Ann Nguyen, a member of Cohort 2 in the Global MA in International Relations program, is one of those students. She is a first generation college graduate, and received her bachelor’s in Political Science and minor in Economics from the University of Vermont (UVM) in June. She served as a lead undergraduate researcher for the Vermont Legislative Research Service, where she provided and published high-level non-bipartisan policy reports for members of the Vermont State Legislature. She also served as a UVM Political Science Research Assistant to Professor Martha Thomas, whose research primarily focused on Trade Disputes in Regional Integration Agreements, as well as other issues in International Political Economics. Furthermore, Nguyen served as a Data Entry Coordinator for President Obama’s re-election campaigns in both Vermont and New Hampshire and also worked for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. She hopes to continue her education and earn a doctorate in International Relations and either work in higher education, diplomacy, or non-bipartisan research.

The following are Nguyen’s answers to the questions posed to her about her experience in Webster’s Global MA program:

What is your current city?

Vienna, Austria

What is your next stop?

Bangkok, Thailand

What has been your best experience so far in the GMAIR program?

Being able to travel and expose myself to so many new cultures; visiting numerous international organizations such as Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the United Nations, and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP); and just learning how to be a well-rounded global citizen have all been extraordinary experiences. I've been able to learn so many things both about myself and the world around me that I never would have been able to discover without this program. As the youngest individual in the program at 21, I honestly have to say this has been one of the best experiences of my life!

What has been the most academically enlightening part of the program so far for you?

Coming straight out of the University of Vermont with more than 12,000 students, I quickly learned the perks and benefits of having small classrooms and one-on-one teacher interaction. All of the professors I've had thus far in Vienna are not only extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their studies, but they also push you to always do your best. One class in particular, Terrorism in World Politics, has helped me to discover my interest in International Security and has spurred me to want to complete my MA Thesis in International Security here in Vienna next year!

What has been your biggest struggle with adapting to other cultures?

I never thought that culture shock was a real thing until I stepped off the plane in Vienna and realized that everything was in German. At first, trying to adapt to the language barrier was difficult, but now it's not a big deal. I've been able to work on my German and the locals really appreciate that I'm putting in the effort to understand their culture rather than totally shun it completely. I've been able to make so many great memories with so many people from all over the world, including Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Lebanon, and Germany. I am really looking forward to staying in touch with all of them and visiting them in the future.

What are your goals after you finish the GMAIR program?

After I finish the GMAIR program, I hope to continue my studies and obtain a second master's degree in International Security and also take time to work on my Arabic, French, and German. My ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D., but after that I'm unsure what route I would like to take whether it is academia, research, or diplomatic.

For more information about the Global MA in International Relations or International Nongovernmental Organizations programs, visit http://webster.edu/global.