From the monthly archives: July 2010

Incoming students have been hearing a lot from the Registrar’s Office lately.  If you’re one of them, you may have started slogging your way through the many details (email accounts, Orientation schedules, final transcript submission, etc.), but I hope you’re also paying attention to the tips on pre-Fletcher preparation.  No, we’re not talking about reading all the professors’ or students’ book picks.  Just a little common sense advance work, and here’s my take on it.

For everyone:  Set aside some time to be certain you understand the requirements for your degree program.  Sure, you’ve looked at all this stuff before, but it’s different now.  At this point, your focus should be on giving yourself the best chance of picking classes in September that will either take care of requirements, or boost you toward your academic goals, or (even better!) both.

For native English speakers:  Make sure you’re ready to take and pass the language proficiency reading exam on Saturday, October 2.  Is it technically required that you pass the exam in October?  No…but why would you put it off?  Even if you’re not sure you can pass this time, take the exam.  Really.  Do not put it off.  And if you’re going to need some pre-test practice, now’s the time for it.

And for non-native English speakers:  Regardless of the strength of your language skills, you’ll benefit from giving them a pre-Fletcher workout.  Are you a slow reader in English?  Do lots of reading!  Is listening comprehension your personal challenge?  Listen to U.S. radio shows!  Even native speakers find the program challenging — add in language difficulties and you’re starting at a considerable disadvantage.  You still have nearly two months to narrow that gap, and you’ll be glad you did.

I wish you all an enjoyable and relaxing pre-Fletcher summer (or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere), but I also want you to hit the ground running.  Devote just a little time to setting yourself up to succeed — it will be time well spent.

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The U.S. Independence Day/July 4th holiday is coming up on Sunday.  Like many workplaces, the University will be closed on Monday, July 5th, as well.  The Admissions Office will reopen on Tuesday morning.

Have a great 4th, everyone!


Yesterday was the perfect June day — the most amazing blue skies, cool and dry.  Today is nearly as good, only marred by the possibility of clouds this afternoon.  A good day to have our current students do the work for me, in the form of more introductions to their blogs.

Sophia Dawkins writes, “I am currently in the Abyei Area of Sudan with an international NGO.  I am working on a program that incorporates grass roots civic engagement with local government capacity building to deliver services in this post-conflict setting.  I am recording my observations about Abyei, field life, and the preparations for the January 2011 referendum.”

Also on the African continent is Joya Taft-Dick, who is working as a Peace Fellow with the Advocacy Project in Douala, Cameroon.  In the blog itself, a blurb notes:

Joya will serve with the Vital Voices’ Africa Businesswomen’s Network (ABWN), which is an association of local businesswomen’s organizations seeking to assist women as entrepreneurs and leaders in the corporate world. Joya will be working specifically with the Cameroon Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN), where she will be conducting a baseline survey developed by Vital Voices of CBWN participants, as well as producing success story profiles, networking with potential media outlets, developing a website, and writing a weekly blog.

Shifting continents to Asia, Vincent Fennell, an MIB student, says, “My blog is about my experiences here in Japan with a little bit of work stuff thrown in.”  This is Vincent’s first experience in Japan, and his blog is a nice reminder of what it’s like to confront an entirely new culture.

A little further south, we find Althea Middleton-Detzner in Phnom Penh.  Her blog, containing general comments on her summer experiences is called “Asi es la vida.”

The last blogger from Asia is Sam Janis, writing from Pakistan.  (In fact, this summer’s blog picks up where last summer’s left off.)  He explains his reason for traveling to Pakistan:

I’m here to implement a project.  The project is thus far an idea, albeit a big and evolved one that I’ve spent the past six months pondering, proposing, and planning.  Now I’ve arrived, and there are only two directions for which it can go: either evaporate into the ether from whence it came, or begin to take shape, and become something.

And the project, he goes on to say, is “setting up a long-code and SMS-internet gateway in Pakistan.”

Finally, more generally, there’s Billie Bender‘s “Gringo Lost,” which he described in an email to me as being “about geopolitical issues, military strategy, and my thoughts on current events.”  But I like what he wrote on the “About Gringo Lost” page:  “Nothing but self-discovered revelations from a news junkie obsessed with international security, the military, unemployment, grand strategy, food and football….And some other stuff.”

That’s today’s blog round-up.  If I receive more links from students, I’ll continue to post them.


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