Exchange Students Testimonials


Lisa Godde

Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Autumn 2016

"Having always enjoyed experiencing and living in different places, towards the end of my first year at the Graduate Institute I did not hesitate to apply for a semester abroad. I had been fascinated with Latin America ever since I lived in Ecuador back in 2010 and so I chose to apply for PUC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both because of the university’s good reputation as well as Brazil being the subject of my Master’s thesis. My experience since August has been unique and rewarding on so many different fronts... " Read full testimonial here



Aarin Shapiro

El Colegio de Mexico, México City, Autumn 2016

"One of the reasons I applied to the Graduate Institute was its array of top-quality partner universities abroad where we could choose to study for an exchange semester. Having already spent two years living, working, and travelling in Latin America, I was eager to return, this time to study. When I was accepted at El Colegio de México, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to experience a new country and university, study in Spanish for the first time, and return to a part of the world that filled me with such inspiration and joy." Read full testimonial here



Simona Schwitter

LUISS Università Guido Carli, Rome, Italy, Autumn 2016

"The city of Rome with its incomparable and unique history, countless ancient monuments, innumerable beautiful corners combined with the Italian way of life makes it an attractive place to study. The Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli (LUISS) is located in a residential area not far from the city centre and impresses with its outstanding campus and services. The university offers a wide range of classes, with the focus being on business-related courses, by professors with extensive practical experience making them interesting and appealing."



Charalampos Giannakopoulos

Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, USA, Autumn 2016

"Spending a semester at the University of Michigan Law School has been one of the most rewarding academic and personal experiences. Located in the middle of the picturesque college town of Ann Arbor, the law quad is simply stunning to look at. The Law School goes at great lengths to incorporate visiting PhD students to its body of LL.M and JD students. At no time ever did I feel like an outsider. During my time there, I was able to audit courses that interested me, I benefitted from great academic discussions and I made lasting friendships. One of the things that still impresses me to this day about Ann Arbor: the entire town’s fascination with college football!"



Joe Winkleman

Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milano, Italy, Autumn 2016

"My exchange at Università Bocconi in Milan was a very positive experience. Bocconi, as one of the leading business and economics universities in Continental Europe, offers a wide range of high-level economics courses. I was able to explore some more theory-oriented courses and get a better idea of what to expect if I decide to pursue a PhD. I perceived Bocconi as very student-friendly (with regard to administration, motivation and availability of lecturers, study spaces). Although Bocconi is a large university, most of my courses had small class sizes (10-15 students) and facilitated a lot of student participation. Many lectures were underscored by wonderful classical music thanks to an open piano located in the main hall. Also off-campus, I found myself very lucky to have had the chance to spend these months in Milan and Italy, and become acquainted with the Italian language and lifestyle."



Elizabeth Moseley

Melbourne School of Government, Australia, Autumn 2016

"A semester the other side of the world at the University of Melbourne will certainly be one of the highlights of my academic career. The university is highly ranked globally, and offers small graduate classes with excellent professors and expert specialists. Alongside my studies, I enjoyed the opportunity to travel around this fascinating country, finding a new interest in aboriginal history and rights. The experiences I gained were unforgettable, from making friends from all over the world, to snorkeling in the great barrier reef and hiking in the outback; I am already counting down the days until I can return to this land Down Under."



Amy Henderson

Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa, Autumn 2016

"Nestled in the heart of the wine lands, Stellenbosch University campus offers a beautiful setting from which to study and explore South Africa. The university boasts spectacular scenery and is ideally located within easy reach of Cape Town and the surrounding areas so you are never far from adventure! Moreover, South Africa is currently experiencing a period of transition in higher education and students are becoming more and more engaged with discourses concerning the decolonisation of education and recognition of alternative forms of knowledge production. This made for an exceptionally interesting learning experience as I found myself being exposed to cultures, opinions and ways of thinking which are increasingly removed from western-centric academia. The decision to study at Stellenbosch University thus proved to be one of the best decisions I have made in my academic career."



Miguel Iglesias Lopez

KIMEP Universtiy, Almaty, Kazakhastan, Autumn 2015

Almaty is a special destination for an exchange, but a very profitable one. Central Asia lays at the crossroads of cultures and has always been a privileged gateway for goods and influences to travel form east to west and vice-versa, and to combine this rich complexity with the incredible landscapes of the region makes for an unforgetable experience. The societies here are difficult to study from abroad, but living here gives the opportunity to understand them much better - through academic courses with local experts and thanks to the people met everywhere. 



Kristen Ginaris

AUC, Cairo, Egypt, Autumn 2015

My experience in Egypt has without a doubt been one of my most beneficial learning experiences. Not only has the American University in Cairo been grounds for valuable coursework and an incredible amount of support from the professors and students at the university, it has also provided a network from which I have been able to conduct research, explore the city and its surroundings, and gain new perspectives. Cairo has been the catalyst for a number of new interests, passions, and concerns that now define part of who I am. 



Eliane Matti

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Autumn 2015

I have chosen to go to Singapore on exchange to acquire a different perspective on development studies from an Asian point of view. I was especially interested in Singapore’s successful development story and multicultural context with the harmonious coexistence of four ethnic groups. The semester here has even exceeded my highest expectations. The practical-approach of the courses such as “Conflict Management and Negotiation” or “International Conflict Analysis and Resolution” ideally complemented the courses I followed at the Graduate Institute. What made however the experience here in Singapore unique and unforgettable are all the inspiring people I met. 



Marion Provencher Langlois

Yale University, New  Haven, US, Autumn 2015

In addition to being a beautiful campus, Yale has brought me the opportunity to take courses given by world-renown professors, as well as engage with graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines. I have been able to work with the very rich archives and collections of the university and get involved in unique projects, such as the design of an exhibition that will be on display at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in April of 2016.



Stefan Lügstenmann

Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Autumn 2015

My semester at Stellenbosch University was a great experience in many respects. Located in the winelands of the Western Cape, it is not only a beautiful place to study and to learn about an amazing variety of new cultures and languages, but also the perfect gateway for travels within the country and Southern Africa in general. Studying in an emerging country has been equally challenging and rewarding, because I was confronted with opinions and viewpoints that are not very widespread among the development studies community at the Graduate Institute. 



Luca Pfirter

Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Columbia, Autumn 2015

Bogotá proofed to be the perfect place for an exchange semester. It is an incredible city that has a lot to offer, especially art, music, culture and interested, open-minded people. But leaving the often crowded Bogotá proofs to be even more rewarding; its green Andes, blue seas, dense jungles and colourful deserts- often just few hours outside of Bogotá. Universidad de los Andes is located in the centre, which makes living in the historical centre not only a great experience but also puts the university in walking distance (and thereby avoiding the packed public transport rides in rush hour). The university offers a wide range of classes and all the classes I had proofed to be interesting, critical and engaging. 



Noah Oehri

El Colegio de Mexico, México City, Autumn 2015

My exchange semester in Mexico City was a highly rewarding experience, both at an academic and a personal level. The History Department at El Colegio de México hosts some of the country’s most renowned faculty, specializing both in Mexican and Latin American history. Besides the quality of the courses and the small class sizes, El Colegio also has the advantage of possessing one of the largest social sciences libraries in Latin America. Through continuous exchange with my professors and classmates as well as archival research in and outside of Mexico City, I was able to benefit from the highly stimulating academic environment present at COLMEX for my Master thesis.