Student spotlights: Sarah Panjvani (MIA/MGA 2022)

Get to know one of our first students in our new international dual-degree programme with the Munk School at the University of Toronto.

This fall, Sarah Panjvani joined the first cohort of the Hertie School’s dual-degree programme with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Sarah is currently in Berlin completing coursework in the Master of International Affairs. In 2021, she’ll move to Toronto to finish up the dual degree in the Munk School’s Master of Global Affairs programme. By 2022, she’ll graduate with both MIA and MGA degrees – and with a foot in the door on two continents. See our interview with Sarah below!

What were you doing before joining the Hertie School this fall?

I completed my BA in Linguistics and German Studies at McGill University in 2017. Following my studies, I moved to Berlin for an internship in the German Parliament, and then joined the Public Affairs Section of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. I have been working there for just over two years, and I’m continuing to work part-time as an Administrative Assistant during my studies. These past couple years, I have been learning about Canadian-German relations, public diplomacy, and the inner workings of diplomatic missions.

Why did you choose the MIA/MGA dual degree with the Munk School? What are you looking forward to during and after the two-year programme?

As a Canadian living in Germany with an interest in international relations, applying to this program was a clear choice for me. It gives me the chance to attend two exceptional universities in the two cities I call home. Plus, it will give me a better understanding of how international affairs is approached in both countries, as well as open doors in both places.

My favourite part of the program has been getting to know the other students. They come from all over the world and have a diverse perspectives and experiences. I have especially enjoyed spending time with the students from this dual degree with me, and I’m looking forward to moving to Toronto with them next September.

I’m keeping my options open after graduation, although I am considering applying to the Canadian Foreign Service as well as looking for opportunities at international organisations.

What have been your favourite courses so far? Any favourite discussion topics?

I have found the International Law course with Professor Basak Çali and Professor Cathryn Costello especially engaging. The field of law is completely new to me, and I have enjoyed interpreting international agreements and setting up arguments for the in-class debates. Most recently, I defended the position that the legal design of the International Criminal Court is not flawed.

Do you have any ideas for where you might want to do your summer internship?

Up until now, my experience has been limited to the Canadian Embassy, so I am looking forward to trying something new. I’m hoping to get an internship at an international organisation next summer.

What advice would you give prospective students interested in pursuing an international dual degree?

Students should make use of the wealth of resources provided by the universities. A dual degree is an opportunity to be part of two different programs, each with outstanding faculty members, event series, and job-seeking tools. I have been able to make use of career guidance as well as panel discussions from both programs, and I would recommend future students to do the same.

Find out more about the Hertie School’s dual MIA/MGA programme with the Munk School in Toronto and apply today.