From left: Raquel Silva, Christine Clark and Shanavian Smith

As I researched about the MA in Global Affairs Program, talked to current and former students faculty and staff, a theme kept coming up: the flexibility of the curriculum. “You are in the driver’s seat of your education” was an example of a line that I head often. With only three mandatory core courses, Jackson provides students with the opportunity to choose classes that fit their purpose for graduate studies—from becoming a specialist to filling a knowledge gap to exploring unknown terrain. This is also true because the “electives” are not only limited to courses offered by Jackson, but credits and learning opportunities span across the University. I was personally skeptical of taking undergraduate courses, but one of the most fascinating classes I have taken this far was a Yale College class that admitted students on all levels: Gender and Global Development. As you can imagine, the conversations among undergraduate seniors, masters students and PhD candidates from different fields made this class much more nuanced.

So yes. If you come to school here, you will be able to take classes outside of Jackson. And I mean it when I say outside. This spring, I took a class called Global Social Entrepreneurship at the Yale School of Management (SOM). It is a competitive application based class, but Jackson students have seats in it (and funding support!) GSE is an impact consulting class in which students are matched with clients (social enterprises or nonprofits) to address real challenges that they are facing. This spring, GSE projects were based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As a Brazilian myself, it was interesting to see my home country from a different perspective and engage with actors that I may not have had access to before becoming a Yale student. During the first week of spring break, we were doing in-country market research, interviews, and surveys. This data will continue to inform the final deliverables we will complete as a group for the term, include a financial model, a report and presentations to our client, professor and teaching assistants and the broader Yale community during Social Impact Lab.

During the second week, two friends and I decided to travel around Brazil. Christine Clark, Shanavian Smith and I headed to the heart of the Amazon rain forest. Then we dived into the history of Salvador, the first capital of the country. Finally, we finished the trip in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most charming cities in the world. It was such a treat to enjoy fun free time with peers who will be graduating with me in May.

So if you are wondering if it is possible to take classes outside Jackson… the answer is yes. Learning here goes beyond the walls of buildings. Learning here reaches beyond the boundaries of borders.