My name is Alice Valla and I am from Italy. Before I came to Israel, I spent three months working in Saudi Arabia. I had received my first Master’s degree in International Politics and Diplomacy and I felt the need to gain experience abroad. Through an Italian internship program, I worked at the Italian Embassy in Saudi Arabia. This was, for a variety of reasons, a remarkable experience. First, Saudi Arabiais a quite inaccessible country. Moreover, the opportunity to experience a completely different culture and its habits is fascinating in and of itself, and in this case, as a woman inSaudi Arabia, it was also rather challenging.
The internship helped me to identify the Middle East and the Gulf region as my main geographic area of interest. I was eager to deepen my knowledge of the intricate dynamics of the Middle East and I decided to apply for this MA atTelAvivUniversity. For people who are interested in studying international security in the Middle East, there is no better place thanIsrael.
Some of the most interesting parts of the program include the opportunities to meet Ambassadors and officers from international organizations, who play an important role in this arena and are directly engaged in efforts to reach peace. Related to this, I really enjoyed lectures we attended by Israeli diplomats and other officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs inJerusalemand by a number of foreign Ambassadors who serve inIsrael. I consider those lectures to be a privilege: I am aware that it is not that easy to meet such professionals and listen to their general experiences, anecdotes and even more importantly their specific work experiences and efforts as mediators.
The trips to the most sensitive and strategic points of the country, including to the Israel-Lebanon border, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are also a great opportunity to better understand the history of conflict and the current challenges Israel has to face.
The experience of an international MA is unique and will help me in finding a job related to international politics in theMiddle East, possibly as analyst in a think tank. Furthermore, when I came here I found it very important to improve my language skills so I decided to attend an Arabic course in addition to the main MA curriculum. This program is also perfect for someone who intends to pursue an academic career and, to that end, apply to a PhD program. I definitely suggest the International Masters in Security and Diplomacy to all people who really want to know Middle East issues better and to pursue a truly special graduate-level program.