By Amaan Charaniya

It’s not unusual for me to tell people I’m in SPIA and for them to quickly respond with, “what’s that?”  Unfortunately, even among UGA students, SPIA hasn’t garnered the national reputation that the school is much deserving of.  But that doesn’t stop students, parents, and friends from being impressed when I tell them what’s so great about SPIA.

My participation this past semester with the Center for International Trade and Security always peaks interest when I tell friends that I will be conducting research on strategic export controls and nuclear nonproliferation.  Everything you would find  interesting on CNN are exactly the kind of things I am lucky to discuss as a description of my academic curriculum.  SPIA makes it possible for students to explore unique academic pathways around things like terrorism and nuclear weapons, while also working toward a strong, respected, and well rounded degree.  Programs in both International Affairs and Political Science challenge students to think outside the box by providing them with opportunities to work in critical policy fields (i.e. nuclear policy).

What’s so great about SPIA is that it drives home the issues facing our society today through fascinating classes taught by well respected professors.  Students have the opportunity to take Strategic Intelligence and learn the ins and outs of our intelligence community.  If that isn’t interesting, try War and Gender, Human Rights, Terrorism, Modern Warfare, or American Foreign Policy.  SPIA gives each student a chance to chase his/her passion and that isn’t something that every school offers.

SPIA is great because it cares about each and every students and caters the program to the student’s success.  You have the option to build your curriculum around what you think is important to build the strongest academic background you can have.

Moreover, your academic background isn’t the only thing SPIA can assist with.  This college does a unique job of supporting your curriculum with opportunities from employers and recruiters around the country and world.  SPIA provides you with the chance to take your classroom experiences and actively apply them in real world settings.  Whether it be through internships or semester long programs in cities like Washington D.C., SPIA wants to see its students succeed and does everything in its power to make that happen.

So the next time someone asks you “What’s so great about SPIA?”, just look at them, smile, and tell them to block off a few hours so you can explain why UGA’s School for Public and International Affairs is the place to be.