Today’s post is by guest blogger and first year MPA & MA-REEI student Damon Smith.

I came to Bloomington for the first time in February 2012 to visit SPEA and see what it had to offer firsthand.  I got such a good impression that I knew I wanted to attend Experience Day the following month.  Two important aspects of the event stick out to me. Firstly, I got to meet SPEA professors, discover what kind of classes were offered, and learn about the great career opportunities that graduate study at SPEA offers. Secondly, I was able to meet several people who later became my good friends.  It was wonderful to be able to hear what SPEA had to offer and gain insight from other prospective students’ concerns.

In the evening, SPEA held Gala, an annual fundraising auction, that allowed fellow prospective students and I the opportunity to interact with current students in an atmosphere not centered around school. This really completed the whole experience for me because I knew that these were the kind of people I wanted to be around for the next few years.

SPEA offers many great dual degree programs, and I knew I wanted to be in a MPA/MA program. The day after Experience Day, I was also able to meet with the director of the Russian and East European Institute (REEI). This was very important for me, because I learned about that program and how everything works from the other end.

Driving back home later that day, I knew I would be back in Bloomington in a few months as a SPEA student.

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