A sure MIIS.
October 3, 2007 11:53 AM   Subscribe

What can you tell me about the Monterey Institute of International Studies?

I've got cold feet.

After applying to a few different graduate schools, I was accepted by my first choice, the Monterey Institute of International Studies. I prefer them due mostly to their language program and emphasis on career placement.

But I'm nervous.

It's a professional school and a bit different from more research-oriented institutions, which scares me. The student body is also a paltry 700 and I'm having anxiety attacks feeling like I won't fit into the school's environment.

If I choose to attend, I will be getting a master's in international policy studies.

I'm visiting the school this weekend, but in the meantime, can anyone tell me a bit about it, related to my above anxieties? How useful will this degree really be? What is Monterey really like when compared to a larger, top-tier public university with a similar program? Is the debt (maybe 40k) really worth an IPS degree?

These are probably questions I should answer on my own, but AskMe has helped before, and so if anyone here has any experience with MIIS, I'd love to hear it.
posted by dead_ to Education (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I admittedly don't know much about the school; I do know somebody who went, loved it, and had a very difficult time scoring a relevant job. That really could have been her own fault though.

FWIW I've never heard of anybody going there that didn't like it; that's a sample of only a few people though.
posted by PFL at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2007

Congratulations. You are about to embark on an educational path at one of the absolute best institutions in the nation for your field (of course this you already know). Monterey is worth it and the degree is extremely well respected in your chosen field, plus it is an absolutely beautiful place with a very vibrant academic community. It is a really great diverse campus. One thing I will suggest to you (and it won't be hard to do this, but i'll make the point anyway) is be SURE to build relationships while you are there, and don't limit your academic study or discourse to the classroom. The people at this school go all over the world and those kind of connections will last you a lifetime.

Perhaps most importantly, recognize that outside of learning at this institution, learn from the other people that are there. It's a really amazing place like the school it's affiliated with (Middlebury College in Vermont). You'll see some students from Middlebury and some students from other places.

Finding a job in international studies can be difficult - you may already know this. But if the field interests you, you are definitely in the right place and Monterey has a really excellent career placement program. The single most important recommendation I have for you in terms of career ability (e.g. being hired somewhere because of your degree) is to make sure you do not neglect your language studies, as this tends to make you dramatically more marketable.
posted by arimathea at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2007

I graduated from there in May, although from the business school, not the policy school. But there is plenty of overlap and I know plenty of the policy people.

Do you plan to work in truly international policy? Great place. The Middlebury acquisition has helped a lot, and I know the policy school has a lot of alums living and working in DC or worldwide - most of them end up in those spots it seems.

What's your language? Depending on what you come in with, it may be great or poor for you. I spoke a lot of Spanish already; the courses that I took there helped a decent amount. I tried to learn Chinese from scratch while I was there, with limited results.

The social environment was a bit like undergrad in terms of the propensity to get hammered on weekends, but this is not universally true. There are a lot of student clubs for activities (Ultimate frisbee, scuba, etc) and areas of interest (Peace Corps people, enviros, you name it).

Compared to other schools - well, you might have to tell people about it as the name is not super well known (even within Monterey, the MIIS acronym can garner befuddled looks), but it's an easy sell. For instance, at graduation we had about 350 people from 50+ countries speaking 75+ languages. People are fluent in tongues I'd never heard of. That was awesome for me, and easy to be enthusiastic.

Overall, great experience. Ups and downs, sure, but worth it, and the school is definitely on the upswing - there's a citywide campaign to make Monterey synonymous with internationalism, and along with the Middlebury buy things are looking up. I've emailed you, let me know if you have other questions.
posted by andifsohow at 5:01 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

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