18 April 2010

Glad to meet you, Allegheny

My third and final destination for grad schools - the University of Pittsburgh!

Whoops - wrong 'final destination'. Anyway, Pittsburgh's scenery is much more charming; the cityscape was quite impressive coming in at night, coming in through the tunnel from the airport one could see the entire panorama come dazzlingly into view. Sadly, the pictures I took weren't very good from inside the bus. I got to my hotel really late (around midnight) and got up really early (before seven) to get to the Preview GSPIA event on campus. The city is amazing; lots to do even within a short walking distance of campus, which itself was gorgeous, and the 42-storey Cathedral of Learning at the centre of campus was the hallmark of the place - amazing Gothic architecture. Some pictures of it:

And of the inside:

I was quite impressed with the quality of the programme as well - several professors came in to talk with us, along with student services representatives and the heads of the research centres and the area-studies certificate programmes. The academic plan for the MPIA degree at Pittsburgh is remarkably rigorous; one gets a full background in economics, history and policy analysis in addition to whatever area and subject specialisation the student chooses. It didn't hurt also that the internship possibilities at Pittsburgh were incredibly diverse (ranging from Pittsburgh to Washington to global) and that they could possibly get some funding with a strong enough grant proposal. The only drawback that I could tell was the lack of support for foreign language study (though they have classes available, they are undergraduate-level and are not counted toward the degree, nor are they required). Absent the consideration of financial aid, GSPIA would appear to be an incredibly strong school. The merit-conditional grant package they already offered me, though, was far too generous to turn down. Looks like GSPIA's where I'll be going!

The building GSPIA is located in (Posvar Hall), however, gave me only a bit of pause. It looked like (as my dad put it) Brown University's Science Library on its side:

Inside it feels considerably more comfortable although there are several idiosyncrasies, like the escalators leading up to the upper levels, which include classrooms, offices, a study lounge and an Einstein Bros Bagels shop (a necessity, albeit expensive, for morning students). I'll be at home there and happily for the next two years, though.

Some more photos from campus:

And the school mascot (the Pitt Panthers):

I'll try to do better in the coming weeks about keeping up-to-date. Till then, all the best to my gentle readers as I continue attempting to put my future in order.

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