Meet International Affairs Graduate Michaela Papavero

Michaela Papavero, who is from a small town near Bari, in the Puglia region, graduated from JCU in May 2022. She has a B.A in International Affairs with a minor in Legal Studies. In September, Michaela will pursue a Master of Science in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford.

Michaela Papavero

Michaela Papavero

What brought you to JCU?
My initial plan was to go to the US, but it was expensive. I also considered going to other places like London, but then I came across JCU because Professor Michèle Favorite participated in a college fair in Bari. Rome is one of my favorite cities and I loved that I would be able to receive an American education at JCU, so I thought it was perfect. I’m so grateful to JCU. Every time I speak with my friends who are in Italian universities, I feel so lucky because JCU gave me so many opportunities, most of all community service, which was one of the best experiences I had while here.

How did you become interested in International Affairs? Why did you decide to combine it with a minor in Legal Studies?
During high school, I was very insecure about myself and about what I wanted to do in the future. First I wanted to be a doctor, then an archaeologist, but then I understood that my path was more oriented toward international affairs. In 2018, there was a climate change protest around the world and in Italy, we had the issues of migrants and nationalist political parties. I understood that I liked talking about those subjects and engaging in discussions with people. I’m also fond of legal issues because one of my plans was also to become an international lawyer for the International Criminal Court (ICC). I later changed my mind even though I’m still interested in law and how it can intertwine with international relations. It was the excellent professors at JCU like Pamela Harris and Lyal Sunga who helped me understand this.

Which JCU classes and/or professors impacted you the most and why?
Definitely Professors Pamela Harris, Lyal Sunga, and Isabella Clough Marinaro, because they’re passionate about what they teach, have relevant experience in their fields, and engage students in the discussion. I loved raising my hand and giving my opinion on the topics discussed. Professor Sunga told us about when he was working in Rwanda, and for an international affairs student, it’s amazing to hear real-life experiences from professors, because it’s no longer abstract concepts that you’re talking about.

Tell us about your internship at L’Arche – Il Chicco. What were your main tasks? How did this internship enrich you, both personally and professionally?
L’Arche – Il Chicco, is a community for people with intellectual disabilities. My main task was to monitor national grants. The organization needs to submit a proposal through the national website to receive grants. It’s a private volunteer organization that is based mostly on donors or national grants. But I also wrote articles for their newsletter. It wasn’t just office work, I knew I was doing something for someone else and not just for my own skills. I think that helped me understand that in the future I want a job that is rewarding for me personally but also involves helping others.

What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering applying to JCU?
Take advantage of everything that JCU offers! Being involved in JCU life, from community service, to clubs, to Career Services, shapes you and gives you the chance to understand what you want to do in your life, how you want to be, what kind of people you want to stay friends with, and how you can contribute to everyday life. It’s the best time of your life, so take whatever you can from JCU and Rome in general. Another piece of advice would be to learn languages. At JCU I decided to learn French because I was stimulated by the international environment and found native speakers to practice with.

What are your plans for the future?
In September I begin my Master‘s in Global Governance and Diplomacy. I want to look for a job in international organizations or apply to some UN programs, like the JPO (Junior Professional Officer) program. I’m open to trying any job that relates to international affairs and global governance.