Elif Nisa Polat 2018-2019 Academic Year Jean Monnet Scholar

School / Department: Johns Hopkins University, MA in International Affairs

Institution and Position: World Bank / Economist

  1. Could you tell us a little about yourself? How has your career been shaped?

I graduated from Bilkent University, Department of International Relations in 2016. Then I received a scholarship from Leiden University and completed my master’s degree in International Relations as well. The following year, I succeeded in the written exam of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme and completed my second master’s degree in economics and foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) campus in Bologna, Italy. Jean Monnet Scholarship was an opportunity that changed my life in every sense. Graduating from a highly prestigious school in political science and economics has opened many doors for me both in Türkiye and abroad. After my graduation, I went to the World Bank office in Washington DC, every day for 3 months without any job or internship and met people I would like to work with. At the end of this process, I received a job offer from the World Bank as I desired and accepted the offer. I have been working as an economist at the World Bank for about 3 years. In general, I take part in the implementation of projects carried out in the fields of finance, competition and innovation for developing countries. In addition, I gained experience working in a web-based start-up that brings together consultants from all over the world with companies through artificial intelligence. Currently, in addition to my job at the World Bank, I am establishing my own company in the Netherlands with the aim of combining blockchain and web3 technologies with the development sector, and I am sailing on brand new adventures. Wish me good luck! 🙂


  1. Could you give some information about the university you studied within the Jean Monnet Scholarship and the subject you pursued your study on?

Johns Hopkins SAIS is a worldwide well-known school. Its campus in Italy is relatively small but provides a complete family atmosphere. My graduate years were times when I made my closest friends, talked to people who grew up with very different perspectives and defined my character. Thanks to Jean Monnet, I studied on Foreign, Security and Defence Policies of the European Union and wrote my thesis on EU refugee policy. In this way, I had the opportunity to make presentations to think tanks that are experts in their fields in Brussels. It was definitely worth every moment of my hard work while studying for the exam of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme. I am very happy that I seized this opportunity.


  1. How did the education you completed through the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme affect your thoughts on the European Union?

Thanks to Jean Monnet, I can say that I became aware of the soft power and prestige of the European Union. It is very impressive that so many technocrats who are trying to do good work with such grand ideals are working towards a common goal in an unprecedented way in history.


  1. What advice would you like to give to people who want to apply for the Jean Monnet Scholarship?

I suggest that they start by following the agenda of Western European countries, which can be considered as the locomotive of the European Union. I recommend that they read the problems that the EU is trying to solve and the perspectives it brings to them from their own sources. It will also be very useful for them to improve their English article writing skills. In such exams, being able to convey what you know in a clear and fluent language is as important as having the knowledge.