I’ve accepted a scholarship to attend a joint public policy master’s program at Moscow State University (МГУ) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (МГИМО). The program involves prominent Western scholars, but it’s not officially connected to a Western institution. My motivations are to develop regional expertise and linguistic fluency.
Will my acceptance of this scholarship disqualify me—rather than simply delay me—from earning a Top Secret clearance later in my career?
I ask because I’m currently participating in the master’s program virtually, in the USA, while my cohort experiences pandemic-related visa delays. The above concerns are making me anxious about this endeavor, even after serious initial deliberation and numerous encouraging conversations with officials in the USG. If my acceptance of the scholarship and involvement in the program present insurmountable security concerns, then I’d at least like to excuse myself from the program before I make plans to begin my studies in person—i.e., in Moscow.
Context: U.S. citizen, former Senate staffer, aspiring analyst, clean personal record