George Orwell once mused that “who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” While the dystopian undertones of this claim may be a bit radical for our current purpose, he raises a valuable point nonetheless: wherever you are in the world, history will be taught under a different light, bringing about a unique understanding of the present. Earning your history degree abroad is therein the opportunity to break free of monotony and develop a more accurate viewpoint by embracing the multicultural perspective.
Depending on your upbringing and prior schooling, you may have been taught about history within a vacuum, or within a particular frame of thought. Travelling to earn your history degree abroad can help place that methodology into perspective, while exposing you to some entirely new viewpoints from around the world. This is the chance to break from the familiar, gain invaluable insight into the way our world works, and have one unforgettable adventure while at it.
Every country holds onto a national history which has formulated its modern identity, and often larger regions of the world also share a similar arc of development and common worldview. When considering where to earn your history degree abroad, it is thus important that you take a particular interest in your host country’s history, and also the regional context in which which you are will be learning about the past.
For example if you earn your history degree abroad in Europe, you will have the opportunity to learn about the your host country’s history in-depth, and also about regional circumstances which are relevant to that study. Studying history abroad in countries ranging from England to France to Germany to Russia will all present a unique version of the past, and undoubtedly also cover each other’s tracks to the extent they can aid that understanding.
Alternatively you might choose to pursue your degree abroad in history outside of the Western world, which can present a very different scope to study within. For example major countries in Asia such as China and India not only have developed for thousands of years in a distinct regional context, but also offer much different cultural environments today which will shape the way you learn about the past.
Since the dawn of civilization, history has played an important role in understanding who we are, where we came from, and how we got here. So simply put, the field is extremely broad and interdisciplinary. As part of earning your history degree abroad at the undergraduate level, you will often be expected to take courses in related disciplines such as religion, anthropology, language, and political science to supplement your studies.
You may also be expected to specialize in a particular region or branch of history toward the latter end of your undergraduate degree track, and if not, this is almost a certain condition of earning your history degree abroad at the graduate level. As part of pursuing a Master’s or PhD abroad in history, you will have the opportunity to produce an extensive amount of your own research and fieldwork, which will require honing in with a more focused approach.
Some universities around the world may require you to take a language proficiency test or other such entry exam in order to be considered for enrollment as a history major. If you are not proficient in a second language then this may significantly limit where in the world you can go to earn a history degree abroad; if it is a dream of yours to do go abroad, then start practicing today!
Global Perspective. In today’s age of open information and rapid globalization, it only makes sense to learn about history within a truly international context. Earning your history degree abroad is the opportunity to do just that.
Change Lenses. By studying history in a different country, you will also come to see that there is not one silver bullet method to understanding and analyzing the past. Every country has their own cultural and national perspective, and the closest thing to the truth of the matter lies in aggregate.
Shifting Frameworks. This change in a framework of studying the past will not come without its bumps in the road; whether we like to admit it or not, we are all subject to our preconceived ideals of how the world works. This personal realization is one of the most valuable aspects of earning your history degree abroad.
Pursuing a degree abroad in history is understandably a daunting notion, as you will be uprooting from the familiarity of home to try your hand at something entirely new. By pushing yourself in this way, you will become not only a more capable historian, but a more capable world citizen in our modern age.