Especially in today’s age of rapid globalization, diplomacy and international relations are vital components of governing bodies all over the world. By studying government abroad you will come to better understand the complex relationships that continuously shift and alter between nations, and you will gain a far better perspective of your own government in a global context as well.
Why Study Government Abroad
Government is an infinitely deep field of study, and one that has been the source of debate and heated rhetoric throughout the history of human civilization. Studying government abroad will be your chance to develop a much deeper understanding of the subject, by breaking out of your own country’s political bubble and learning about the subject under different national pretenses. Every government around the world is different, however slightly that may be. Therefore, it is in the devil of the details where you may come to enjoy the greatest political perspective and reap the greatest benefits.
To state an obvious fact, every internationally recognized country has some sort of governing body in place. This means that you can study government abroad essentially anywhere in the world. However, where you choose to study abroad will greatly affect the scope of your education. It would be impossible to touch on all of the locations where it is possible to study government abroad, so instead, the following are some of the most popular destinations to consider.
In Western Europe, England, France, and Switzerland are all great places to study government. England and France are ideal because of their long-standing constitutional systems, and Switzerland for its strong emphasis on international relations. In South America, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are very interesting places to study government abroad because of their recent history of coups d’état and radical institutional reforms. Likewise in Asia, Japan, China, and India can be extremely enriching destinations to study government abroad, since each country is hugely influential regionally and has a very distinct governmental system.
Developing regions of the world such as Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia can also be extremely rewarding places to study government abroad. Many countries in these areas deal with infrastructural problems, such as instability, corruption, and economic woes, all of which largely center around government. If you are looking for an eye-opening experience, try studying government abroad in one of these regions.
Studying Government Abroad
One way to study government abroad is by taking courses directly at a foreign university. Some popular subject areas within the field include comparative government, international relations, political theory, and national government. Intuitively, however, the option to enroll at a foreign university can be limited in some regions of the world, if you are not proficient in the local language.
In this case, there are other ways to study government abroad available. Many study abroad programs have partner institutions or satellite schools located throughout the world, where English-taught courses are available, regardless of the local language. This route generally comes with more limited course options, although government is a popular enough subject that you’ll usually have some academic credits you can take that will transfer.
Another way to study government abroad is by enrolling in a subject-specific program that is different from a traditional semester or year-long study abroad experience. Some of these programs are rooted in one place, while in others a professor will take you throughout several different locations in a particular region, leading courses for academic credit in combination with immersive field trips and outings. These programs generally run over the summer or winter and last between two and eight weeks.
Global Perspective. Whether you are more interested in domestic governmental policy or international affairs, learning from another country’s political system will afford you tremendous insight into the nature of politics at large.
Political Immersion. Outside of the classroom, you can greatly enhance your education by being mindful of what is happening in local politics. Following media trends and engaging in political conversation with locals is a great way to further wrap your head around your host country’s governmental processes, just be sure to do so appropriately!
Adventure Time. Let’s be real, studying abroad isn’t all about academics. It is your chance to dive headfirst out into the great big world and have an experience that you will never forget. Get out there and have some fun!