Human rights is an issue which is every human’s responsibility to stand up for. Far from being confined to one country’s structural agenda, the battle for human rights is a truly global one, which transcends national borders. By studying human rights abroad and becoming a human rights advocate, you will be well on your way to becoming a better global citizen, one armed with the knowledge and power to make a real difference.
Why Study Human Rights Abroad
Those who are passionate about human rights have their work cut out for them. All over the world countless injustices are committed every day at the expense of those who do not have the resources to fend for themselves. Participating in a human rights study abroad program will give you the opportunity to learn about some of the most important issues facing our modern age, and also commence the journey of venturing out into the world to meet these problems head on as a human rights advocate.
Every country has its share of human rights crises, thus anywhere in the world can be a good place to study human rights abroad. In any one locations, there are bound to be many problems which need to be solved by human rights advocates.
Most people choose to take the battle for human rights to the developing world, where billions of people suffer from systematic oppression and lack access to basic means of mobility, such as healthcare, education, and a political voice. For example many countries throughout Central America, Africa, and the Middle East are current hotbeds of conflict and political instability. Studying human rights in these areas will expose you to some of the fundamental injustices in the world, and set you on track to begin creating positive solutions.
This is not to say that you cannot also have a rewarding experience studying human rights abroad in a country considered to be part of the developed world, or first world. It remains a common misconception that human rights issues are limited to developing countries, but really developed countries are also plagued by an immense amount of structural inequality and oppression too, just often in an alternative form. Places like Europe and the United States are completely viable locations to learn about important domestic and global issues, and these regions also boast some of the most reputable universities in the world.
Courses & Programs
The type of human rights study abroad programs available generally differ between the first and third worlds. In the first world you will likely have the opportunity to enroll at a university and take courses on a wide range of subjects that deal with micro and macroscopic issues related to human rights. Countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands are very active in pursuing global justice, and host many important international organizations, such as the UN and its subsidiaries, which you may have the opportunity to network with while studying human rights at a local university.
While you can also enroll in courses related to human rights at universities in the third world, most students will find that attending university in these nations creates a more interactive study abroad experience. Visiting rural villages under the guidance of a professor and learning about human rights issues by speaking with those experiencing disadvantage firsthand is more than common in such programs. Experiential learning focused human rights study abroad programs are most often offered in developing countries.
These are just two general categories that many human rights study abroad programs fit within, however there are a lot of unique programs out there with very different structures that merit consideration as well. Research a bunch of programs in different locations to find one that best matches with your personal interests and academic agenda.
- Gain Awareness. By traveling the world to learn about human rights issues you will raise your Global IQ and expand your knowledge of the state of our world. Studying human rights abroad and interacting with people from other countries is the perfect way to gain consciousness of human rights issues that are spread out all over the globe, not just in your home country.
- Firsthand Experience. There is no teacher like experience. It is one thing to sit in a classroom and learn about human rights issues that challenge communities and societies in our modern era, but actually going out and seeing these issues for yourself is something invaluable that will inspire you to change the world (or at least your thinking).
- Make a Difference. The most important part about participating in a human rights study abroad program is what it will ultimately enable you to do. This is a subject which fundamentally depends on action, and by gaining knowledge and experience on an international stage you will become fully prepared to do your part in the fight for global justice.