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A Guide to Government Degrees Abroad

Do you want to help solve some of the crises in the world? Do you envision yourself working in seats of power and policy? Earning a government degree can lead you on the path to work in legislative bodies, embassies, courthouses, or even the White House! The best way to learn how a government really works is to see it from a different perspective. Leaving home to place yourself in a foreign context and witnessing the functions of daily life can show you the true impacts of governance. Earning your degree in government abroad will be a tremendous educational and developmental experience that will inspire you to enter public service.

Why Earn a Government Degree Abroad

Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “travel teaches toleration.” Government is a field widely different, but equally important, throughout the world, and studying this topic abroad offers insight into many different perspectives. Merging different practices and cultures creates a firm understanding of government’s importance, rather than knowledge in a mere branch or system.

Earning your degree abroad in government also gives you an upper hand in many professional possibilities. If you desire to enter foreign service (i.e. diplomacy, international political organizations, and NGO’s) you can have firsthand knowledge of how these institutions function. If you study near such institutions of governments, international law enforcement organizations, or international courts, you can see firsthand the extent of governance at a daily level. 

Earning a degree in government abroad also gives you an edge in finding a government job, especially if you want to enter foreign service. By learning about government from a different country’s perspective, you gain insight to to the functions of bureaucracy, the process of policy making, and the enforcement of law. Such different viewpoints can help you build a unique voice that could push new ideas to help change your home government for the better. Let the toleration you learn while studying become the engine of your governmental ambitions.

Where to Earn a Government Degree

Since every country in the world has some type of government, the options for studying are limitless! Your main points of focus on finding the right program for you should be what aspects of government you want to study, what opportunities for extracurricular learning, and the region of the world you want to focus your government studies on. Here are the best countries to get government degrees abroad.

North America hosts an immense number of universities with government programs at all levels. Several universities near New York and Washington D.C. even have courses that are led by former government leaders and have direct access to government internship programs both for the United States government and the United Nations. Canada is also home to some of the best government degree programs in the world. Whether the bustling metropolis of Toronto, the seat of government in Ottawa, or the echoes of the colonial French past in Montreal, Canadian universities offer many opportunities to learn about government — both in and outside of the classroom. 

If you are yearning for the Old World, Europe offers the same quality of degree programs as North America — with as many opportunities to gain firsthand experience in the myriad of government institutions throughout the continent. The United Kingdom offers world-class programs in governance that include domestic studies of international institutions that have led modern Europe (NATO and the European Union, for example). 

France’s universities have churned out leaders for centuries, and they also host opportunities to work with government in Paris and the EU parliament in Strasbourg or to study law enforcement in Lyon. If you are looking for a more legal route in government, the Netherlands could help you focus by studying the International Criminal Court within the city of the Hague. Other judicial institutions nearby include the International Court of Justice, Criminal courts for Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone war crimes, and the headquarters for Europol.

Types of Government Degree Programs

Government is a flexible degree, which can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether your aspirations lie in civil service, policy making, or law, there are many different styles of government degrees to help develop your goals.

Undergraduate government degrees are offered by most universities worldwide. If not, then a focus in government is usually possible within a larger undergraduate degree, in subjects like political science, law, or international relations. There is a wide variety of courses when studying government abroad, including theory, analysis, and practice. Government degrees tend to last three or four years and, depending on the university, and you will be completing general education studies at the same time.

At the graduate level, an M.F.A. or M.A. degree program in government typically lasts one or two years and allows you to focus more specifically on a particular aspect of governance. Subject matter within government tend to cover aspects of policy making, participating in real government programs, and interactions with former titans of government. Postgraduate government programs also sometimes give students the opportunity to intern with government institutions while studying.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

The benefits of earning a government degree in a foreign country far exceed the academic experience you can earn in your home nation. You’ll find life beyond the walls of your classroom to be the greatest teacher as you see how people from around the world found different ways to set up a system of governance that they feel serves them best. 

Knowing a foreign language is far more advantageous than only knowing one language when it comes to government. Many government departments require the need for multiple languages and having an in-demand language under your belt can lead to more opportunities. Being able to overhear causal comments and friend up to a foreign diplomat always comes in handy.

One point of concern when earning a degree in government abroad is the limited spectrum of foreign government jobs. Depending on your native nation, some foreign government jobs require you to renounce your citizenship! This can even affect internship opportunities, so make sure to check all foreign policy laws before signing up. 

While you may not be able to become a member of a foreign government, a degree abroad in government could help you serve your nation. Many people who have studied government returned home and became role models of civil servants, diplomats, and even leaders of their nation. Then one day you’ll look back at your time abroad as an experience that led you on the path of making the world a better place.

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A Guide To
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