Earning a degree in international relations abroad is an ambitious first step toward launching a successful career in the global arena. Whether your interests lie in public policy, economic development, or you simply want to travel and see the world, studying international relations abroad will enlighten you to the finer points of cross cultural interaction and diplomacy which are required to be successful in the field.
Why Earn a Degree Abroad
Earning a degree in international relations abroad might seem like a funny concept. Aren’t you supposed to be working for your home government? So shouldn’t you be attending a domestic university? In reality, earning a degree abroad in international relations can be an incredibly unique asset to bring to the table, and also grant you a greater perspective of how your home country fits into the global scheme. Plus it will open up numerous jobs in countries all over the world, not just your own!
You can study international relations abroad at virtually every major college in the world, so take your pick! A good way to start is by thinking on the broad scale about major regions, such as Europe, South America, or East Asia. Then hone in on specific countries that are of most interest you and research the top universities and international relations programs in each.
Always keep the language barrier in mind, as most universities will use their native tongue as the medium of instruction. No matter what, if you plan on pursuing a degree abroad then learning the language should be a big part of your experience!
The content of your education about international relations and politics will vary significantly depending on where you choose to earn your degree. In wealthy and globally influential countries, such as the UK, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, the focus may be on how to leverage large international organizations and institutions to best solve the big issues facing today’s global community. However, if you study abroad in a developing country, such as those in Southeast Asia, Central America, or Africa, the focus may be more on issues of sustainable development and macroeconomics.
Geography and the relative power balance is also something to keep in mind that will affect the scope of issues discussed during your education. Different countries face different regional disputes and this may greatly shift the focus between schools (for example, you will get a much different impression of international relations from studying in Canada vs. Japan). International relations is a deeply complex field with many factors determining the focus of individual countries, so it will be beneficial to have a good background knowledge of the country you plan to pursue an international relations degree in.
International Relations Degrees
International Relations is a very broad field which encompasses a lot of different subject matters. You will be able to enroll in classes which are focused on specific regions of the world, such as African Politics, Middle Eastern Politics, and Russian and Eurasian Studies, and you will also be able to enroll in programs or courses which are more conceptually focused, such as Political Economy of Development, International Relations Theory, Cultural Diplomacy, and History of International Relations.
Many students who major in international relations choose to tack on another major or minor in a particular area (i.e. European studies) or a specialization, thereby focusing their education around expertise in a particular region or subfield of international relations. Building up a focus about the country where you earn your international relations degree in seems like the logical choice, as this will set you up nicely for future employment between your countries upon graduation.
Language study should also be a part of your course plan when pursuing an international relations degree abroad, as being bilingual is an increasingly important skill to have when seeking work in today’s international community.
If you already have obtained your undergraduate degree and are looking to pursue postgraduate education, there are a ton of cool specialized programs out there that focus on mastering the important issues of our modern global era. An advanced degree abroad in international relations will prepare you for a wide variety of jobs in both the public and private sectors. That being said, when choosing which specific international relations degree program to apply for it is important to have a good idea of what kind of work you would like to go on to do after graduation.
Many students choose to study abroad for just one semester out of their college tenure; however, those who choose to leave home and pursue a full time degree abroad are the truly adventurous and will set themselves even further apart from their peers. There are perhaps no better pretenses to embark on such an endeavor than for obtaining a degree in international relations. Cross-cultural communication and understanding is vitally important to the stability of the world order, which is essential for those who work in international relations. Therefore, those optimistic ambassadors who begin breaking down barriers by earning a degree abroad will be the key to accomplishing our world’s peaceful ideal.