Economics is one of the most useful academic studies you can undertake in today’s ever-growing, global job market. Studying economics abroad will help thoroughly prepare you for your future career, with plenty of insight into the dynamic forces underlying many different professional fields. Since economics is an increasingly globally-oriented discipline of study, studying economics abroad has the potential to be one of the most personally and academically rewarding experiences of your collegiate career.
Why Study Economics Abroad
Isolated economies no longer exist in the interconnected state of our modern global marketplace. To whatever degree each country’s economic activity affects the larger order, some obviously more than others, every individual economy can affect the global economy. By traveling the world to study economics abroad, you will begin to understand how different social, cultural, and strategic factors influence the economic outlook of different countries, thus further unraveling the complex state of affairs that is modern day economics.
Economics is one of the most widely taught academic disciplines in the world, and is only gaining popularity as countries experiment with different ways to remain competitive on the global stage. You can choose to study economics abroad pretty much anywhere in the world, and there is likely to be an economics department at a local university in nearly any major city. However, there are still some limiting factors you should bear in mind.
One is the language barrier. While countries such as China, Japan, and Brazil, for example, have some of the largest economies in the world, you better be adept in Mandarin, Japanese, or Spanish if you plan on studying economics abroad there. While English is largely spoken as a common tongue around the world, most countries will use their native language as the medium of education, creating an obstacle to enrollment at local universities for English speakers without any secondary language skills.
Fear not, because there are alternative routes you can take. Many study abroad program providers have their own satellite schools or partner with international schools across different regions, making it possible to gain an English education while studying economics abroad in most parts of the world. While the course catalogue and classes themselves will typically be smaller than at larger foreign universities, economics is a common enough discipline that you will usually be able to tackle at least one course in the field during your time abroad.
Economics Study Abroad Programs
The economics courses available to you while studying abroad will vary, depending on location, program type, and the level of study you choose. For example, if you are studying economics abroad in the developing world, many economics courses will be geared toward development studies, while in the industrialized world you might experience different approaches to understanding micro and macro systems. Likewise, available courses may alter depending on what pre-requisites you have finished, and whether you choose to study economics abroad at a larger university or smaller school.
Many study abroad programs are also specifically oriented around economics, built so that you can get a sound global education amongst peers who are also interested in the field. Economics study abroad programs usually do not take the form of a traditional semester or year abroad. Instead, these specialized programs are generally shorter and more interactive in nature, guided by a professor, and may travel throughout several different cities, or even regions (i.e. the major economic capitals of Europe).
As economics so heavily intersects with many areas of the social sciences, it may be a good idea to explore related subject areas while studying abroad. Try supplementing your economics courses abroad with additional classes that deal with the local culture, history, and politics of your destinations of choice; you might be surprised on how much light these topics can shed on the economic dynamics of your destination!
Enlarged Perspective. Economics is a wide spanning discipline that manifests itself in very different ways around the world. Studying economics abroad will give you a much deeper appreciation of how complex market forces intersect and drive the global economy.
Travel Experience. Beyond academics, studying economics abroad is your chance to go out and explore the world while young and impressionable. In fact, you may find that most of the learning actually takes place outside of the classroom!
Resume Building. Especially in a field as internationally oriented as economics, employers will love to see that you have study abroad experience. Learning how to communicate efficiently and effectively across cultural boundaries is an invaluable skill to have, especially in the field of economics.