Studying abroad is highly recommended for anyone in the process of earning a degree in social science. Whether you are specializing in anthropology, business, finance, or international relations, studying social science abroad will not only give you a more intensive theoretical background in the field, it will also give you a fresh perspective on human conditions and society in general. While studying abroad, you will be learning about social science just by going for a walk or trying a local cuisine!
The best thing about studying social science abroad is the fact that you can study it anywhere! This big umbrella field covers a range of different subjects that are all quite popular in nearly every country across the world as well as in the majority of academic institutions.
In Western Europe, the most popular destinations to study social science are Italy, England, or Spain. Each country and academic institution will likely offer a distinct approach to the field of social science, so be sure your interests or theoretical orientation aligns with your school of choice. Without a doubt, social science courses in Europe will give students the chance to delve deeper into the complexities of human relations, both in theory and in real life situations.
Most importantly, most European countries are home to diverse groups of people with different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, which will broaden your perspective of social relations and give you first hand experience interacting with people from different cultures. An added benefit: Europe is home to many international institutions, like the United Nations, which can serve as great places to land a job in the future!
Asia is also home to a handful of popular places to study social science abroad, such as China and South Korea. China is an emerging market, which makes it an important destination for those specializing in the business or finance side of social science. The recent developments in the Chinese market have captured the attention of scholars and social science analysts around the world. Spending a semester studying social science in China will give you an incredible opportunity to increase your understanding of China’s market flow and societal structure.
Courses & Programs
Social science is a huge umbrella that encompasses a range of different courses and specialties. Students studying social science abroad may find themselves exploring fields such as international relations, finance, sociology, media, and many other fields, all of which are very beneficial to study abroad.
One of the main branches of social science is sociology, which is basically the study of society and the rules and structures affecting how people behave in the community. Taking sociology courses abroad will give you more exposure and appreciation for the influence that culture and religion have on the way people respond to each other, especially when compared to just reading about such influences in a classroom setting. Studying social science abroad will also encourage you to become more creative with your experience of other societies and make learning about social science more exciting.
International relations, yet another form of social science, is best suited for study in a diverse environment (aka. PERFECT for studying abroad). Studying international relations abroad will bring you closer to important international institutions and foreign companies, which will serve as great examples of societal institutions you can use in your social research, as well as potentially give you a foot in the door for the future (internships anyone?).
The study of social science is not complete without considering more business related subjects like finance and marketing, which are so closely connected to the inner workings of society. Studying business abroad will give you new insight into the field of social science, as our world continues to become more and more connected through international business.
Although social science courses will vary greatly from one country to the next, in terms of structure and expectations, courses will generally be a combination of both theoretical and practical approaches to the field. Courses may be a mix of lectures, exams, research papers, and essays, and students will benefit from opting to participate in an internship when given the chance too. While studying social science abroad, you should not limit yourself to courses strictly within the field, take the initiative to sign up for subjects outside of the field too (although almost any subject can somehow be connected to social science).
Benefits & Challenges
Cross-Cultural Understanding. Studying social science abroad will give you a better understanding of society as a whole, as well as insight into how different cultures and people function and interact both together and apart. As you interact with different people, from various backgrounds, with numerous perspectives, you will begin to understand the true complexity of the world and appreciate the beauty of life.
Experiential Learning. As they say, the easiest way to learn is to experience. Not only will choosing to study social science abroad enhance your education and broaden your worldviews, it will surely be a big advantage professionally too!
Endless Options. The biggest challenge will be choosing specific classes or a subfield to focus on, since the options within the realm of social science are nearly endless. With hundreds of valuable opportunities at your doorstep, it can be difficult to choose between better and best. Therefore, the best way to approach social science study abroad programs is to select the program that will give you access the the greatest number of courses that are relevant to your desired career path.
The only way to tackle your fear about going abroad and experiencing another culture is to actually do it! Studying abroad is the best way to engage yourself with our global society and get practical international experience that will be relevant both academically and professionally.
Wouldn’t you rather be the one sharing the incredibly unique experience than the one hearing all about it?