Political science is an important major for lots of reasons - you’re learning about the history of our nation and starting to think about what we need for the future. If you’re majoring in politics, there’s a good chance that one day you’ll be involved in running our government. You may be so caught up in studying the US that you haven’t even considered studying abroad. However, studying abroad is a valuable life experience and a great choice for politics students.
Studying politics in another country will expose you to new and different people, customs, and political institutions. You’ll be inspired to consider the world in a new way, and will return home with different and innovative ideas for our own country. Continue reading for more tips about studying politics abroad.
Photo credits: Jirka Matousek.
Have a keen interest in a specific leg of parliament or branch of government? Pursue one of these unique opportunities abroad.
United Nations Headquarters
If New York is old news to you, head to Geneva, home to the second largest branch of the UN. Experiencing political life in Switzerland firsthand will give you unique insight into how this oft-neutral country operates. Further, viewing your American background through the eyes of so many internationals is bound to be both challenging, rewarding, and enlightening.
Want to witness a country fresh-off-the-press or still in the making? Consider choosing a country that has recently claimed independence or is working hard to gain it. You'll see all of the inner-workings that often go under the radar as national policies are molded and put in place. You also may gain a deeper appreciation for living in a country where the cornerstones are already grounded.
Unique Political Destinations
Cities such as Strasbourg, France, the home of the European Parliament or Tel Aviv, Israel, the heart of Israeli-Palestinian debate, will provide a political-science-focused-study-abroad-trip unlike anywhere in the world. Don't blame us when you're bragging to your cronies in the break room on Capitol Hill someday about all the cool things you saw!
Depending on what niche you're hoping to specialize in within politics, there are destinations-a-plenty to pique your interest.
If you’re interested in studying politics abroad, perhaps you should head to England - Oxford University is the second best school in the world for political science (beat only by Harvard). The University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics and Political Science - both in England, too - are also rated in the top ten for political science programs around the world.
If you choose to study politics in England, you’ll also be exposed to new theories on the subject, as the country has a very different political history and system from our own. Students living in England will also enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture and will appreciate how easy it is to visit other countries in Europe, including France and Germany.
If England doesn’t interest you, there are many other well-regarded political science programs around the world. If you’re not set on Europe, consider the Australian National University in, you guessed it - Australia! Our friends down under have a fairly unique approach to governance, which can in turn help you better understand many American policies.
If a more exotic destination appeals, consider heading to Asia. You probably haven’t learned much about this part of the world in your politics studies, but Asia has a very rich and diverse history that is sure to spark your interest, and a growing political influence that is sure to define this century. Both the University of Tokyo and the National University of Singapore have incredible political science departments.
Now's the time to start lobbying for extra greenbacks to finance your adventures. Check out these scholarships that can help you study politics abroad - but don't forget to do some independent research too!