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Study Abroad

Study Abroad in Germany and France 


                                                         Siemers and students                                 

                            Study abroad students with Dr. Siemers at Thomas Hobbes birthplace in Malmesbury, England, 2013


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


Think about it:  have you ever heard of anyone who regretted studying abroad?  Probably not.  It’s really one of the best investments in yourself you can make.  You don’t have to study abroad for long to experience the life-changing encounters with another culture, to really appreciate what it’s like to be far from home, and to learn a lot about yourself and your ability to make it anywhere.      

The Political Science Department offers a study abroad opportunity nearly every year, almost always during the three-week May interim.  We’ve been to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Poland over the years, and this year we’re adding France to our repertoire.  These trips are amazing opportunities to see part of the big world, earn six credits, meet new people who will be friends for life, and learn more in a short span of time than you thought possible.

Join us this May for a journey to Germany and France, studying different aspects of comparative politics and international relations.  We’ll start in Berlin, Germany—home of the German parliament, playground of the Prussians, site of the Nazi rise to power, centerpiece of the Cold War, and witness to the triumph of democracy.  From Berlin, we’ll explore the city of Potsdam on bikes, tread on the terrible grounds of Sachsenhausen concentration camps, swim in Wannsee, and picnic on Peacock Island. 


We’ll leave Germany and head to France, where we’ll stay in beautiful Strasbourg.  Strasbourg is a center of international politics, headquarters of the European Court of Human Rights (the most powerful human rights court in the world), the Council of Europe, and the European Union’s legislature, the European Parliament.  In Strasbourg, we’ll stay in a historic chateau and have opportunities to experience the French countryside and sample all it has to offer (read: wine-tasting!).

What trip to France would be complete without a visit to the City of Lights?  Paris is the final stop on our trip, and we’ll spend a few days (and an entire free weekend!) enjoying the Eiffel Tower, touring the National Assembly (French legislature) and the Louvre, and people-watching in glorious Parisian cafes.  We’ll head home from the famous Charles de Gaulle Airport the first week of June.

While you’re in Europe, you’ll have the opportunity to take two courses, one with Dr. Tracy Slagter and one with Dr. Druscilla Scribner, both of whom have led study-abroad tours in the past and who themselves had amazing study abroad experiences while in college.  You’ll have the opportunity to take Introduction to Comparative Politics (84:101) with Dr. Slagter;  if you’ve already taken it, you’ll have the opportunity to complete Advanced Study in Comparative Politics for upper-division credit (84:312).  Dr. Scribner will offer her popular Women and Politics course (84:303), and we’ll have opportunities to meet female legislators and interest group leaders while we’re in Europe.  The six credits you register for are included in the trip price; there are no additional course fees.

Want to know more?  Contact Dr. Slagter or Dr. Scribner any time.  Better yet, head to the Office of International Education to get started on your application!  Applications are due the first week of Spring Semester, so the time to start thinking about your study abroad experience is NOW!        



 I stepped off of a first class international flight at the Bombay airport and onto a bus that drove me through some of the worst slums in the world. In the space of a few minutes you can witness both the greatest accomplishments and confront the greatest challenges of humankind on study abroad. You see that though the Earth is small, there is a lot to know, a lot of beauty to appreciate, many connections to be made, and much work yet to be done and that in some fundamental way this work is our work.  (Siemers)

Aside from the experience of the trip itself - which was filled with the most unique learning environment I've ever been a part of - study abroad has opened many doors. I am doing things I never thought were possible with a confidence I have never had before. Study Abroad allowed me to open up and believe in myself. I never thought law school was an option despite the passion I had for law, but with strong supportive professors and the confidence gained from Study Abroad, I am ready to take on the world. It's more than just an academic trip for credit, it's a life trip that equipped me with skills I will use forever! (Aerial Spang)

Studying abroad was one of the most inspiring moments in my life. It taught me life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. To those who are on the fence about studying abroad, I would urge them strongly to take the opportunity. To learn in a foreign country with a group of amazing people is truly one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences. The memories I garnered on my study abroad trip will stick with me, happily, for the rest of my life. (Ben Jellicoe, Challenge New Zealand Winter 2013)


Study abroad opened my eyes to the bigger world around us. I gained a perspective on how young the U.S. is. I gained confidence in my ability to maneuver around a big city and I gained a month-full of memories that I will never forget. (Marissa Theys)

I studied abroad in Berlin, Germany in Summer 2008 and now and forevermore, Berlin will be MY city! To study the where history actually happened was awe-inspiring and it was easier to grasp since you were able to picture events in your mind since they happened where you were standing. Don't pass up the opportunity to study abroad because of any external reasons... you will forget the price, but you will never forget the experience. (Katie Pierce)

You can't sum up the impact of a study abroad in just one sentence. It really is life-changing and you learn so many cool facts about the place you’re in that you create this unbelievable connection to not only your surroundings but the people who are also experiencing this with you. I mean, I could go on and on about the time I had on my study abroad but it really is something everyone should experience for themselves. And I know everyone had told me that same line for many years but I didn't understand it till I actually took the leap of faith and went on a study. For those unsure about study abroad, well, don't be unsure. It adds so much to your knowledge, your resume for further schooling, your connection to other cultures. I mean, it’s a huge list. But honestly, a study abroad is what you make of it: if you want to have a good time and learn a lot then you really have to immerse yourself in the study and don't be afraid to try new things. (Megan Kaldunski)


Study Abroad was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my undergrad life. I have recently started graduate school at MIIS and I haven’t met anyone here who has not been abroad for either school or work prior to being accepted. Of course it’s a good resume builder and will help with your new career, but it is more important in a sense that it shows you a little bit of what this world has to offer. For those of you who still cannot decide whether or not to go on a study abroad, I would say do it. You will only regret it if you don’t go. (Matt Thom)


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by steinj07 last modified Sep 04, 2013 01:44 PM