Learning Abroad in Political Science

Learning Abroad in Political Science

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
—Saint Augustine (354–430)

 

Study Abroad Process

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Department of Political Science before beginning your study abroad research.

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

Work toward completion of your political science major or minor

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay special attention to program type

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

Programs

Africa and the Middle East

Ghana

University of Ghana (available through CIEE Ghana—Legon: Developmental Studies)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Comprehensive university on the outskirts of the capital, Accra, supplemented by CIEE courses plus the option of doing a research project and/or a community-focused internship.
  • Wide array of courses includes such titles as Africa & the Global System; Ghana’s Foreign Policy; Identities & Conflicts in Africa; and Political Though in the Black Diaspora.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Israel

University Study in Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Program type: University Study
  • Jerusalem, holy city of Islam and Judaism alike, provides a fascinating case study of an ethnically divided city. Participants study in the university’s Rothberg International School.
  • For relevant courses, look in the online catalog under Conflict Resolution, History of Israel, Middle East & Islamic Studies, Israel Society, and Society & Politics. Internships also available.
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University Study in Israel: University of Haifa

  • Program type: University Study
  • Participants study in the university’s International School. For relevant course look under Communications, Contemporary Israel & Middle East Studies, Economics, History, Political Science.
  • Special peace and conflict program is a major attraction. Internships and a study tour are also available.
  • Instruction at the International School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Kenya

MSID Kenya (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Political science is among the most common participant majors.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Senegal

MSID Senegal (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion; political science is among the most popular participant majors.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, community centers, and many more.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

South Africa

University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town

  • Program type: University Study
  • Post-Apartheid South Africa is ideal for observing how differently another society defines and deals with issues of race, inequality, and the redesigning of a political system.
  • The political science department at this top-tier institution is one of the country’s strongest. Extensive volunteer opportunities supplement classroom offerings.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Uganda & Rwanda

SIT Uganda & Rwanda– Peace & Conflict Studies in the Lake Victoria Basin

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program integrating lectures, classroom discussions, readings, and debriefings on history, contemporary politics, and the role of the state.
  • Program engages students with the active peace-building and NGO communities in the Lake Victoria Basin. Two homestays, one in each country, plus multiple excursions.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of French or an African language required. Summer.

Americas

Argentina

CIEE Argentina– Liberal Arts

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center and University Study
  • Special courses at the prestigious FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) plus access to regular courses at Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad Católica.Argentina.
  • FLACSO offerings include courses on Argentine political and social history, international relations of Latin America, and political economy of Argentine development.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; six semesters of prior language study required. Fall semester, spring semester, calendar or academic year.

IFSA-Butler Argentina

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Program provides access to classes at some of the top universities in Latin America. Especially strong in political science: Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad Torcuato di Tella.
  • Academic concentrations that allow students to specialize include a Directed Research Concentration (offers 6-credit supervised research option) and a Human Rights Concentration.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Bolivia

SIT Bolivia

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Three highly experiential program options in a country with a long history of popular movements, and now the first indigenous president in South America’s history.
  • Latin American Revolutionary Movements & Conflict Resolution (semester) and Lens on Latin America  (summer) are both based in La Paz; Multiculturalism, Globalization, & Social Change in Cochabamba.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish, Aymara, or Quechua is required. Fall or spring semester.

Chile

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad de Chile (available through CIEE Chile–Santiago Liberal Arts or IES Chile or ISFA-Butler Chile–Santiago)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Top-rate Santiago institutions, both with strong political science departments. Required CIEE, IES, or IFSA-Butler offerings supplement the university coursework. 
  • Sample course titles: Chilean Foreign Policy; Chilean Political Parties; Re-Democratization in Latin America; Contemporary International Conflicts; Latin American Politics; Political Ethics.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters (IES), 5 semesters (Butler) or 6 semesters (CIEE) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Ecuador

MSID Ecuador (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion; political science is among the most popular participant majors.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, human rights.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Nicaragua

SIT Nicaragua– Revolution, Transformation, & Civil Society

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential Managua-based program that includes extensive field study, field trips to other Nicaraguan locations and El Salvador, and a research project.
  • Useful as a source of insights into the U.S. role in Central America, as well as peace and conflict issues.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Peru

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (available through CIEE Peru–Lima Liberal Arts or ISFA-Butler Peru)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Lima-based PUCP is Peru’s oldest private university. Both CIEE and ISFA-Butler supplement university courses with 2 required center courses. For online course look under Sumillas.
  • Sample political science courses among many: State &d Politics in Latin America; State & Politics in Peru; Peruvian Foreign Policy; Comparative Political Regimes; Culture & Politics.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; five prior semesters of Spanish required for both ISFA-Butler and CIEE. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

Australian National University (available through Arcadia Australia or ISFA-Butler Australia)

  • Program type: University Study
  • In keeping with its location in Australia’s capital, Canberra, ANU is especially distinguished in the fields of political science, international relations. and Asian studies.
  • A renowned Parliamentary Internship program (listed separately on the Arcadia website) permits you to combine a major internship in the federal Parliament with on-campus coursework.
  • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

University of Wollongong (available through Arcadia

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in a seaside city of about 250,000 just south of Sydney, Wollongong is a highly international university, with about 20% of its students from other countries.
  • Strong in the social sciences, including political science.
  • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Cambodia

CIEE Cambodia

  • Program type: Study abroad center 
  • Based in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, program focuses on history of Cambodia from ancient times the current period of post-genocide justice, reconciliation, and national building.
  • Includes visits to Angkor World Heritage Site, Khmer Rouge genocide memorial sites, Khmer Rouge tribunal, and a rural village.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Khmer is required. Summer.

SFS Vietnam/Cambodia– Environmental Ethics & Conservation

  • Highly experiential program exploring the natural, human, and political economy of Vietnam and upstream areas of the Mekong River Delta in Cambodia.
  • Examines issues of sustainable development, pressures on natural resource exploitation, and ecotourism in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Chinese or of local minority languages is required. Fall or spring semester.
  • Pre req:  One semester of college-level ecology or biology.

China

CIEE China– Shanghai: China in a Global Context

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Language and area studies program with a strong emphasis on contemporary China. Courses offered in Asian studies, economics, history, international relations, political science, many more.
  • Sample course titles: Seminar on Issues of Globalization in China; Political Development in Modern China; China’s Macroeconomic Impact; and China’s International Relations.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Chinese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Japan

Exchange in Kyoto, Japan - Ritsumeikan University

  • Japanese language courses available - beginning to advanced
  • Japanese traditional arts courses also available
  • No previous Japanese language study required 
  • Spring Semester, Academic Year
  • Sample course offering areas, taught in English include:  political science, business, economic development to contemporary Japanese culture through the "Study in Kyoto:  Japanese and World Perspectives Track".  

Sophia University, Tokyo (available through Bilateral Exchange in Tokyo or CIEE Japan)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Jesuit university with two campuses, one of which teaches in English and draws both foreign students and Japanese students who have lived abroad for extended periods of time.
  • Broad range of political science offerings. Samples: Japanese Government & Politics; Japanese Foreign Policy; Citizens & Political Organizations; Peace & Security in Northeast Asia.
  • Instruction is in English; prior Japanese language study preferred but not required. Spring semester or academic year through both programs; calendar year and summer through CIEE only.

New Zealand

HECUA New Zealand Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future

  • The program examines how social and environmental factors impact and shape political and ecological aspects of identity and culture and how New Zealand populations are envisioning and developing a shared future in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Field seminars focus on environmental management, biodiversity protection, M?ori culture, national public policy, and urban planning.
  • Potential internship opportunities (not an exhaustive list) in the fields of wildlife and habitat conservation, climate change, food, environmental law, sustainability, transportation advocacy, community-based television, water quality, Permaculture and Transition Towns initiatives, local democracy, youth development, and urban agriculture.

University Study in New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, 21,000-student VUW includes a large Department of Political Science and International Relations.
  • The department’s broad range of course offerings includes many regional courses on East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and the Pacific, as well as Europe and the U.S.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Thailand 

MSID - International Development in Thailand

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Political science is among the most common participant majors.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees.
  • Instruction is in English; No prior Thai required.  Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Europe

Balkans

SIT The Balkans– Serbia, Bosnia, & Kosovo: Peace & Conflict Studies in the Balkans

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program in several countries of the former Yugoslavia. Based in Belgrade (Serbia), with field trips to Kosovo and Bosnia.
  • Classroom study, field experiences, and research project all provide insights into Balkan conflicts and reconciliation efforts.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Serbo-Croatian or Albanian is required. Fall or spring semester.

Belgium

Vesalius College, Brussels (available through CIEE Belgium—Business, Communications & Culture)

  • Program type: University Study
  • An international English-language college affiliated with the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel. About 30% of its students are Belgian, 10% from the U.S., and the rest from elsewhere.
  • Tiny Vesalius  (enrollment 350) offers an astonishing variety of political science courses, most with an international or European focus. Several incorporate field trips to EU institutions.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Czech Republic

CIEE Czech Republic– Central European Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary program offering special courses at Prague’s Charles University in such fields as political science, economics, history, and many others.
  • Course offerings on Czech national identity, rise & fall of Central European totalitarianism, politics and economics of the European Union, Central European politics nationalism in Central Europe.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Czech required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Denmark

Study Abroad in Denmark

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Copenhagen-based DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses and study tours in Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • Curriculum is organized into a number of programs including European Politics and Justice & Human Rights.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

France

IES France– Paris Business & International Affairs

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (plus University Study)
  • Program permits you to combine courses through the IES Center with university courses at the Institute Catholique, whose disciplines include both political science and international relations.
  • IES curriculum includes courses on French politics, comparative European politics, international political economy, and political economy of European integration. Political internships also available.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Université Paul Valéry through Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study (there is also a Study Abroad Center track)
  • Paul Valéry curriculum includes a rich array of political science courses, including many on southern European politics and Mediterranean politics.
  • Students in the University Study track may also take language and culture courses from the Center track, although these include no political science offerings. Internships also offered.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for center track, two for university study track. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.

Germany

IES Germany– Berlin Language & Area Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (plus University Study)
  • Political science courses offered both through IES and through two of Germany’s top institutions, the Free University of Berlin (formerly in the West) and Humboldt University (formerly in the East).
  • IES courses in such areas as political thought, Cold War Germany, German international relations, Germany and European unification. Program is strong in field study, including internships.
  • Instruction is in German; two years prior college language study required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

IES European Union– Freiburg

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Based in Freiburg, a picturesque medieval university town at the foot of the Black Forest, this program focuses on the European Union: economics, politics, and cultural and social issues.
  • Includes visits to major EU institutions and international organizations in other countries as well as to new EU member states in Eastern Europe. Internship opportunities in Freiburg or Brussels.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior German is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

Iceland

University of Iceland (available through Scholarship Exchange in Iceland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of the great bargains in study abroad. One student annually receives scholarships covering tuition and fees, room and board, and health insurance—virtually everything but airfare.
  • Political Science offerings emphasize international relations, including a number of courses on the European Union. Some relevant courses also listed also under Social & Human Studies.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Icelandic is required. Academic year only.

Ireland

Arcadia Ireland– Dublin Parliamentary Internship

  • Program type: Field study (plus Study Abroad Center)
  • Centerpiece of this program is a 6-credit internship with a member of either the lower house of Parliament or the Senate.
  • Three Irish studies courses in history, literature, and politics/society complement the internships. Designed specially for the interns, these are taught by Institute of Public Administration.
  • Fall or spring semester.

IES Ireland– Dublin: Irish General Studies program

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary, Dublin-based program focused on Ireland. Includes courses in many social sciences: political science, anthropology, communications, economics, history, and sociology.
  • Qualified students may also enroll in the European Union Honors Program at Trinity College (academic year or spring semester only) or Internships with political organizations.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University College Dublin (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located on the outskirts of the Irish capital, UCD is one of Ireland’s strongest universities and is top-rate in political science.
  • In addition to thematic political science courses, UCD offers a number of courses on Irish government and politics.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Italy

IES Italy– Rome

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program whose curriculum includes a rich array of relevant Italy-focused offerings in history and international relations. Internships available with NGOs and political parties.
  • Students also have access to some English-taught courses  (mostly for European students) on European Union topics at Libera Università Internationale degli Studie Sociali.
  • No prior Italian is required. Instruction for most courses is in English; additional center and university courses alike are available in Italian. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Universitá di Bologna (available through Bologna Consortial Studies Program, BCSP)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Bologna, the oldest university in Europe and arguably the most prestigious in Italy, has a strong political science department.
  • BCSP program supplements UB courses with courses designed for US students. A pre-session intensive Italian course strengthens your language skills before UB classes begin.
  • Instruction is in Italian; at least two prior years of language study are required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. (Academic year option highly recommended.)

Netherlands

University of Amsterdam (available through CIEE Netherlands—Amsterdam Social Sciences or IES Netherlands—Direct Enrollment or Exchange in Amsterdam, Netherlands)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Study at the University of Amsterdam’s International School for Humanities and Social Sciences. Classmates are mostly international students from throughout the world.
  • Sample courses: Global Civil Society; Politics of Development; Policy Making in the EU; Public International Law; Global Politics & Euro-Asia; Political Geography of the EU.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Dutch is required. Still more courses available to students proficient in Dutch. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Norway

The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging (HECUA)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Based in Oslo, the program uses a carefully integrated field study, classroom study, and volunteer placement to explore the program themes.
  • The New Norway affords an excellent opportunity to learn about Scandinavian grassroots citizen involvement, as well as state support of health care, education, and economic security.
  • The New Norway includes comparative field study elsewhere—in selected regions of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Norwegian is required. Offered fall semester.

Spain

CIEE Spain– Barcelona Language & Culture

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Designed for students with little prior Spanish, this program offers language study plus a variety of courses taught in English from the perspectives of many different disciplines.
  • Course offerings include: Comparative European Politics; Introduction to the European Union; Law & Dictatorship in Spain; and Society and Politics in Contemporary Spain.
  • Instruction is in English; one semester of prior Spanish is required. Additional courses available in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • U of M program located in Spain’s former capital and one of Europe’s most picturesque cities—a living museum of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
  • Strong humanities/social science curriculum includes courses on Latin American politics, Spanish politics, Spain and the EU, modern Spanish history. Internships and service-learning also offered.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

Switzerland

SIT Switzerland– International Studies & Multilateral Diplomacy

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program that maximizes the advantage of its location in Geneva, home to many international organizations and research centers. Excursions to Bern, Brussels, Paris, and Croatia.
  • Semester courses include International Studies, Multilateral Diplomacy, & Social Justice Seminar; Field Study Seminar; Independent Study Project; and French at any level.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior French is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

 United Kingdom

Arcadia Scotland– Scottish Summer Parliamentary Program

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Semester program includes classroom courses, an internship assignment, and an internship-related research project with guidance from a member of the Scottish Parliament.
  • Summer program includes 3-week class on Scottish Politics & Culture, followed by a five-week internship and research project.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

HECUA Democracy & Social Change in Northern Ireland

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Examines historical, political, economic, and religious roots of conflict in Northern Ireland, prospects for peace, and progress being made.
  • Half time, 8-credit internship complements classroom and field study and could easily focus on a political topic.
  • Instruction is in English. Spring semester.

London School of Economics & Political Science (available through Arcadia England or IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of the world’s leading institutions for the social sciences. Look under Government (GV) as well as International Relations (IR), Law (LL), and Social Policy (SA) in the online course catalog.
  • Sample course offerings: Public Choice & Politics; Politics of Economic Policy; Public Policy Analysis; States, Nations & Empires; and Theories & Problems of Nationalism.
  • Academic year or summer (summer through ISFA-Butler only).

Study & Intern in London

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program offering such courses as European Government & Politics; British History in the 20th Century; Politics, Islam, Politics, & Britain; Citizenship & Gender in Modern Europe.
  • Internships available in politics, public administration, law, human rights, international relations, and other fields including with political parties and with MPs. Service-learning course offered as well.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University of East Anglia (available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • UEA has Britain’s highest possible rating in political science. Its Politics and Sociology Sector, which incorporates International Relations and European Studies, offers many areas of strength.
  • Faculty specialties include cultural politics, utopian thought, mass media, multiculturalism, European Union, Asia-Europe relations, Russian politics, Asia-Pacific politics, and many others.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language.
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.

Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Summer research abroad preceded by spring semester preparation and followed by fall semester project write-up; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • Faculty adviser helps students prepare, accompanies each group during the summer, and assists as the thesis is written.
  • Locations vary from year to year; two to four destinations offered annually. No language prerequisite for most sites. Summer.
  • NOTE: SPAN projects may NOT replace the Honors Thesis in political science which is required for all honors students..

Work, Intern, Volunteer, and Research Opportunities

  • The Political Science department encourages study abroad programs offering experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service-learning, or research opportunities.
  • Don’t confine your search to study abroad; check out non-credit online WIV or teaching English first step modules.
  • Consider combining a WIV experience with study abroad.

Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.