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Student News: Study Abroad experience to Ireland, Spain and England


Updated: 06-28-2013

Students in the Department of Government and Sociology have numerous opportunities to learn beyond the classroom and study abroad is one of many options.  Dr. Jerry Herbel, Associate Professor, Political Science and Public Administration and Dr. Hank Edmondson, Professor, Political Science and Public Administration recently returned with their students from their Study Abroad experience to Ireland, Spain and England.

Thirteen students accompanied the professors as they explored the administrative, political and cultural factors which are having a bearing on European governance and European society in general. They visited cultural and political centers of England, Ireland and Spain, to gain a greater understanding of the dynamics of policy making and the future of Europe. The experience helped the students understand how cultural transformation is having an effect on society broadly and policy development in particular.  Students who participated in this program received academic credit in POLS 4509, European Government and Culture: United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain.

About the experience, Coye Bishop had this to say, “Before the trip, I didn't understand how a three and a half week course could be worth six credit hours. Looking back, three and a half weeks of immersion in different cultures taught me more than any semester-long course I've taken in college.”  Here is a small excerpt from his travel journal, “For dinner, we went to a restaurant called The Eagle and Child.  This was where Tolkien and Lewis often met and discussed their writings.  It was pretty cool to get to say that I ate where they used to meet regularly.  Today exposed me to so much history and culture, and it was the perfect ending to the perfect trip.  The only way it could’ve been better is if it were longer.  Tomorrow we fly to Dublin, and the next day we fly home.  The time certainly has flown by, but this is an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Another participant, Taylor Roeck summed things up by noting that, “There is something to be said about reading about current events or history, and then being able to visit the place where such events have happened. The way our readings and the experiences in each country complemented each other taught me more than a classroom by itself ever could. Getting out of one’s comfort zone and seeing, hearing, and experiencing new things is one way to challenge your own beliefs and learn about the differences that exist in the world. It makes us more aware students. I am grateful for the people I traveled with and the wonderful professors who led us around and planned so much. This trip was better than I ever could have imagined, and I feel that my mind is more open because of it.”

 The Department of Government and Sociology has been involved in the organization and delivery of Academic Study Abroad experiences and Dr. Edmondson has been leading European study programs similar to this one for more than twenty years.  If you are interested in participating in a study abroad program, contact the Department or the International Education Center.

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