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Studying Abroad, a "Hands On" Approach to Political Science
Unformatted Document Text:  Different authors, different subjects One of the most interesting intellectual benefits for students is ability to participate in courses that despite the seemingly similar subject matter compared to their home schools, involve fundamental differences. Often, the authors and schools of thought who are represented in the classroom and on syllabi are different, representing local schools of thought but also on occasion lesser known or used American authors. Many disciplines permit the teaching of “main authors” of the culture in the subject at hand for example Raymond Aron in IR, but also “cognitive theories” in public policy that are particularly influential in France not to mention sociologists such as Bourdieu who are lesser known in the political science curriculum (though very much present for sociologists) in US universities. Further examples can be seen in comparing syllabi one can see the differences in certain disciplines and how they are taught on either side of the Atlantic. Certain subjects are dealt with that take advantage of local resources and interests. For example in political science courses in France there is a large focus on regional integration on Europe and comparative European governments. In our center for example we have courses such as “Strategies of French industries in the European Union” or “European Political Systems” that take advantage of our geographic situation and intellectual history in France. Even in international political economy courses, subjects such as regional integration focus on Europe, while students learn how the French define and view “globalization” in comparison with Americans as well as delve into questions such as the French cultural exception and its place in a globalized world 9 or the “End of the State” in a globalized world which preoccupies Europeans in particular in the context of the EU. Introducing new teaching tools and new demands on students A last, but certainly not least, of the advantages of studying in an international context, is the capacity of opening up students mind to new methods of learning, and organizing thoughts and new priorities in learning. 9 If Time magazines recent cover certainly stirred up a more visible debate on the role of French culture and French cultural policy, it is an important issue that has increasingly been analysed by political economists in France. 10

Authors: Sheppard, Elizabeth.
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background image
Different authors, different subjects
One of the most interesting intellectual benefits for students is ability to participate in
courses that despite the seemingly similar subject matter compared to their home schools,
involve fundamental differences. Often, the authors and schools of thought who are
represented in the classroom and on syllabi are different, representing local schools of thought
but also on occasion lesser known or used American authors. Many disciplines permit the
teaching of “main authors” of the culture in the subject at hand for example Raymond Aron in
IR, but also “cognitive theories” in public policy that are particularly influential in France not
to mention sociologists such as Bourdieu who are lesser known in the political science
curriculum (though very much present for sociologists) in US universities.
Further examples can be seen in comparing syllabi one can see the differences in
certain disciplines and how they are taught on either side of the Atlantic. Certain subjects are
dealt with that take advantage of local resources and interests. For example in political science
courses in France there is a large focus on regional integration on Europe and comparative
European governments. In our center for example we have courses such as “Strategies of
French industries in the European Union” or “European Political Systems” that take
advantage of our geographic situation and intellectual history in France. Even in international
political economy courses, subjects such as regional integration focus on Europe, while
students learn how the French define and view “globalization” in comparison with Americans
as well as delve into questions such as the French cultural exception and its place in a
globalized world
or the “End of the State” in a globalized world which preoccupies
Europeans in particular in the context of the EU.
Introducing new teaching tools
and new demands on students
A last, but certainly not least, of the advantages of studying in an international context,
is the capacity of opening up students mind to new methods of learning, and organizing
thoughts and new priorities in learning.
9
If Time magazines recent cover certainly stirred up a more visible debate on the role of French culture and
French cultural policy, it is an important issue that has increasingly been analysed by political economists in
France.
10


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