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Studying Abroad, a "Hands On" Approach to Political Science
Unformatted Document Text:  International Political Economy International political economy, in my personal teaching experience also lend itself to field study both within Paris (trips to the OECD and the IEA) but also to trips to Geneva to allow them to visit the WTO Headquarters as well as the UNCTAD . These teach both about the issues facing developed countries members of the WTO and developing countries in the current economic context. Trips to the IEA allow students on the one hand to understand the role of international organizations and institutions in the international economy and political sphere beyond the UN. And, on the other hand, they are able to tackle with the instructor an issue important to today’s economic and political context- energy. Students thus can learn not only about gas and oil and the risks of Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas supplies (a subject increasingly important for European countries) but also grasp the debates going on in Europe over renewable energies. They can then with the professor compare the debates in Europe and the US and the eventual political and economic solutions that are proposed by both actors such as in the “Grenelle de l’environnement” as well as understand the fundamental need and interest in these questions as world citizens. 7 Beyond talking to actors and visiting institutions, students can themselves play an active role through the use of simulations. The use of simulations in the classroom For European students and foreign students alike, the processes, institutions and policies of European integration are complex entities. First time and even seasoned teachers are faced with the task of explaining and re-explaining the co decision procedure, the three pillars of the Maastricht Treaty or any other myriad of issues than can be daunting, confusing and complex even for the most jaded insider. Given that the EU is often considered an « unidentified political object within political science» fitting neither into the traditional State 7 See debates such as the publication accompanied by a round table Monday, January 21, 2008, Foundation de lineation Politique « Demain, une Europe de l’énergie à l’heure de l’hydrogène », Jeremy Rifkin, economist, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends (Washington) or the debate at the CERI January 8, 2008 “Les Compagnies petrolières facent aux enjeux energetiques”. 8

Authors: Sheppard, Elizabeth.
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International Political Economy
International political economy, in my personal teaching experience also lend itself to
field study both within Paris (trips to the OECD and the IEA) but also to trips to Geneva to
allow them to visit the WTO Headquarters as well as the UNCTAD . These teach both about
the issues facing developed countries members of the WTO and developing countries in the
current economic context. Trips to the IEA allow students on the one hand to understand the
role of international organizations and institutions in the international economy and political
sphere beyond the UN. And, on the other hand, they are able to tackle with the instructor an
issue important to today’s economic and political context- energy. Students thus can learn not
only about gas and oil and the risks of Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas supplies (a
subject increasingly important for European countries) but also grasp the debates going on in
Europe over renewable energies. They can then with the professor compare the debates in
Europe and the US and the eventual political and economic solutions that are proposed by
both actors such as in the “Grenelle de l’environnement” as well as understand the
fundamental need and interest in these questions as world citizens.
Beyond talking to actors and visiting institutions, students can themselves play an
active role through the use of simulations.
The use of simulations in the classroom
For European students and foreign students alike, the processes, institutions and
policies of European integration are complex entities. First time and even seasoned teachers
are faced with the task of explaining and re-explaining the co decision procedure, the three
pillars of the Maastricht Treaty or any other myriad of issues than can be daunting, confusing
and complex even for the most jaded insider. Given that the EU is often considered an
« unidentified political object within political science» fitting neither into the traditional State
7
See debates such as the publication accompanied by a round table Monday, January 21, 2008, Foundation de
lineation Politique « Demain, une Europe de l’énergie à l’heure de l’hydrogène », Jeremy Rifkin, economist,
president of the Foundation on Economic Trends (Washington) or the debate at the CERI January 8, 2008 “Les
Compagnies petrolières facent aux enjeux energetiques”.
8


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