International political economy. International business. International affairs and public policy. Episcopal students want to make a difference in the world, with seniors frequently expressing interest in pursuing globally-focused majors. In a world that is increasingly more connected, a global mindset is an asset in a variety of fields. The opportunities provided through Episcopal’s Global Studies Department are designed to cultivate this interest and help students become global citizens.
Episcopal offers three to four global exchanges or international curricular-based travel opportunities each year, with numerous students participating. Global Studies Department Director Dr. Rebecca Kuhn says travel opens a world of possibilities for student participants. “It’s important to appreciate the similarities and differences between our cultures. It’s also important to get comfortable traveling and navigating new situations,” she says. As students explore their world, they also gain confidence and independence.
Going to Spain was an amazing experience. It helped me make lifelong friends and experience an awesome culture. Through this trip, I chose my thesis topic. I also know that I want to continue studying Spanish in college. This exchange program broadened my world view and strengthened my academics.
A global studies education is much more than a trip abroad. Episcopal also offers numerous social studies and world language courses with a global focus. One course that students have expressed particular interest in is AP Comparative Government and Politics. The course, which is taught by Edwin Way, compares the politics of Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China and Nigeria. Way says making these comparisons actually helps students learn more about their own country. “You can’t really understand a country or a government unless you have something to compare it to,” he says. “I hope that they get a better appreciation for the United States and the freedoms that we have.”
Way says approximately 15,000 US students take the AP Comparative Government and Politics course each year. During the semester, students participate in debates on a range of current topics such as Brexit or the Putin regime in Russia. Way says many Episcopal students are well traveled, which enables them to pull from their personal experiences regarding many of the locations being examined. As a teacher, Way also brings much to the course having lived in China, West Africa, Egypt and Denmark.
Dr. Kuhn says courses such as the AP comparative government course, travel opportunities or even opportunities to learn from local experts are all valuable ways to strengthen a student’s overall education. “This type of learning helps us look at the map differently,” she says. “If you hear an international news story you have context and you’re invested in the outcomes. This gets you beyond the sound bite.”
Whether it’s spending two weeks with a host family in Spain, bracing for the chill of Quebec or watching championship tango dancers, Episcopal students have numerous opportunities to learn more about their world. These opportunities will help them become the next generation of empathetic, innovative global leaders.
A group of 19 eighth grade French students spent the Mardi Gras break in Quebec City and Montreal, Canada. Students had the opportunity to practice their French while visiting Montmorency waterfall, the Hotel de Glace and the Notre Dame Basilica. They also enjoyed dogsledding, ice skating and learning more about maple syrup production.