Today we have an entry from guest blogger Anna McQuere. Anna is a second-year MPA student concentrating in Comparative and International Affairs and Nonprofit Management.
While SPEA offers a host of enriching opportunities for graduate students, one of the most impactful opportunities for me has been the SPEA Study Abroad program.
I chose to go on the SPEA in Berlin program for several reasons. As an International Affairs student, I jumped at the chance to go abroad, and I had never been to Germany. The Berlin program also focused on international issues like globalization and economic policy in the European Union. Finally, this program only lasted a couple of weeks after the end of the spring semester, so I still had plenty of time to complete my internship as well. SPEA offers study abroad options that range from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, so anyone interested in going abroad was able to find a program that fit with their internship requirements.
Thanks to the connections of Dr. Audretsch, our group of about twenty students had the opportunity to learn from some amazing teachers. We spoke with members of an economic policy think-tank and members of the German finance ministry. We even got to join the ambassadors of several countries to attend an international economic conference. Students personalized the program to research issues like environmental policy or immigration in the E.U.
Outside of the classroom, Berlin is a fantastic historical site! We went on a walking tour of the city that emphasized Berlin’s central position in the politics of the twentieth century – from the events of World War Two to the fall of the wall at the end of the Cold War. As a group, we visited Potsdam, site of the Potsdam Conference as well as impressive palaces!
We were also lucky enough to visit several important museums on our own time, like the Holocaust Museum. Students explored different neighborhoods and sampled a wide range of foods, from the expected, like sauerkraut, all the way to the wonderful Turkish foods that have taken root in Berlin.
SPEA in Berlin was the ultimate experiential learning course. I visited a completely new place and took advantage of opportunities that I could have never experienced by simply visiting on my own. I would highly recommend SPEA Abroad courses to all!