Off-campus Study

Should I study abroad?

The Politics Department generally encourages students to study abroad to broaden their experience and gain new perspectives on their studies here at Bates. Many students have found study abroad to be a transformative experience. It is very important, though, that the experience abroad be an integral part of your academic course of study, that it build in some way on courses and material studied before your junior year, and that it inform your educational choices in some way upon your return.

Study abroad is not for everyone, however. If there is no compelling academic interest to study on a particular program, the quality of the courses here at Bates are usually higher. For those who want an extended experience abroad, but may not be interested in academic pursuits, there are also some programs that offer employment and internship opportunities abroad. While you may not receive credit for such programs, they often offer students a more intense and enriching cultural experience than some study abroad programs. Do research them carefully, though.


How do I decide which program is right for me?

The Off-Campus Study Office has a list of programs, reviews from previous participants, and general advice for choosing among them. You should also set up an appointment with someone at that office to discuss your options. You should also speak to your Politics adviser for general advice.

In general, you should choose a program that offers educational opportunities (either academic or experiential) that are important to you, but that you cannot find at Bates. All things being equal, you should choose a program that would allow you to learn or improve your skills in another language. Alternatively, a program might offer subject matter that would be difficult to find elsewhere: a student interested in social policy, for example, might find study in Denmark or Sweden highly interesting; a student interested in environmental activism might find a program in Thailand useful. Your reason for picking a particular program may not be confined to your interest in politics: a student with a longstanding interest in renaissance art might find a semester in Italy interesting. It is useful even in these cases, however, that you take at least some coursework prior to your study abroad that would help you understand better what you experience abroad.


Should I go for a year or for a semester?

The experience of studying abroad for a year is very different from that of studying one semester. If you seriously want to improve your language capabilities, if you really want to know the country you are visiting, you should consider seriously studying abroad the entire year. Of course, there are costs in terms of your coursework here at Bates, so please plan accordingly.


How many courses taken abroad can I count towards the Politics major?

Subject to departmental approval, students may receive credit for a maximum of two relevant off-campus courses.


Can the courses I take abroad count for my major concentration?
No.

Can a course taken abroad count as my 300-level seminar?
No.

Can I take a course abroad that would substitute for PLTC s49, Political Inquiry?
Absolutely not.


Can Politics courses taken in Bates Fall Semester Abroad( FSA) programs count toward the major?

These courses count just as if they were taken at Bates.  Students who participate in a Bates FSA Program with a faculty member from the Politics Department generally receive one 200-level credit in the concentrations designated by the faculty member.


How do I apply for study abroad?

You apply through the Off-Campus Study office in Lane Hall. They will give you the necessary forms. You must declare your major before the applications will be accepted. As part of this process, therefore, you must consult both with your adviser and with the department chair. It would be better to speak to a professor in politics before you have selected a program, though, just so you have a better idea of what to look for. Also, it would save time if you fill these forms out in their entirety, including the four-year course plan, before making an appointment for the department chair’s signature.


How do I get approval for credit for my courses?

You receive final approval only after you return. Before you go, however, you should consult with the chair or your adviser on the types of courses you think you will take. When abroad, make sure you keep the syllabus or at least a course description for approval when you return. After you return, you must submit one of these documents to the chair along with a short essay describing how the course relates to your studies at Bates. Also, remember that you may receive credit towards the major only if you have also received credit from the study abroad office.


What if I really want an experience abroad, but it doesn’t really fit into my academic course of study?

There are several ways to have an experience abroad without sacrificing a semester’s study here at Bates. Sometimes, these other experiences may give you more insight into the life and culture of a particular place than would a study abroad program. You might consider, for example, various grants that Bates makes available to students for summer projects at home and abroad. There are also programs designed to help you find employment or an internship outside the United States.