Political opportunity in Paris, application deadline approaching

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Bob Downing / Akron Beacon Journal / MCT

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France, is described as one of the largest museums and the most-visited museum in the world.

WEST CAMPUS – Politically minded Valencia students have a chance to explore the “city of lights” and beyond in the summer of 2013.

Students who wish to enroll in International Politics while experiencing the local flavor can choose to travel to France and Belgium for nine days this year. This short-term study abroad trip will begin in Paris and will terminate in Brussels, exploring Strasbourg and points between.

“This is my first time leading a study abroad course, so I am excited to really get this up and running more than anything,” said trip adviser Professor Scott Creamer. He can be found teaching political science at Valencia’s Osceola campus.

Activities will range from walking tours to group activities and lectures. Be prepared for total immersion: much time will be spent on foot and utilizing local transit.

“This course is certainly not geared just to the student interested in politics.  The course will offer a look at much more than that,” said Creamer. “Students can expect to indulge in the art, food, and music of France and Belgium as part of the cultural experience.

“My program offers students a first-hand experience in European culture, politics, economics, and even values.”

According to Valencia’s information page, “Students will study government in Europe, the operation of international organizations, the practice of international law, the outcomes of regional cooperation (especially economically), and diplomacy by experiencing them firsthand.”

According to Creamer, “ Students interested in politics will definitely have a robust political experience as they will consider effects on political decisions that may not have before, while those political ‘novices’ will experience politics for the first time in a fun and engaging manner.

“Who knows, they may become ‘politicos’ themselves after the experience.”

All activities are mandatory, and according to the itinerary provided by Valencia, the trip will be preceded by orientations and requisite assignments beginning as early as February.

Valencia’s program guide defines the benefits of the International Politics (INR 2002) course: “students should acquire a basic understanding of the nation-state system, power relationships, the balance of power, and of political and economic relations among nations so that they will be more aware and informed as world citizens.”

The course itself is worth three credit hours. Requirements for the program include a minimum GPA of 2.5 at the time of application and students must be above 18 years of age.

“My program benefits students especially interested in fulfilling social science/humanities requirements as part of their general education requirements,” said Creamer. “It is a three-credit section of International Politics that serves the same purpose as either the face-to-face or online version.”

The trip does come with a price tag, though financial aid may shoulder the weight for eligible students, according to Valencia.

Creamer believes that the benefit of the trip will extend beyond simple immersion in local politics. Students should take credit hours as a welcome bonus to the unforgettable experience that international travel provides.

“I participated in a study abroad course when I was an undergraduate student, so I am excited to help students experience what I did and its positive influence on my education,” said Creamer.

“I hope students get what I got out of my study abroad experience – something they’ll never forget and something that changes their perspective on what they see and hear around them regularly.”

Application deadline for the France and Belgium trip is Feb. 1, 2013. For more information, visit http://valenciacollege.edu/international/studyabroad/students/FranceandBelgium.cfm