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International Studies

Name: Jenna Maurer

Year: Class of 2015

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Major: International Studies

Buffet of Classes and Experiences: Try them all!

When I was a naive high school student, I thought that International Studies would be a good major for me because I enjoyed studying languages.  I soon learned that International Studies is amazing not because you study a language but because it is an interdisciplinary major.  This means that you get to study a variety of subjects including language, economics, political science, and history.  Not only do you get to take classes in many different departments but you can choose any concentration you want in IS.  I am personally pursuing a concentration in Environmental Studies and am able to take classes that can be used as distribution credit and used towards this concentration.

If you get a chance take a class with Professor Deudney, he is great! I took a class called Republicanism and loved it.  He is a really good lecturer and if you have friends in the class and work in study groups before the exams to fill out the study guide it is really helpful.  He has some extreme views that really make you think and has written some awesome books.  I would also encourage Freshman to take freshman seminars that could give you history credits or other credits as well.  As you matriculate past these freshmen seminars and continue to pursue International Studies you will realize all of the great things you could do with your life.

Studying for Republicanism Midterm

Studying for Republicanism Midterm

The people I know who are majoring in IS have a variety of aspirations.  Personally I would like to do something with business.  My minor is Entrepreneurship and Management and I had a great internship this past summer working within Corporate Strategy for a company called SAP.  I am also a part of the professional business fraternity on campus, Alpha Kappa Psi, and there are many other International Studies majors in this group who also have a wide range of interests and goals.  Those studying International Studies at Hopkins want to do things anywhere from becoming a diplomat to working for a non-profit organization to working at a large bank.

I would love to work in business and would love to work abroad for a few years.  As I write this blog, I am actually sitting in my homestay in Barcelona where I am studying for the semester.  Almost all of my friends studying International Studies have gone abroad or plan to go abroad during their junior or senior year.  Although my experience has just started, I can already begin to feel my language skills in Spanish getting better.  Therefore, I apologize if my English skills are getting worse and this entry is making no sense.

My host mom, another student in my homestay, and I on La Dia de Independcia

My host mom, another student in my homestay, and I on La Dia de Independcia

International Studies gives you a broad education that allows you to pursue just about anything.  I suggest studying abroad for any amount of time to really get immersed in another culture, meet some awesome people, and see the beautiful sights.  I also suggest just getting involved with anything that interests you and IS will provide you with an amazing base to get involved in just about anything.

View from the metro stop near the CIEE Study Center

View from the metro stop near the CIEE Study Center

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International Studies

Name: Esther Bell

Year: Class of 2009

Hometown: Cranston, RI

Major: International Studies

I lucked into the international studies program at Hopkins. I had done my college search completely wrong, going mostly on name and very little on actual quality of the departments and programs I wanted to study. So it was only by chance that I ended up in one of the best international relations programs in the country.

International Studies is the largest major at Johns Hopkins University. We have even more kids than Biomedical Engineering thus proving that Hopkins is so much more than a science school. IS is an interdisciplinary major. We don’t have a department we are actually just a program run out of the political science department. The classes are a mix from political science, language,N46001701_30824280_2834 history, and economics. There are lots of political science students who drop IS because they hate Econ or don’t want to study a language. The point of the major is to have a wide range of classes that give a broad based education.

I’ve taken so many classes for my major just want to highlight one I took for each subject an IS major studies.

Economics- International Monetary Economic- I took this class to fulfill the econ requirement but it was one of the most practical classes I ever took. We studied money over time and what monetary policies work and what do not. The professor only taught one class at Hopkins and worked full time at the International Monetary Fund. He was involved with bailing out Mexico in the 90s and would go from the classroom to the real world. This class has definitely prepared me better for understanding the current economic crisis.

French- Anything with Kristen Cook-Gailloud. I basically found one French professor who I loved and then took every class she offered. My favorites were the upper level classes which dealt with modern French culture and the news. Professor Cook-Gailloud was so enthusiastic about teaching us and correcting our grammar. She was a wonderful professor!

History- London in the 20th Century- I took this upper level history class on a whim. It sounded cool to spend a whole semester studying one city. It turned out to be one of the most difficult and interesting classes I took at Hopkins. Professor Walkowitz was so intelligent and had published on many of the topics we discussed in the class. She incorporated films and music into the class. This was a great way to fulfill my history requirement because it was a topic that really interested me.

Political Science- The Political Theory of Gender and Sexuality- I held off on taking a political theory class (one of the major requirements) until my senior year. I knew people who had taken the intro political theory class and they scared me off. I was initially hesitant to take this class DSC02007 because I wasn’t interested in political theory and I also had a misguided impression of feminism (largely stemming from reports of bra burning). It was one of the best classes I’ve taken at Hopkins. Professor Chambers was an intelligent teacher who genuinely cared that we learned the material. I liked the class so much that I decided to take another political theory class in my final semester.

Not every International Studies major studies abroad but a lot of them do. We recently got a new study abroad adviser for the study abroad office. Dr. Citti was a great help to me when I was abroad in Switzerland. I wanted to move into a higher French class than those that my program offered. Dr. Citti made a few phones calls and I got what I wanted. You can study abroad all over the world and I think it is an important experience for an Is major. My roommate, who is also an IS major, did the Hopkins program in conjunction with Sciences-Po. He spent a full year enrolled in an elite French university. It was a wonderful experience and let him begin to truly understand French culture.

Sciences-Po and School for Advanced International Studies (the Hopkins International studies grad school in DC) both offer five year masters programs. It’s three years at Hopkins undergradDSC01975 and then two more years at either Sciences-Po or SAIS. In five years you get a masters and a BA. These programs are a great resource to International Studies students who want to get a jump start on their masters.

I’ve always wondered what IS students do after they graduate. It’s such a broad degree that you are really prepared to do anything. IS teaches you how to think. Over my time at Hopkins I’ve spoken with a few graduated IS majors. They’ve done everything from marketing computer games to going to International relations graduate school to marketing Bacardi internationally. International Studies helps one to craft an international viewpoint that is useful in many jobs.

After almost four years at Hopkins it is time for me to think about finding my way in the real world. I’m still not sure of what I want to do but I am sure that I will be doing something related to international affairs. After four years of learning about the world I know I want to go out and explore it. Hopkins has given me a basic skill set to understand the world and now I want to try it out.

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Click here to access more information about the International Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the International Studies question thread.

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International Studies

Name: Michael Arnst

Year: Class of 2010

Hometown: Chaska, Minnesota

Major: International Studies and German Literature

Hopkins seeks out highly motivated and independent learners, students who want to conduct their own research and make breakthrough discoveries before finishing their undergraduate degree. It comes as no surprise, then, that one of the three most popular majors is International Studies. The International Studies major, or IS in Hopkins shorthand, is tailored to each individual’s interest in order for them to make the most of their four years at Homewood.

HPIM1258 Coming from a small Midwestern town made me want to see the world, and when I was accepted to Hopkins I knew that my independent streak and my desire for worldliness would be satiated by the IS program. What allows students to tailor the IS major to their interests is the major’s lack of a “core curriculum”. Aside from intro courses to macro- and microeconomics, as well as one introductory course to international relations theory, I was able to pick the rest of my courses from the political science, history, economics and language departments. I really feel that I have a very broad base of knowledge because of this freedom of course choice, and without it, I would not have had the opportunity to work with both influential historians and engaged political science professors.

I have always been fascinated by the African continent, so when I came to Hopkins, I started taking Kiswahili. Very few universities offer any African languages, so this was a rare opportunity for me to engage with African culture while in the States. Because of the enthusiasm of my Kiswahili teachers and African history professors, I decided to study abroad in Africa.

GP_stad_07 And that is why I am currently writing this blog from my dorm at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana. Study abroad is not mandatory for IS majors, but it enriches your studies with hands-on interaction with other cultures and peoples. JHU offers its own study abroad programs in China, Germany, Spain, and Italy, and has a new and improved policy allowing students with financial aid to take advantage of other study abroad programs.

But with only one year left at Hopkins once I return from Botswana, the question I’ve been mulling over is the same one my forgetful grandma keeps asking me: “What are you going to do with that?” The that referring to my IR degree. My standard answer is two-fold: “I don’t know” and “Anything”.

Anything. It’s true. While I’m not sure where I’ll be in a year’s time, I know that I’m ready to be in Brazil or DC, Bangkok or Dublin. In other words, as an IS major, it’s all up to YOU. Just as only you can prevent forest fires, only you can decide where Hopkins’ world-class International Studies major will take you.

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Click here to access more information about the International Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the International Studies question thread.

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