What is International Studies?


If you’re confused about the difference between politics, international relations, and international studies, you’re not alone.

So what is the International Studies Program?

“International Studies examines how governments, law, politics, and businesses relate on the international stage.”
[The official Glendon International Studies program webpage]

“International studies is an increasingly common major… [what] unites all these programs is that they try to interpret major global trends…”
[Introduction to International and Global Studies, Shawn Smallman]

It’s hard to pin down what the international studies program is about specifically, because it is a multidisciplinary degree. In other words, it combines many different disciplines including political science, economics, and history. This is an advantage, because it allows the student to cultivate a “big picture” understanding of the world. In international studies, a wide range of topics are covered like globalization, peace/security, human rights, and culture.

Why Glendon?

Taking the international studies degree program at Glendon offers some pretty nifty perks.

1. Second (or Third) Language Education + A More Immersive Experience
First and foremost, Glendon gives you the opportunity to develop a second language, regardless of what level of ability you’re at (the last time I studied French was grade 9). Knowing a second language sets you apart in the working world, and is particularly useful if you want to pursue a career in diplomacy, development, or anything else abroad. I realized this when I worked at an international development organization this summer. Many of the people working there were speaking French! Language skills also make your degree practical, improving your job prospects, and likely raising your pay in the long run. Plus, bilingualism opens a lot of doors on a personal level (e.g. it will enable you to speak to that very attractive French guy/girl! I kid, I kid…)

Other advantages: Glendon offers courses in Spanish, has an excellent language certificate program, and runs a Salon Francophone where students can go to practice their French skills with other students.

[Read more about the iBA]

2. Summer Internships
York University offers amazing summer internships with $2000 bursaries every year to dozens of students. Two of my friends have already applied and gone to Costa Rica and the Congo. York has dozens of international exchange opportunities as well.

3. The Opportunity to Make Your Degree International
Glendon offers different variations of the international studies major. One way to customize your degree is to make it international, by taking higher level language courses, and going on exchange to another part of the world during the year. Doing this kind of specialization is another way to add depth to your degree.

Why I decided to study international studies.

Put simply,
I love the world and I want to understand it, so that I can do something to change it for the better.

More complicatedly…
More than ever, the local is tied to the global. The ethnic composition of my community has been influenced by international migration push/pull factors. The coffee that I drink represents complex trade flows and workers’ rights. My human rights are dictated by national and international levels.

In this increasingly globalized world, ignorance is not an option!

I wanted to study something that would give me the understanding I need to live as a globally aware citizen. It’s a plus that international studies will help me pursue a career in diplomacy, policy-making, development work, or law.

If you think you might be interested in international studies, there are a couple things that you might want to do next.
1. Check out the international studies webpage (or scour the internet for more info).
2. Chat with me via twitter, blog comment, or formspring. If you’re interested in the iBA, check out eAmbassador Drew, who’s getting his in political science!
3. Sit in on an actual university lecture at Glendon through our Shadow Program. This is a great experience regardless of what major is interesting you, because it will give you first-hand experience with the university lecture. Find more info about this here.

So those are the basics.

If you have any more questions or something needing clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


3 thoughts on “What is International Studies?

  1. Definitely.Here's a link to the kickin' York International Internship Program (4 months, long, comes with bursary, work placement, amazing options). http://international.yorku.ca/internships/indexYIIP.htmI think that YIIP offers about 40 positions every year. The application process is competitive, and applications are due in early January. Most of the students accepted into the program are in their third year of their undergrad, although sometimes they make exceptions for mature students.Our Career Centre (here: http://www.yorku.ca/careers/onlinesystem/) is also a reeeeaaaally excellent way to find jobs/opportunities/internships online. Once you get your student number you'll be able to log into the system and search the database. There's tonnes of stuff.

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