- When do you reccomend that students begin searching for co-op opportunities? Has it been beneficial to start early, or wait until the one-credit co-op class?
- Based on what you’ve seen in searching for post-collegiate jobs, what are the top qualifications and skills that employers are looking for? What makes a resume jump out the most to potential employers?
- What are your reccomendations for students considering a double or combined major? Have you found that its benefical to career readiness and preparation? Are there benefits from choosing certain majors over others?
My name is Zachary Kranc and I am a student in your international affairs class. I recently received a grade on my last assignment that was lower than I had expected. I was hoping that we could meet and discuss some of the errors that I made. I really enjoy this class, and I am very passionate about achieving success in the classroom. Please let me know when it is most convenient for you to meet with me and help me to review my mistakes. I would really appreciate your help and guidance so that I can do better on upcoming assignments. Please let me know if there is any information or further details I can provide to you. Thank you for your help and understanding.
My name is Zachary Kranc and I was a student in your international affairs class. I really enjoyed the material of the lectures and discussion that occurred within the classroom. I fondly recall working on a presentation related to human rights and a commodity as well as a group project for global environmental sustainably. Recently I decided to pursue a law degree in international human rights. I would greatly appreciate a letter of recommendation from you as I continue my pursuit of knowledge in this interesting and pressing field of study.
I have always been passionate about human rights and social justice, which I believe is a characteristic we share in common. My ultimate goal is help millions of people around the world to ensure their liberties and freedoms are protected. Please let me know if you are able to provide me with this letter of recommendation. Also, please tell me if you need any further information from me at this point in time. Thank you for your support.
1.What opportunities at Northeastern related to the International Affairs major do you most regret not using?
2.Based on your academic and co-op experiences, do you feel prepared to work in the field of international affairs, and do you feel that Northeastern has provided you with adequate resources and opportunities to be successful in your career?
3.Based on your experiences, do you find that having a double major or minors is a necessity to be competitive within the field of international affairs?
Since the time I was in the 8th grade I’ve always had an interest in law, especially international law. Although I am only a freshman, my ultimate goal is to receive a degree in law and work on international human rights cases. Boston is a great city for students like me who are interested in law school. Harvard, Suffolk, Northeastern, Boston University, and Boston College all have law schools which give JD degrees. With such a plethora of notable schools in the area, it will be exciting to visit them and view the amenities that they offer and the unique programs that will help me grow as an aspiring lawyer. However, based on everything I’ve seen thus far, the most appealing law school for me is Harvard. The top-notch education and the opportunities that are available to students following graduation are innumerous. Also, this law school has a known International Human Rights Clinic, which I hope will be my area of specialization. As the clinic explains in its description, there is training in human rights law for both affected communities and individual cases. I prefer to work with larger communities because I find that it can affect and promote the most positive change for the greatest amount of people. Also, beyond the academic classes that the law school provides, there are also programs in which students can intern or work on various projects in the realm of human rights. Harvard Law School is consecutively ranked in the top five best law schools in the country on an annual basis. The rigor and excellence of the classes at Harvard Law School are among the best in the world. Having a law degree, especially from Harvard Law School, leads to copious opportunities within the field of law. A degree in law interests me because of the wide variety of opportunities in helping people globally. I have always been passionate about service and activism for those who are less fortunate than me. Working with people and helping to draft larger policies are both interesting to me as a career. While a bachelor’s degree in international affairs might be valuable, having a degree in law can lead to new experiences and careers. It can provide me with the opportunity to continue concentrating in the area of international affairs while also having a stronger relationship with the laws and policies that affect millions of people around the world. There are many faculty members from this esteemed university that I would enjoy working with. One professor is Dr. Susan Farbstein. Based on the profile for her website it says, “Susan Farbstein is a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic. Her current work focuses on Southern Africa; economic, social, and cultural rights (in particular the right to education); transitional justice; litigation under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act; and community lawyering. She is an expert on South Africa, having worked on a variety of human rights and transitional justice issues in that country for fifteen years.” To me these are very interesting and pressing issues that I find relate to my personal aspirations within the field of law. Her prominent work has influenced the world and taken positive strides towards ensuring more peace and justice for everyone, which is similar to my aspirations. Another professor who I would enjoy working with is Noah Feldman. He has worked extensively on law and religion, especially regarding Israel and Judaism. I find this to be an interesting area of study based on my cultural, religious, and ethnic background. Other notable professors of interest at the law school include Professor Naz Modirzadeh, Rebecca Richman Cohen, I. Glenn Cohen, and Yochi Benkler. All of these notable faculty have years of experience in the field of law and would be exceptional mentions and teachers in the areas which I deem most interesting and relevant to my goals as a lawyer.
Another degree that I find to be interesting is a PhD. While this is an advanced degree that I have considered much less than a law degree, a doctoral degree is an interesting option in my academic career. PhD degrees are offered by Northeastern University, Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University, Boston University, Brandeis University, and Suffolk University in certain areas and fields of study. However, one school that peaks my interest the most in pursuing this degree is Tufts University. At the Fletcher School of International Affairs students have the ability to gain advanced degrees such as a PhD. This school is known for its extensive and outstanding programs in international affairs. To me, going to a university where students have the opportunity to be part of the most knowledgeable and engaged student bodies is a phenomenal chance to advance a career. While I have not thought extensively about obtain this degree, one major career that people pursue after achieving this degree is as a professor. I think it would be an amazing experience teaching students and sharing insight into the field of international affairs. Also, many professors have the chance to complete research and publish works. This is something that entices me. I would enjoy publishing either books or scholarly journals that reflect my knowledge and contributions to a particular area of study, especially human rights. Also, many PhDs work in the public sector of government. I think it would be a unique and meaningful experience to work with government official to enact policies that benefit people within diverse communities around the world. Having a PhD will give me more room with my career choices. Also, having an advanced degree such as a doctorate can help to improve the caliber of the job and the responsibilities for such positions. One faculty member who I would be interested to work with in this school is Professor Karen Jacobsen. She is an associate Professor of International Diplomacy and Director and specializes in Refugees & Forced Migration. Too me, this highlights aspects of law, politics, and human rights that I find most interesting. I would love the opportunity to work with a staff member like professor Jacobsen who has experience and expertise in this area. Working towards a doctorate degree is a challenge and requires hard work and dedication. Yet, I believe that the opportunities that arise by having advanced degrees can be beneficial for career development. Further, they can help students focus in on areas of study that are most meaningful and interesting to them. Thus, advanced degrees, both in law and in doctoral studies, can be valuable and beneficial to career opportunities and future endeavors within an area of study.
For the international affairs related event with the peer mentor group, we attended a conference on Law and Policy. During this event two former Harvard Law School students spoke about their personal experiences in the field of law and the various obstacles and tribulations that can occur in the practice. Personally, I am very interested in attended law school after I finish undergraduate courses. However, the female speaker explained that in many scenarios, top law schools are looking to accept students who have taken time off between undergraduate courses and applying to law school. For me, this was something I had not considered as I had always planned on making a direct transition to law school. The two speakers also spoke in depth about who should be attending law school and who should not. They explained that the field has changed significantly and that the debt for a law degree may not be as valuable as it once was. They suggested that students really analyze the reasons for applying to law school to make sure that they are genuinely serious about the process.
The conversation also led to some interesting conversations about what types of cases lawyers actually will see as they enter into the field. The female speaker explained her love of the first amendment to the United States and her goal to defend this founding principle in her career. She explained that she worked for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she was given the opportunity to defend the first amendment for citizens. She went on to say that one of her first cases as a lawyer involved the hate group the KKK, who was passing out leaflets in Massachusetts and were arrested by police. Despite her strong belief that the KKK represented repulsive and negative principles, she defended the law and the rights that these people had. While many lawyers think that they will have the opportunity to do noble, honest, and impactful work, often times scenarios and circumstances can led to unexpected turns and different realities.
While there was limited focus on international events or relationships between countries and cultures, there was a large focus on the idea that a law degree is not necessarily a vital part of having a job in government, politics, or international policy making. Instead, people who have sincere interests in these fields should make sure to look at the necessary requirements of each job to assess if three more years of schooling are essential for attaining the position. Furthermore, an interesting conversation that resulted from the conversation between the audience and the speakers was that of gender in the law community. The female speaker explained that she felt she often had to work harder than her male counterparts to achieve the same level of success. She also explained the inequality between professors in law. She explained that many more males around the country and around the world are male. This was interesting to find out that there is still a large gap between genders in this profession.
For me, my goal has been to work as an international human rights lawyer and help as many people as possible in this endeavor. However, after listening to the speakers, I have taken a new perspective on the path I need to take to achieve this goal. I know that both high grades and strong LSAT scores are vital to getting into a high-caliber law school. The speakers were helpful in answering questions and being realistic with students. I also thought it was interesting that the speakers said that in many cases it was a bad idea for people to get duel degrees in law and business for example. They advocated that it would be both unnecessary and even adverse for people to get a dual degree because many companies and corporations are suspicious of such motives. While this was never my intention, it is important for me to learn that this is an essential concept to understand and will be helpful as I continue with my future.
In total, this conference was an important and valuable seminar to attend. I learned that it is important to have a genuine interest in law before making both a financial and time commitment to it. While my intention is to continue in my pursuit of a law degree, I am not more aware of the expectations and conditions that are necessary for law school. I hope to continue exploring numerous options within the field. The discussion helped me understand the process and the many tribulations that exist in law. As an international affair major, there are many career options within law degrees being a necessity. I will continue to keep my eyes open, look at all viable career options, and reach out to more people who are willing to share their personal experiences in the area of policy and law.
One student group that I have attended is the interfaith Council. In this setting students from various religious, ethnic, spiritual, and cultural groups can join together to share experiences and stories about peace and cooperation in an era of uncertainty. I first attended this meeting as a board member of Hillel, a Jewish group on campus, representing interfaith and cultural diversity. During this meeting many interesting topics were brought up. One of the most pressing issues was the Muslim Ban, which president Donald Trump has put into action. This order calls for a ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority countries. Northeastern, which accepts students from many of these seven countries is posed with an important decision as it needs to ensure that students and faculty are protected and safe during this time. In this meeting, however, we discussed the importance of the community in creating solutions to these problems. We looked at the collaboration between different faith groups and the necessary actions that need to be taken to support marginalized or oppressed peoples both on campus and around the world. The group further discussed the importance of love and tolerance. A speaker had come to give a presentation at the school a few weeks prior and had advocated that people take a stance of love in order to combat the hateful and discriminatory rhetoric that persists around the country and the globe. During the interfaith council meeting, we looked at group projects such as public protests, campus-wide panels, and other peaceful forms of advocacy.
While the main topics of this meeting revolved around domestic issues and policies, there were also many examples of international causes. Many students who were in attendance were from other countries and were able to share valuable experiences with the rest of the group. One of the members in attendance was from a country within the European Union area. She described the strong negative sentiment that persisted in her country because of the influx of refugees from predominately Muslim nations. She explained that people only saw these refugees, many of whom had suffered long and traumatic experiences trying to gain refuge abroad, as economic and political burdens. She explained that while many of these refugees had hoped that Europe would provide safety and security from their homes in war-stricken and broken communities, they were greeting with strong hostility and neglect once they reached the boarder. For many people this was something we had known about. We understand that the growing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers from Muslim nations mixed with the ongoing threat of international terrorism has proved to be a struggle for millions of people. We talked about ways in which we can change the negative stereotypes that envelop these people and provide support and resources to refugees in our community who feel isolated and alienated from others. The refugee crisis is international in the extent to which people travel to seek asylum and the degree to which it affects people and nations around the world.
The final topic that was discussed at the meeting was the idea of promoting diversity. Northeastern is a very global school with a focus on integrating people from near and far into a unique and cultural diverse environment. However, there are often instances in which groups are marginalized and underrepresented. We talked about collaboration with other student groups on campus to see what ways we could come together as a community to ensure that our environment was open, friendly, and accepting of all people. Along these same lines, the idea of bringing in more professional speakers and experts to talk about issues of tolerance, peace, and collaboration was advocated. Overall, I found this group to be a very positive and progressive example of the affects students can have when they join together and advocate change. I was pleased to see that it was entirely student lead and that all members were treated equally and respectfully. Also, as far as I am aware, there was no board or executive branch by which people were more powerful than others. Instead, everyone’s had fair representation and nobody’s ideas were rejected or suppressed. It was exciting for me, as international affairs major to see that the group was talking about both foreign and domestic issues. Also, I am very passionate about human rights. I saw a strong undertone of human rights discussion with an emphasis on providing resources for refugees, revoking discriminatory policies based on religion, and fighting for all people no matter their background or national identity. This group was a fun and meaningful experience for me. Not only did I have to opportunity to meet new people and engage in rigorous and relevant discussions, I was also able to share my personal opinions and insights despite being a new member to the group. Overall, I found the interfaith council to be a very noble student organization that works to promote peace, tolerance, and acceptance for all students throughout the Northeastern University campus and beyond.
The world around us is a complex network of people, politics, cultures, and ideas that influence our perceptions and understands of those around us. On Sunday, February 26, I attended a conference at the Massachusetts State House named Break the Hate Summit. This conference examined the increased numbers of anti-Semitic and Islamophobia acts both domestically and abroad. As part of this, we were privileged enough to receive part of this presentation from Haim Koren, the former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. Historically, Egypt and Israel have been rival countries. The Sinai War of 1956, the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 all highlight the intense rivalry between the two nations. However, as ambassador Koren was able to explain, there has been new progress that has formed new alliances between these two states with the common denominator of defeat Islamic extremism and protecting respective citizens. Although the conflict between Israel and Egypt emerged as a conflict between both land and religion, the modern leaders of each country have come to understand the importance of collaboration and cooperation in defeating international terrorist threats and providing extensive security information to ensure that terrorism remains away from the region. Ambassador Koren explained that the improving relationship between the Egyptian and Israeli government has done more than decrease security threats; it has also renewed hope for further relationships between Jews and Muslims worldwide. With the increasing presence of terrorist organizations worldwide, many Muslims have received backlash and hardship, especially in the United States and Europe. However, Koren suggested that the coalition between Jews and Muslims in fighting extremism of any form can provide a platform for furthering peace talks and bringing new hope to a long lasting and adverse scenario. Ambassador Koren was strong in his point that he believed both Jews and Muslims share many similar values and noble principles, and the strengthen of relationships between both international governments and diverse groups of people can have positive effects on the global arena and the elimination of intolerance and hate crimes.
Among other topics discussed at this seminar was the growing surge in populism around the world. While the most evident account of this is in the United States with the election of Donald Trump, other nations have experienced similar bouts of populism that have led to the re-emergence of many hate groups. A leading example of this is in Hungary, where Prime Minister Victor Orban has proposed the creation of a wall or fence-like system to stop refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Muslim nations from entering due to the perceived threat of terrorism. Beyond this, Orban has been a strong advocate for maintaining a homogeneous, Christian presence throughout the country. This rhetoric contributes to the Islamophobia that has been increasing worldwide. Instead of looking at the million upon millions of hardworking, virtuous citizens from the Muslim community, Orban and other world leaders have cited fear and security as a reason why Muslims need to be banned from entering the country. However, as one of the keynote speakers addressed, the asylum seekers who are coming to seek asylum and hope are checked in numerous ways for connections to terrorist groups and other possible dangerous connections. It is vital to realize that with such extensive security and scanning, the threat of any form of terrorism or violence against others is infinitesimal. As such, it is important for people globally to separate terrorism from Islam. While many modern terrorist groups do claim Islam as their religion, the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Combatting this growing international prejudice is an important step to bringing international peace and tolerance for others.
The final topic of discussion for this conference revolved around anti-Semitism and Israel. Firstly, the panelists, who represented universities across the Boston area, explained the importance of recognizing that anti-Israel sentiment has the potential to be anti-Semitism in a new form. One of these new ways is the idea that Israel is held to a standard above other nations. The idea that Israel is criticized and scrutinized at a much higher level than other nations is an indication of the anti-Jewish rhetoric that exists, as the panelist explained. Further, there was a long discussion about criticizing Israel’s domestic and foreign policies vs the right for Israel to exist. With the criticism of Israeli policy is not anti-Semitic in nature, the panelists pointed out that claiming Israel has no right to existence is anti-Semitic. Both Jews and Muslims alike discussed ways in which Middle Eastern peace could be reached. Both sides agreed that nations had to accept Israel as a nation, but ensure that all people living within the country had rights. Furthermore, the conversation led to ideas about furthering technology sharing, health care developments, and infrastructural progress to lead to more cooperation and collaboration. The final point that was mentioned, which was also discussed at a prior Northeastern event was the idea of working on environmental issues collaboratively.
In all, the summit explored the international relations between Israel and Egypt and the growing relationship between the two nations. The summit further went on the explain ways in which fighting the growing levels of Islamophobia can be achieved. This was coupled with the discussion of the growing populist presence worldwide and the implications that it could have on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Finally, the conference ended with a discussion of anti-Semitism and the issue regarding Israel. The summit was informative and important. It focused on international problems as well as culture, religion, security, and the environment. This summit was vital to understanding ways in which people can stop the cycles of hate and intolerance that exist. As such, international relations in the Middle East and around the world will continue to be a pressing issue in the near future and in years to come.
One language that I am most interested in learning while at Northeastern University is Spanish. I believe this language is increasingly important not only for international affairs, but also for domestic engagements with citizens and immigrants who speak the language. While I have not declared a concentration for my international affairs major, I have been considering Latin America and Europe with a focus on Spain. As part of this goal of learning Spanish there are many academic resources available to me that will help me in my endeavors. First, there are classes, such as intermediate and advanced Spanish courses that will provide me with tools to become more adept to speak and use the language in a comfortable and effective manner. Beyond this, there are also cultural immersion classes which mix Hispanic culture with elements of language. This is important because it not only adds to the language aspect, but also adds elements of international affairs, politics, and culture to provide further background information on the areas I am interested in studying further.
Beyond the academic classes that are offered by the faculty at Northeastern University, there are also myriad opportunities to learn the language outside of the Boston campus. For example, dialogues and traditional study abroad programs offer opportunities to students interested in cultural growth and increased language proficiency. Looking into the dialogue of civilizations that are offered, there are three particular voyages that offer Spanish language opportunities. The first of these dialogues is called Spanish language and Argentinean and Uruguayan culture, which takes students to several South American nations to explore the culture and history of the unique locations while also giving in-depth Spanish practice and training in an environment of native speakers. Another dialogue with a Spanish language component is titled Spanish language and Peruvian culture, in which students have the opportunity to explore Peru while also learning the language and culture of the people. A final dialogue of civilization that includes language as part of the program is Spanish language and culture in which students travel to Barcelona and Seville to explore the origins of the Spanish language and learn practical and useful knowledge to improve their conversational and comprehension skills. Beyond the dialogues of civilization that exist, there are also traditional study abroad programs in which students can study the Spanish language. Some of these nations include Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, and Spain. These programs similarly provide language classes along with the opportunity to practice the language with native speakers and in realistic settings such as restaurants, stores, business meetings, and asking for directions.
Student groups at Northeastern University are commonplace amongst this large and active student body. One of the groups that may be useful in learning the Spanish language is the Latin American Student Organization. This student group promotes elements of culture, language, and history of Latin America. While there is not a major emphasis placed in the club description, it is very plausible that some of the students come from countries where Spanish is the primary language, which could allow for interactive and engaging conversations with fluent speakers in a safe and open environment. Another student group that seems to place a large emphasis on Spanish language is the Northeastern University Cultural and Language Learning Society (NUCALLS). This student organization explains that “NUCALLS is a student run organization that provides student-taught language classes to the Northeastern community. Our classes are entirely free, and low-commitment. Additionally, we host cultural events and activities throughout the semester.” As such, this would prove to be a valuable tool and resource to continuing learning Spanish at a moderate pace without the pressures of grades or other forms of stresses that can inhibit learning and slow growth and progress in the subject.
Outside of the Northeastern community there are further resources that are available for language help and support. Several online platforms such as Duolingo, Babble, and Rosetta stone provide users with lessons and tools to learn Spanish and become fluent in the language. Furthermore jobs and internships can provide new avenues for students to learn the language and converse with co-workers who are also adept with knowledge of the language. While the university setting provides convenient resources and courses for students, it is important to realize the large number of outside places where languages can be learned. Boston is a city filled with people from many distinct backgrounds and countries from around the world. One fascinating offer that is outside of the university is a program called Boston Area Spanish Exchange. This program provides classes, workshops, and other programs during days, nights, and weekends to help students and adults alike to learn the language to a high level. This resource provides the material as well as people who can converse in the language and can help people to set up meetings with other community members so that they can practice Spanish in a meaningful way. Overall, Northeastern University provides many tools and resources for students like me who aspire to become fluent in the Spanish languages. Classes, dialogues, co-ops, and student groups are all important ways in which language is integrated within the university. However, there are a plethora of resources outside of the university including online websites and Spanish workshops in Boston. Combined, all of these resources are important to the success and growth of students for language development and fluidity.
Being part of the International Relations major, an international study abroad session is a vital part of this major. One of the programs from the study abroad list that sounds interesting and related to my future career aspirations is the opportunity at CIEE at Barcelona, in Barcelona, Spain. While I have yet to fully choose my concentration for my international affairs studies, I have a profound interest in Latin America and Europe. For the past years I have been enrolled in Spanish classes, and I believe it is a valuable and useful language to know. Further, I have already spent a semester abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece, as part of the NU.in. Program. As the Barcelona study abroad program explains, there are opportunities in “advanced liberal arts, liberal arts, architecture and design, business and culture, economics and culture, and language and culture,” which would fit nicely with my major and academic requirements moving forward. There are opportunities to go on this study abroad program in the fall, spring, and first summer session. This is useful as I also need to fit co-ops into my academic schedule. This program will provide me the opportunity to become engaged in a new society, to make new connections, and enhance my studies of international relations by opening my eyes to new perspectives regarding the world and the unique cultures and political elements within.
As with my first international experience in Greece, Spain is also a member of the European Union. I have become very fascinated with the institutions and implementations of this governing and economic body. With new events taking place in Europe, such as Brexit, and the movement towards further integration in former Yugoslavian states and Turkey, Spain is an interesting area to learn about international relations and diplomatic endeavors at their core. I am extremely excited to learn new things and have the opportunity to travel outside of the United States to do so. While I have not yet declared my regional tract, I am very passionate about human rights. Spain, which was under a dictatorship for many years, is an interesting and unique place to learn about human rights violations and the modern system that is place to protect such freedoms. I hope to learn not only about foreign affairs and international policies, but also about the people and the distinct cultures of the area. As I was able to experience in my trip to Greece, the people have different expectations, traditions, and interests than what is common in the United States. I hope to come away with a new understanding so that I become more globally aware and have a deeper global perspective about places that are not yet familiar to me. I also am interested to see how different European Union states differ in their objectives within the political organization. For Greece, economic support and refugee assistance were some of the biggest goals of the nation. I further aspire to better learn the language. I have been taking Spanish classes since the seventh grade, but I still do not feel that my Spanish is strong enough to engage in full conversations with native speakers. As such, I want to use the opportunity for cultural immersion so that I can come back from the country having a stronger grasp on the language. Having the ability to communicate in multiple languages is a very powerful and important tool for the study and usage of international affairs.
While Northeastern provides education in many global experiences, it is always more exciting and meaningful to venture to foreign places and experience the history and affects first-hand. Spain has a very different culture than the United States of America. There are different foods, languages, traditions, and customs that factor into life in this country. One of the big differences is the language difference. While the United States has no official language, English is the most prevalent language spoken. In Spain, Spanish is the language that is spoken by the citizens of the country. While the language barrier is one definite difference between America and Spain, work schedules are also different. In Spain, siesta is a very common practice. Here, workers and students will go to their respective institutions in the morning, return home around noon, and then finish working later in the night. While I am unsure if this study abroad program follows the Spanish work schedule, it is certainly an adjustment to adapt to the schedules of other people and communities. Furthermore, there are cultural differences in food and music that are important to recognize. Eating local food, experiencing the cafes, shows, and festivals of the country are vital to becoming immersed in society. Furthermore, the program occurs in a new city. As I know from Greece, it can take quite a while to get adjusted to where different places are in the community and what times places are open. Also, public transportation can be very challenging. With a different language and unfamiliar stops on the system, it can be adverse in the first few weeks to navigate the region and become familiar with the different places and things nearby. Fortunately, the education system is very similar to that of Northeastern in that the professors are all well trained and are scholars in their fields. However, the sizes of the classes, the style of teacher by the instructor, and the workload may be much different from Northeastern. Overall, the cultural elements of a new location coupled with a global perspective and unlimited opportunities in international affairs make the study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain something that I truly believe will be valuable and significant to my academic and personal goals.
Spain, a country in the Western part of Europe is a nation that I have been interested in for many years. Looking into the characteristics and statistical figures for the country, Spain proves to be a country in the process of growing and is a leading country in various ways. First, looking at the Human Development Index and Rank, Spain has an HDI of .876 and a rank of 26 in the world out of 176 countries. Looking into the economics of the country, Spain experienced an estimated real GDP growth percentage of 3.1% in the year 2016. Furthermore, Spain has an adolescent fertility rate 8.311/1000 ages 15-19, which has been declining due to increases in birth control advances and education. Although Spain is a member of the European Union, there are currently no official armed forces besides NATO working on behalf of the member states. As such, national militaries are still important parts of European countries. In the year 2014, Military expenditure totaled 5.72% of central government expenditure. Spain, which has been considered a developed nation for many years, has 100% drinking water access for the population in both rural and urban environments. In terms of the labor differences within the country, the labor force participation rate of women 15 years or older is 52.5% of population, whereas men 15 years or older make up 65.8% of the working population. Another economic and developmental indicator is the Corruption Perceptions Index Rank and Score. For Spain, the perception number is 58 with an accompanying ranking of 41/176 countries. Spain is most known for its verbal language of Castilian Spanish, which is the official language of the country. However, other languages include Catalan, which is spoken in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community. Further, Galician, Basque and Aranese are common native languages throughout the country. French and English are not native to the country, but are common second languages for many citizens. The dress code in Spain is very similar to that of the United States of America. For less formal jobs, smart casual clothing including jeans are often acceptable in the workplace. However, for more professional industries such as law, business, and medicine, suits and ties are common more men while suits and dresses are commonplace for females. Spanish formality is much like that of many nations around the world. Handshakes are commonplace for business transactions. Spain’s working conditions are very safe and are regulated by the European Union to ensure safety regulations and good working conditions are available to workers. In all, Spain is a country that is very industrialized and has health and safety for its citizens. While the 2008 global recession had huge effects on the country, Spain has been rebounding and is once again on and upwards path towards economic and competitiveness.