Here are five reasons I love being a global studies major at the University of Illinois:
1. Interdisciplinary major
One of the primary reasons I chose to major in global studies was the flexibility it allowed me to have when choosing my courses. Not only could I take courses in sociology, political science, and economics, but I could also go beyond my comfort zone and enroll in anthropology, linguistics, and physics courses that would all count towards my major.
The interdisciplinary aspect of the major has truly granted me the ability to develop a wide array of skills and knowledge surrounding multiple subjects, and I now have a relationship with professors from across the College of Liberal Arts & Science that I would have lacked had I pursued a different major.
2. Study abroad
Global studies is the only major in LAS that has a built-in requirement for students to study abroad for at least one semester during their college careers. Studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, for the Diplomatic Program was one of the most rewarding experiences during my time at Illinois, and if I had not been required to explore my interests halfway across the world, I may not have met my lifelong friends, strengthened my career interests, or developed my language skills further.
3. Focus on language acquisition and development
As a global studies major, there is a language component where students are encouraged to choose a language that corresponds to their region of interest and to develop their skills through taking consistent courses in foreign languages. As an American-Lebanese citizen who had previous experience with French, I was able to focus on improving my French to reach a level of proficiency that would enable me to work in the Middle East and north Africa, where French is still prevalently spoken among citizens and government officials.
4. Intercultural peers
Meeting students in the global studies department is always a personal cause for celebration, as I enjoy learning about people’s reasons for majoring in GS and about their varied backgrounds. I have met so many fascinating individuals, many of whom I consider to be my closest friends, and many of whom I have established a bond with through our love for international relations, cultures around the world, and our desire for adventure. I truly believe that my global studies major has exposed me to a wide variety of people who each have offered a perspective on a certain global issue that I may never have considered.
5. Global careers
Once I graduate with my global studies major, I am confident that my job prospects will be spread across the globe, and not confined to Illinois, or even the United States as a whole. Because of the interdisciplinary focus and the study abroad component, the major has prepared me to work, conduct research, study, and develop my identity overseas. I have become more exposed to the opportunities that I can pursue overseas once I graduate, and I am excited for my professional career to take off due to the wonderful advisors, professors, and mentors affiliated with global studies.