International Studies

Program Overview

 

Mission Statement:

The International Studies Program provides students with a broad, interdisciplinary training in the theories, methods and practice of the political, socio-cultural, and economic global affairs. It prepares students to engage in critical thinking, policymaking and analysis, and ethically grounded action.  The program invites students of all traditions to a maturing of self-knowledge and respect for the dignity of themselves and others.  It calls for a commitment to socially responsible behavior encompassing a devotion to peace and justice, addressing poverty, and a passion for truth, reflection, and lifelong learning as part of the global community. To learn about our Learning Outcomes, please click here.  

About the International Studies Program:

Please follow the exciting activities of our students, alumni and faculty on our Tumblr blog by clicking on the "Global Stags Blog" link above, or join our Global Stags Facebook page!  

‌Through a wide range of courses, the program aims to heighten global awareness while addressing conflicts stemming from gender, race, nationality, class, environment and development. In collaboration with the College of Arts & Sciences and the Dolan School of Business, International Studies is offered as both a ‌‌‌major and minor.

cas_intl_students_6‌‌International Studies requirements include foundational coursework in geography, international relations, economics, and‌ sociology/anthropology. Students also take five electives that often meet requirements for a dual-major or minor in disciplines from both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Dolan School of Business. Most electives also satisfy general core requirements for our majors.

‌‌Our program offers faculty with diverse international research experiences. Our faculty bring expertise cas_intl_students_2from an array of discplines ‌within the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Business fields. You can find ‌faculty with expertise in countries that span the world, including  Brazil,  China,  Guatemala,  Jamaica,  Morocco, and Russia.‌    

‌‌‌‌We require our majors and minors to have at least one experiential learning activity that could include an internship, a semester or summer abroad, or participation in a service learning project. The majority of our majors and minors usually opt to enhance their ‌language and cross cultural skills through a study abroad experience.  Our new Global Scholars Program offers students summer international internship opportunities beginning Summer 2017.  

cas_intl_students_3Our students graduate with the skills necessary for a successful career in public service, education, business, law and nonprofit ‌services, as well as the background to pursue a range of graduate programs. During the academic year, we organize events that give our students ample ‌opportunities to meet successful alumni and other regional employers through roundtable lunches and evening presentations. ‌‌ We have a thriving Model United Nations Club that meets regularly, hosts a high school event on campus, and travels to one or two conferences per semester. Students are welcome to join the International Business/International Studies Club on OrgSync for networking and career development opportunities.  Finally, the Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship gives students an opportunity to publish their work, or to become an editor of this widely viewed publication.  

Have questions? Contact Dr. David Crawford, Director of the International Studies Program, or Anita Deeg-Carlin, Associate Director of the International Studies program. 

Requirements

Students majoring in International Studies begin with foundational coursework in international relations, economics, geography, and sociology/anthropology, and complete their degree requirements with a senior capstone research project. To prepare for this, they develop their own specialization drawing on courses in the thematic areas of Global Development; Conflict, Diplomacy and Peace Building; and Humanitarianism and Social Justice. The challenges and perils that face the global community are multifaceted and complex. Students acquire different sets of knowledge, skills and values that deal with the complexities facing local and global communities.

Complementary Studies and International Opportunities

Students complement their International Studies major with coursework in related departments like Politics, Economics, Sociology and Anthropology, History or Modern Languages, and in the Dolan School of Business. Many students also pursue related interdisciplinary programs, such as Environmental Studies, Women's Studies, Peace and Justice, Humanitarian Action, and area studies programs with which International Studies works especially close - Asian Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Russian and East European Studies

The International Studies Program reinforces multidimensional learning with real-world experience through language studies, service learning, Model United Nations, the Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship, internships, and study abroad opportunities, and through work with our faculty in research projects. Therefore students are expected to engage in one or more of these forms of experiential learning.

 

Graduation with Honors in International Studies

Fairfield University has a campus chapter of Sigma Iota Rho, the national honor society for international studies. Students must have attained a junior standing and completed at least twenty-one hours of course work toward the International Studies/Business major, and nine hours towards the International Studies minor. Students with an overall GPA of 3.3 or greater and a GPA of 3.4 or higher in their International Studies/Business major, International Studies minor are nominated for membership.

 

Requirements

International Studies Major

For a major in International Studies through the College of Arts and Sciences, students:

  1. Complete the following foundational courses in the major:
    • IL 50: People, Places and Global Issues
    • IL 51: International Relations: Theories and Challenges
    • IL 52: Culture and Political Economy
    • IL 53: Introduction to Economics (or EC 11 and EC 12, as required for International Business majors)
    • IL 300: Senior Capstone Seminar
  2. Complete 15 credits of electives selected from any three thematic areas to develop a specialization in International Studies. These electives may be taken any time during the student's undergraduate studies, though students may wish to spread these courses over their junior and senior year. Students in study abroad may take approved courses to satisfy these electives. However, students are encouraged to complete IL 50, 51, 52, and 53 in their Freshman and Sophomore years, as described below. Students may also complete 15 credits of electives through a self-designed study, with approval of the director.

 

Suggested Course of Study

Freshman Year

  • IL 50

Sophomore Year

  • IL 50 (if remaining)
  • IL 51
  • IL 52
  • IL 53 (usually offered in the Fall Semester)

Junior Year

  • IL 51, 52, or 53 (if any remain)
  • Choose 5 electives from the thematic areas

Senior Year

  • Complete any remaining electives from the thematic areas 
  • IL 300: Capstone

International Studies Minor

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a six-course, 18 credit minor in International Studies consisting of:

  • IL 50: People, Places and Global Issues
  • IL 51: International Relations: Theories and Challenges
  • IL 52: Culture and Political Economy
  • IL 53: Introduction to Economics (or EC 11 and EC 12)
  • Two electives from the thematic areas

 

Course Offerings

See International Studies course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

Foundational Courses

  • IL 50: People, Places and Global Issues
  • IL 51: International Relations: Theories and Challenges (cross-listed with PO 130)
  • IL 52: Culture and Political Economy (cross-listed with AY 52)
  • IL 53: Introduction to Economics
  • IL 300: Capstone

 

Electives

Global Development 

  • AY 130 Cultures of Africa
  • AY 152 Islamic Societies and Cultures
  • AY 190 North African Society and Culture
  • AY 200 Anthropology Research Methods
  • CO 241 Communication & Culture: East & West
  • EC 230 Comparative Economic Systems
  • EC 231 International Trade
  • EC 233 International Economic Policy and Finance
  • EC 235 Economic Development of Third World Nations
  • FI 200 Global Capital Markets
  • FI 240 International Finance
  • HI 284 20th Century Russia
  • HI 285 Modern China: 1800 to Present
  • HI 289 Modern Latin America, 1800 to Present
  • HI 366 Gender, Cultures, and Representation: Women in China and Japan
  • IL 280 Global Leadership for Research and Project Development
  • IL 298 Internship
  • IL 299 Independent Studies
  • IS 350 International Information Systems
  • MG 350 International Law
  • MG 390 Cross Management: Non-Western Business Cultures
  • MK 312 Global Marketing
  • PO 131 International Environmental Policy
  • PO 134 Globalization: Who Rules the World?
  • PO 253 Latin American Politics
  • PO 144 Middle Eastern Politics
  • PO 149 Third World: Common Fate? Common Bond?
  • SO 188 Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Society
  • SO 190 Globalization
  • SO 191 Social Change in Developing Nations

Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace Building 

  • AE 293 Ethics of War and Peace
  • AE 393 Seminar on War, Peace, and Public Policy
  • AY 200 Anthropology Research Methods
  • CO 240 Intercultural Communication
  • HI 251 The American Century? U.S. Foreign Relations since 1900
  • HI 265 The History of the Indian Subcontinent: Colonialism, Nationalism and Democracy, c. 1857-today
  • HI 273 Cultural and Historical Aspects of Post-Communist Transition
  • HI 274 Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Global Crises
  • IL 197 UN Security Council Simulation
  • IL 280 Global Leadership for Research and Project Development
  • IL 298 Internship
  • IL 299 Independent Study
  • MG 360 Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
  • PH 263 The Concept of Human Rights
  • PO 276 U.S. Foreign Policy
  • PO 135 Introduction to International Law
  • PO 136 Gender, War, and Peace
  • PO 137 Threats to Global Security in the 21st Century
  • PO 140 Islam and Muslim Politics
  • PO 141 African Politics
  • PO 147 Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace
  • PO 148 Political Violence
  • SO 189 Sociology of Europe

Humanitarianism and Social Justice 

  • AY 163 Culture and Inequality
  • AY 168 Women and Men: The Anthropology of Gender
  • AY 180 International Research Practicum
  • AY 200 Anthropology Research Methods
  • EC 120 Environmental Economics
  • HI 270 History of Global and Humanitarian Action
  • IL 150 International Operations of Non-Profits
  • IL 152 International Human Rights
  • IL 280 Global Leadership for Research and Project Development
  • IL 298 Internship
  • IL 299 Independent Study
  • LAC 300 Justice and the Developing World
  • MG 370 Managing Nonprofit Organizations
  • MG 385 Managing People for Global Business
  • PH 263 The Concept of Human Rights
  • PO 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PO 115 Introduction to Peace and Justice
  • PO 129 Politics of Humanitarian Action
  • PO 138 Border Politics
  • RS 235 Liberation Theology
  • SO 185 International Migration and Refugees

Faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the passionate members of our International Studies Department.

Internships

We encourage all of our majors to have at least one internship that complements their interests in international studies or international business. Internships provide students with practical skills and the beginning of a professional network, both of which are essential to a successful transition to employment. By registering for IL 298, students can earn up to 3 credit hours for their internships, and count the experience toward an applied elective.  To register, please fill out the agreement form and the enrollment form and return them to Associate Director Anita Deeg-Carlin at adeeg-carlin@fairfield.edu.  For more information on the requirements of the course, please see our IL 298 syllabus.  Summer interns will receive a summer syllabus. Students are required to have a minimum GPA of 2.8 in order to enroll in an internship.  

 

For information about Summer International Internships, please see our new Global Scholars Program website.

Our students (generally during their junior or senior years) have taken internship opportunities with a variety of employers in the non-profit sector, private sector, and with local goverment. 
Below are examples of recent internship placements: intl_scheetz_intern

 

Americares - Stamford, CT‌

‌Americares is an international non-profit relief and humanitarian aid organization. This semester, one of our students is working with program managers to support operations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. 

 

BRAC USA - Manhattan, NY

As the largest development organization in the world, BRAC reaches over 135 million people in 11 countries. BRAC is recognized for its expertise in scaling up programs rapidly and effectively and for its innovative approach to tackling seemingly intractable problems. BRAC USA was formed in 2006 with the dual mandate of raising funds for BRAC programs and building the profile of BRAC in the United States and Canada. BRAC USA has directly raised $100 million and facilitated an additional $300 million for BRAC entities.

 

Estimize - Manhattan, NY

Estimize is the first crowdsourced financial estimates platform.  By crowdsourcing data from buy-side, sell-side and independent research analysts, alongside industry experts and academics, Estimize data is able to better represent the true expectations of the market. Required skills are financial literacy, strong writing and research skills, proficiency in Excel, and self motivation!

 

IICONN - Bridgeport, CT

The International Institute for Connecticut is a statewide nonprofit organization that assists refugees and immigrants resolve legal, economic, linguistic and social barriers so that they become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community. Interns help with the Refugee Resettlement and Employment and the Survivors of Torture Programs.  

 

Tauck - Norwalk, CT

Tauck operates and guides exclusive travel tours all over the world. Our students have worked in a variety of offices at Tauck. This semester, one of our majors is working with their tour management division, supporting efforts to help tour directors provide safe, quality progams for participants.‌‌

 

WWE - Norwalk, CTintl_ohallaron_intern

The WWE is a global sport-entertainment company. This semester one of our students is supporting their internatioanl marketing and social media efforts in markets across the globe.  

 

Youth Assembly at the UN - Greenwich, CT

The Youth Assembly at the United Nations is a unique platform created to foster dialogue and generate partnerships between exceptional youth, UN high officials and staff, private sector, and civil society. 

 

Other internship opportunities

For more information about our internship program, please contact:

Anita Deeg-Carlin
Associate Director, International Studies Program
Donnarumma Hall Room 251
(203) 254-4000, ext. 2865
E-mail: adeeg-carlin@fairfield.edu

Alumni Spotlight

International Studies/International Business graduates pursue careers in a myriad of international-related career options with private and non-profit/public sector employers. Our program also has an outstanding record of Fulbright awards for students to conduct research abroad after they graduate from Fairfield. Students have also pursued graduate degrees at leading institutions.

Career Placements: Americorps, Catholic Relief Services, Clinton Global Initiative, General Electric, Save the Children, & Teach for America
Graduate School/scholarships: Brooklyn Law School, Quinnipiac University School of Law, St. John's Law School, Suffolk University Law School, University of Connecticut MPA 

Alumni Profiles

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Emma Cannon

'14

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Undergrad Degree: International Studies and Spanish with a focus on Latin America
Hometown: Georgetown, MA
Extracurricular Activities: Jesuit University Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) Fellow, Fairfield Volunteer Corps (FVC) Co-leader, Service Learning Associate, City of Bridgeport Department of Sustainability Intern, AmeriCares Latin American Department Intern
Post-graduation: Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala 

Tell us about your experience as a member of the Peace Corps

As a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, I work in support of a national project called the Healthy Schools Project. The goal of the project is to improve basic health and hygiene in primary school students in rural Guatemala. As a volunteer under this project, I work in a school district for the superintendent of its rural primary schools. Within the schools, I work to train and support teaching in creating a healthy physical and psychosocial school environment for the students. Improvements to the physical environment can include hand-washing sinks, proper trash disposal, planting schools gardens, health corners in classrooms with personal hygiene items for each student, etc. Psychosocial improvements can include talks and activities with kids on topics such as self esteem, goal setting, etc. I also train teachers in a teaching format called 4MAT as a means to teaching health topics in a dynamic and interesting way that appeals to a number of different learning styles. Finally, within the schools I also work on the strengthening of relationships with outside groups and institutions such as parent associations, local government, and NGOs. 

Outside of the schools, I am also working to help set up a Healthy Schools project infrastructure that will endure beyond my service. This includes a municipal Healthy Schools committee, as well as a departmental level Healthy Schools committee. In conjunction with the National Healthy Schools committee, these committees will be a means of support for schools. Actors of the committees come from different ministries (health, education, food security, agriculture, etc.), NGOs, and other groups that can support the schools in the development, expansion, and sustainability of the project.

And of course, as with all Peace Corps volunteers, a big part of my work is community integration and building relationships of trust and understanding. By living in the community that I work in, I am able to do so. As a volunteer, I also work to learn about Guatemalan culture and society with the goal of sharing my knowledge with friends, family, and others back in the United States. I also work to share US culture and promote a great understanding of it among the Guatemalan people.

 

Describe the ways that the university’s Jesuit mission and identity had a positive influence in your academic and personal experience while at Fairfield.

Fairfield University’s Jesuit mission and identity were not initially what appealed to me about Fairfield. Instead, it was something that I internalized over my four years as a student. As a Magis scholar, ‘magis’ meaning, ‘more,’ I was often reminded that more was expected of me- academically, in my extracurricular activities, and in how I chose to conduct my Fairfield experience. Shortly after becoming a student, I came to find that I no longer needed the external reminder, because I had come to set that bar for myself. I took service learning courses, became involved in volunteering in Bridgeport, and became a member of the humanitarian action group JUHAN, through which I learned about the complex humanitarian crises of our world today and the small but important impact we could create as a group on the Fairfield campus. In sum, I believe that the influence that the Jesuit mission and identity had on my college experience led me to work hard and constantly strive for more. It led me to think of the impact my decisions have on others and the impact that I can have on others through conscious decision-making. It is that last part that led me to Peace Corps.

 

When you were at Fairfield, what attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

I found it helpful that my professors constantly challenged me and expected excellent work from me. Whether it was a paper, a test, or a presentation, I always felt that my professors would not accept mediocre work from me. We all need an extra push sometimes when it comes to doing our best work, and I always felt that my professors were there to give me that extra nudge. At the same time, I also felt that they trusted me, and that they often treated me as a peer. I was able to build personal relationships with them, seek advice from them, and even spend time with them outside of the classroom or during the summer. As a senior in college deciding on my next step, they were there for far more than letters of recommendation. I felt that they were invested in helping me to achieve success and finding work that I am passionate about. My Fairfield professors have been mentors, resources, cheerleaders, and friends. And now, graduated from Fairfield and living abroad, I still communicate with a number of them and know that I can always reach out for advice and support. 

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Katelyn Riconda

'12

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Major: International Studies and Sociology (Double Major)
Graduate degree: MPA, Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, NYU - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Current hometown: Brewster, NY
Name of employer: NYU Wagner – Research Center for Leadership in Action
Job title & brief description of duties: Research Fellow, A Ford Foundation Freedom of Expression Grant. The initiative is designed to highlight the roles religious communities and their leaders play in American political life and to equip a new generation of religious leaders to constructively promote greater civil discourse and pluralist democratic values.

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

One of the main reasons I chose Fairfield University was because of the Fairfield community’s dedication to service. Some of my favorite moments and memories at Fairfield are from my volunteer and internship opportunities. I was fortunate to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in Bridgeport, CT and the Malta House in Norwalk, CT, a center for domestically abused women, and intern with the CT Quest For Peace, an organization that provides aid to the poor in Nicaragua. 

Other reasons I chose Fairfield were because of their multi-disciplinary approach to education and small class sizes. Fairfield allowed me to get to know my professors on a first name basis. I was not just a number in a huge seminar style class, which I really appreciated. Even if you are more of a humanities person, and may dread math and science courses, Fairfield provides many options for courses in all subject areas. 

 

How did you select your major? And how did that contribute to your professional/personal life?

I originally began my studies solely as a Sociology major. Prior to declaring a minor in International Studies, I realized that almost all of the classes I was taking, including my electives, could be counted towards a major in International Studies. It wasn’t until halfway through my junior year at Fairfield that I declared my second major in International Studies. Both majors complimented each other. I chose my majors because I am passionate about social justice and human rights. I also believe that adding an international lens to any work and field is important, and was particularly for me in my future career endeavors. 

After college, I worked at Save the Children USA, which is located in Fairfield, CT. In January 2013, I began my Master of Public Administration, Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy with a specialization in International Policy and Management. My degree prepares the next generation of public service professionals, working mainly in government agencies and the nonprofit sector. My major classes, specifically the theoretical foundation I was given in sociological theory and the international experiences of my professors’ and classmates’, prepared me for the coursework in my graduate degree as well as all of the professional opportunities I have had thus far, including the research I have been involved in for the past two years. This past year, I was also able to travel to South Africa to study educational and social reform post-Apartheid and work with an NGO in Uganda to determine which social enterprises are the most valuable to the communities where they work; all which I was prepared for because of my studies and experiences at Fairfield. 

 

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

I don’t have it all figured out, even at the age of 25. As I continue to look for positions in government and the nonprofit sector, I am consistently drawn to positions that involve community outreach and engagement, as well as advocacy and policy work. I am constantly growing and learning every day. I have been fortunate to meet amazing people with inspirational stories that have in turn, inspired me. One of my favorite classes in graduate school was a Community Organizing class that I took. The professor was beyond engaging, got us out of our seats, made us question our choices, empowered us to initiate positive progressive change, and even made me cry from the stories he told. Fortunately, my professor at the time, was looking for a Research Fellow to help him with a Ford Foundation Freedom of Expression Grant he had received. Having grown up Catholic, but considered myself spiritual, not religious, I was intimated, but also intrigued to join his team. Through out my two years on the project, I have learned so incredibly much and have become friends with people I never thought I could have a conversation with (like a Pentecostal Pastor from Tennessee). A life lesson I learned is that if you don’t think you fit a position perfectly, but are intrigued and eager to learn, it’s beneficial to take a chance, you will learn more than you ever expected to. Also, major in a subject area that you are passionate about! I can’t tell you how many times fellow students asked me, “What are you going to do with that degree?” Don’t let that frighten you! There are plenty of opportunities out there. Continue to network and learn where your interests are and what major would lead you to be most happy in your career. 

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Julianne Whittaker

'12

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‌‌Julianne Whittaker '12, an international studies and economics double major, received a Fulbright teaching scholarship to Jordan. Watch the video!

 

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Katie Cincotta

'10

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Degree: International Studies, Minors in Economics, Spanish and English
Current hometown: Alexandria, VA
Name of employer: International Monetary Fund

Job title & brief description of duties:

IDivision Coordinator - My major tasks as a Division Coordinator at the IMF include proofreading and editing papers for internal use and publication, organizing meetings, conferences, seminars, and travel for my supervisors, providing technical support and communications assistance, as well as various other administrative tasks.

 

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

I chose to attend Fairfield because of Fairfield’s esteemed study abroad program. I knew that I wanted to gain an international experience when I was hunting for colleges in high school. I chose Fairfield because I knew of its reputation for study abroad programs and internationally focused internships. At the time I applied there were 3 Fairfield Select programs to choose from: Australia, Italy and Ireland, and I am excited to see that the list has now grown exponentially. 

In addition to study abroad and internship options, I was drawn to Fairfield because of its location—surrounded by numerous cities, such as New Haven, Bridgeport, and nearby Manhattan. I knew that I would be able to find exciting challenges and opportunities in any of these locations; opportunities that I knew I would not be able to find at many other comparable schools. 

 

How did you select your major? And how did that contribute to your professional/personal life?

I selected International Studies as my major because I have always had an interest in foreign cultures and how they interact, particularly in the globalized world that we live in. I was especially propelled toward the subject after my study abroad experience in Brisbane, Australia. In addition to the classes I took abroad, I also had an internship at Amnesty International, where I gained more exposure to the issue of human rights, and had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan and Thailand where I gained exposure to several non-Western cultures. 

Upon returning from abroad, I continued to work with Amnesty International by starting a chapter on campus and was inspired to find my next internship, which ended up being at Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven my senior year. 

Living in DC has also given my opportunities to expand on these experiences. Since moving here 3 years ago, I have interned with several human rights groups in the area, such as the State Department Office for Human Trafficking and DC Stop Modern Slavery. 

The knowledge I gained from my experiences at Fairfield experiences, and those that followed, provides me with a solid foundation for following my current and future career path. 

 

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

II moved to Washington, DC for graduate school in 2011, a year after graduating from Fairfield. From my studies at Fairfield, I knew that I wanted a degree that combined international affairs with communications. I found this mix in my Global Communications program at the George Washington University. 

While in graduate school I also started working at the IMF and I have now been here 3 years. In my job, I am especially inspired by 2 notions. First, I am inspired knowing that my work will have an impact in the world. Second, I am inspired by the diverse colleagues I work with, by the stories they share about their backgrounds, and their ability to work together to work towards common goals. When I first started at the IMF, my division was comprised of 23 people, and I was the only American! Today I work with a few more Americans, but it is still a rarity.

 

How did Fairfield’s Jesuit education (courses, core curriculum, extracurricular, internships, research, community, service learning, etc.) prepare you for your future?

The core curriculum and service learning aspects of the Jesuit education at Fairfield have had strong impacts on me. Through the core curriculum, I took many classes that I would not have otherwise. The knowledge I gained in many of these classes has been useful in various situations, including even in daily conversation. For example, many of my friends work in education, and because of my ethics in education class at Fairfield I am able to contribute to their education-focused conversations. Through that class I learned more about education, particularly in the US, than I would have been exposed to otherwise. 

Through the service learning opportunities at Fairfield, I was able to participate in Hunger Cleanup, Habitat for Humanity, and at several ESOL school in the area (pre-school and GED level). My experiences at each of these locations showed me in different ways the impact I could have in just one day, or just a few hours a week. Because of these experiences I continue to participate in other volunteer opportunities that inspire me.  

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Aamina Awan

'07

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Degree: International Studies and Politics, Minor in Spanish; Master’s of Science degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Gender and International Development
Current hometown: New York, NY
Name of employer: UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Job title & brief description of duties: Global Youth Engagement Lead, HeForShe Initiative 

In my current role at UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, I lead all global youth engagement initiatives for the HeForShe Initiative in the Office of the Under-Secretary and Executive Director. HeForShe is a solidarity movement that was created by UN Women to provide a systematic approach and targeted platform where a global audience can engage and become change agents for the achievement of gender equality in our lifetime. HeForShe was launched on September 20th, 2014, at the United Nations by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson.

Specifically, I serve as the key focal point for HeForShe youth supporters from more than 65 countries around the world, and provide guidance and information-sharing with 28 UN Women multi-country and country offices, which has resulted in the creation of more than 250 HeForShe Student Club Associations on university and high school campuses worldwide since the campaign’s launch in 2014. 

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

I attended an informational day where I met current students of the International Studies Department and the then Director of the Department. I was fascinated by the students I met and felt drawn to not only the program, but also towards the campus and school. Due to the fact I attended Catholic school for the majority of my primary and secondary education, I felt Fairfield University fit into the service-learning/giving back to the community ideals I was looking for. 

How/why did you select your major/minor? And how did that contribute to your professional/personal life?

I’ve always been interested in diverse cultures, languages and experiences. That curiosity led me to study abroad my junior year at Fairfield in Granada, Spain. Once I got the international travel bug, I haven’t looked back yet! I was fortunate to have received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Bahrain after graduating from Fairfield in 2007. Once I completed my fellowship in Bahrain, I pursued my Master’s in London and then found myself in Madrid, Spain, working for the U.S. Embassy in Public Affairs. All of my personal and professional choices have been fueled by curiosity and the openness to learn and be challenged. 

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

After working in the private sector for a couple of years, I felt compelled to do more in my role. I started researching nonprofits and their various mission statements and the Clinton Foundation stood out to me for that specific reason: they have a mission that we do fulfill. It’s not just talk! 

I am inspired by the people I serve in my work: youth worldwide. I am also inspired by the people I work with. 

How did Fairfield’s Jesuit education (courses, core curriculum, extracurricular, internships, research, community, service learning, etc.) prepare you for your future?

I see Fairfield’s Jesuit education as an extension to the groundwork that was already set before I stepped foot on Fairfield’s campus. Although I am an observant Muslim, my parents chose to educate me in a Catholic setting for the majority of my formative years. Community and service learning were areas I felt passionate about before I even received my first Fairfield brochure! Once I stepped on campus and met current students, I knew Fairfield was the place for me. I knew I found my ‘home’ for the next four years and beyond. 

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Nicole Davidow

'15

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Name:  Nicole Davidow '15
Undergrad Degree: International Studies and Philosophy, minor in Catholic Studies  
Hometown: Southington, CT
Extracurricular Activities: JUHAN, Students for Social Justice, Eucharistic Minister, Women’s Basketball Manager, Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassador

 

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

I chose to attend Fairfield University because I wanted the experience of a Jesuit education. While in the process of considering my options for continuing my education I was intrigued by the way in which Fairfield appealed to my academic, social, and spiritual interests. Ultimately, I decided on Fairfield because I felt that it would be the best environment to challenge and support me through further personal and professional development. 

 

How/why did you select your major/minor?

Deciding to become an International Studies major was something I put a lot of thought into. Being undeclared going into sophomore year was liberating, but also challenging. I had always been really passionate about service and justice, and so when it came to choosing a major I really wanted something that would honor what truly mattered to me. The curriculum and concentrations offered within the International Studies program have definitely enabled me to pursue my career goals in a way that complements my interests well. Looking back as a senior, I realize that a background in International Studies facilitates an interdisciplinary education which has provided me with an essential foundation of understanding that can be applied to a variety of professional fields. 

 

Describe a project done through the program that you are particularly proud of.

I am currently enrolled in my International Studies Senior Capstone course and although I have yet to complete my project, it has been striking to me to see how much progress I have made within the program since I started with the foundation courses my freshman year. Before taking my first Internationally Studies focused courses, I had never been exposed to an international material other than what I saw in the news and the generic history classes I took in high school. Theory, especially through an international perspective, was completely foreign to me. However, now as I prepare for what will come of my Senior Capstone project, I am proud at the confidence and passion I have in formulating my argument and engaging others in a topic of great interest to me. 

 

What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

One of the best qualities regarding the faculty that fall under the International Studies program is that they are all so diverse. Not only are the faculty as inter-disciplinary as the courses offered, but they also come from a variety of different research fields and backgrounds which truly compliments the needs and questions of the students. In addition, I have always found the faculty to be both intellectually challenging and constructively supportive. I find it helpful and encouraging that the faculty is passionate about what they teach while also being invested in the success and development of the students. 

 

Describe a favorite course and how it helped your academic growth

One of my favorite courses has been "Culture and Political Economy," taught by Professor Crawford. I think it sticks out in my mind especially because of the way in which it involved actively applying the theory we were reading about to more contemporary case studies. This created a really interesting learning dynamic and stimulating class discussions. Overall, I think this course helped me academically in terms of developing my critical thinking skills. The texts could be challenging or complex at times, but as a result of this course and subsequent course work, I have a greater confidence in the way that I approach material, and therefore I am more self-sufficient in terms of being able to comprehend complicated material and draw conclusions on my own. 

 

Describe the ways that the University’s Jesuit mission and identity had a positive influence in your academic and personal experience.

The Jesuit mission has been central to my Fairfield experience. On an academic level, the Jesuit mission not only exposed me to a variety of disciplines, but it did so in a way that engaged me and met me where I was at. The Jesuit mission did more than just put me in contact with material I wouldn’t typically encounter, it also opened my eyes to the way in which I am affected by or have an effect on the world around me. On a personal level, the Jesuit mission enhanced my experience at Fairfield by providing me with the opportunity to immerse myself in a community that encourages individuals to see their future as a vocation. As a result, my experience has been about growth and development while allowing myself to continue to pursue my own interests and passions. 

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Ashley Toombs

'07

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Degree: BA from Fairfield with double majors in International Studies and Spanish, and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Current Hometown: New York, New York
Name of Employer: BRAC USA
Job Title: Senior Program Associate
BRAC is a poverty alleviation and international development organization that was founded in Bangladesh in the ‘70’s and has since expanded to 12 countries in Asia and Africa. BRAC USA was founded in 2006 to support the larger organization with technical assistance, fundraising, and public education. In my role, I am doing a combination of all three goals, with a larger focus on fundraising and technical assistance.

Tell us about your experience as a member of Peace Corps:

As a Community-Based Environmental Management Volunteer, I lived in a rural community in the northern Peruvian desert, and my main project areas were environmental education, solid waste, and natural resource management. I also worked with community leaders and volunteers to develop a library and computer center, teach financial education classes, start an international marathon, and run youth camps. However, my fondest memories are from interactions with my host family, colleagues, and community members. After two years of fieldwork, I moved to Lima as a Volunteer Coordinator, where I worked with the Peruvian Environmental Ministry and Peace Corps Volunteers to develop and implement projects with host families, park guards, and other community leaders in schools, municipalities, and national parks. Some projects that I managed received national recognition and, incredibly, I was invited to speak at the inaugural Peruvian Environmental Education Convention, as well as engagements at the U.S. Embassy.

 

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

The majority of my international development and environmental work has been in Latin America, but after finishing grad school, I was looking to explore other parts of the world. At BRAC USA, I am learning of the small and big differences—including cultural, religious, political, and linguistic diversity—that impact my ability to understand the success or failure of projects, much of which I learned in my International Studies classes at Fairfield, like Justice and the Developing World, with Dina Franceschi and Winston Tellis. It’s a multifaceted world—the ability to use an environmental lens to contribute, grow, and learn is my biggest challenge and greatest desire for helping the organization achieves its mission of poverty alleviation.

In addition, the larger BRAC organization is completing a 2016-2020 Strategic Vision, and climate change has been identified as a key area. Because BRAC is such a huge organization that is already working with millions of people who are and will be disproportionately affected by climate change, this is a tremendous opportunity. I could not imagine feeling much more inspired! 

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Events Calendar

Learn more about the educational and inspirational events being offered by the International Studies Department.

Student Spotlight

Camille Giacovas

Camille Giacovas

 

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Name: Camille Giacovas
Undergrad Degree: International Studies Major 
Hometown: Westchester, New York
Extracurricular Activities: Coordinator for Fairfield University’s Refugee Youth Mentoring Program, Pre-Law Society, Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship, JUHAN, Bryant Schools Pencil Pal, Alpha Mu Gamma

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

Throughout my college search, I always wanted a small to medium-sized liberal arts college with access to NYC for internships, as well as a strong faculty and core curriculum. I also knew that I wanted a school that would allow me to explore my interests beyond the classroom through study abroad, extracurriculars, research opportunities and community service. Fairfield was simply the perfect match.

 

How/why did you select your major/minor?

I selected International Studies as my major because of its interdisciplinary nature, which has effectively allowed me to take a broad range of classes in politics, economics, sociology and anthropology. By doing so, I have been able to tailor my classes to my interests which have always been globally focused. I am fascinated by the complex connections between countries, communities and individuals across the world.

 

Describe a project or an activity that you have been involved with through the program that you are particularly proud of

I am proud to be the Coordinator for Fairfield University’s Refugee Youth Mentoring Program. I took on this responsibility after taking African Politics for an elective in the International Studies major. Every week, we welcome 30 middle and high school aged refugee students through the International Institute of Connecticut to campus for homework help, college prep guidance and fun games and activities with 40 Fairfield student volunteers. It has been wonderful to see this program grow into a University-wide initiative.

 

What attributes regarding the faculty do you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

I love the enthusiasm and wisdom of the International Studies faculty. Each professor has a unique background and story of their own global journey that has led them to Fairfield University -- and all of them are incredible. They are not only enthusiastic about their own area of study, but also of the projects, ambitions and ideas of their students.

 

Describe a favorite course and how it helped your academic growth

I can honestly say I do not have a favorite course because every course I have taken in the IL program has contributed to both my academic and personal growth as a student and young adult. That is the beauty of being an IL major - each class, from the foundational courses to the electives, are designed to fulfill a holistic approach that organically transforms into a specific area of interest based on the student. On top of that, the activities, speakers and panel discussions the IL department organizes throughout the year make being an IL major the most rewarding experience. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of!

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Student Resources

Academic Information

Summer International Internships

Please see our Global Scholars Program website for more information about this exciting new program.

Scholarships and Fellowships

For useful information on scholarships and fellowships related to global learning, please see this site.

For information regarding grants and fellowships for graduate students, please see: Fellowship Finder →

Professional Associations and Organizations

The following international institutions and organizations are relevant to the field of International Studies

Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Studies Association (ISA)

United Nations (UN)

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

The World Bank Group

Student Learning Outcomes

Goal 1: Develop written communication skills

Objectives:

  1. Summarize key points in scholarly articles
  2. Apply theories to support primary claim in a paper
  3. Apply empirical evidence to support a particular point of view

 

Goal 2: Develop critical thinking skills

Objectives:

  1. Analyze issues or events in countries or regions
  2. Draw from theories and concepts to produce original analysis
  3. Critically evaluate multiple perspectives

Goal 3: Develop knowledge of key concepts

Objectives:

  1. Articulate the basic concepts and theories of economics
  2. Summarize international relations theories
  3. Identify classic social theories

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of career might I have with an International Studies major?

From careers in multinational organizations to non-profit and government institutions, a degree in International Studies prepares students for a multitude of careers. Check out our alumni spotlight to see how some of our graduates have applied their degrees.

 

What are some relevant internships I could do?

Our students have participated in internships with companies like UBS and Sikorsky Aircraft, among many others. Our list of internship opportunities can give you a look at what exciting opportunities your International Studies degree can bring.

 

Where do International Studies students typically study abroad?

We encourage International Studies students to try something new! There are a wide variety of opportunities, including

 

When should I take the IL foundational courses? Should I take them in sequence?

You do not have to take them in sequence, but you must have completed all of them before enrolling in the IL 300 capstone course. Since you are required to take these courses on campus, we recommend you take them as early as you can to accommodate study abroad opportunities. Additionally, these courses will introduce you to many new regions and topics that may be of interest to you. Identifying those interests early will help you plan the rest of your academic pathway.

 

When should I take the capstone?

You can take the capstone during the fall or spring semester of your senior year, as long as the prerequisite foundational courses have been completed. We recommend limiting your schedule to one capstone per semester, if possible, if you have a double major or minor that also requires a capstone.

 

What are some examples of capstone topics?

  • Terrorism in the Global Economy
  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • The Darfur Crisis
  • Water Scarcity in Jordan
  • Civil Society in Latin America
  • Building China’s Intellectual Property Regime
  • North African Assimilation in France
  • Democracy in Albania

 

What if I want to double major?

Many International Studies students double major or add minors. Common complementary majors include, but are not limited to Foreign Languages, Communication, Politics, Economics, and Environmental Studies.

 

What is an Individually Designed Major in International Studies?

An Individually Designed Major allows students to build an academic program dedicated to their desired career path. This means International Studies students can tailor their education to their unique interests with the help of faculty advisors. Visit the program overview page to learn more about Individually Designed Majors, classes offered and program requirements.

 

What are some common complementary minors to the International Studies major?

 

What scholarships opportunities are available for International Studies majors?

A host of international and national scholarship opportunities are available and can be found on our scholarships page.

 

What do International Studies alumni typically do after graduation?

  • Start a career in public service
  • Attend Graduate school in an international affairs field
  • Attend Business School
  • Attend Law School
  • Work for a global non-profit
  • Teach abroad
  • Volunteer

 

What should I be doing during my Freshman year?

Freshman year is a time to explore all of the fantastic programs and opportunities Fairfield has to offer its International Studies students. From taking part in Model UN to working with your faculty advisor to plan your next three years, students have a world of resources at their disposal. Learn more by visiting our Classroom to Career page.

 

What should I be doing during my Sophomore year?

While meeting with your faculty advisor is still a must, students can also begin seeking out and planning for internships in their Sophomore year. To check internship eligibility requirements, visit our Classroom to Career page.

 

What should I be doing during my Junior year?

Junior year marks the halfway point in your college journey, and that means planning for life after Fairfield. Juniors are encouraged to apply for internships and even start considering graduate school options, all of which are outlined on our Classroom to Career page.

 

What should I be doing during my Senior year?

Seniors in the International Studies program have the world at their feet. Whether seeking more internship opportunities or applying for Fulbright scholarships, seniors have a host of options to pursue in their final year at Fairfield, all of which are detailed on our Classroom to Career page.

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