Internships, classes show new side of capital

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September 4, 2009

3:04 AM

For students interested in learning more about the politics behind why their wallet is so empty these days or for those just trying to get a handle on the political and economic future for the global community, the W&M in Washington Program’s spring semester topic — “International Politics in Economic Hard Times” — has you covered.

“Although all of our topics are interesting and relatable, the topic of ‘International Relations in Economic Hard Times’ in particular stands out because it is so incredibly relevant to the climate of today’s world,” said Program Assistant Katherine McCown.

Previous significant topics such as “War, Memory and the Holocaust,” “Post-Conflict State Building” and “Religion and the Federal State” have benefited the participants’ studies and broadened their outlooks on the world. As with past topics, students will take a historical perspective of “International Politics in Economic Hard Times.”

“Our aim will be to understand the origins, processes and consequences of international economic, especially financial, crises from comparative historical perspectives,” T.J. Cheng, the professor running this spring’s program, states in his class description online.

However, a highly relevant topic like this gives students an advantage that accompanies the studies of the past: the opportunity to witness first hand history in the making.

A chance to witness history as it is occurring can easily become a chance to partake in history. That’s what draws in many participating students who are offered summer or full-time jobs at their internships.

“What distinguishes this particular topic is that students will have the chance to work with individuals who are responsible for shaping American and global economic and financial policies,” McCown said.

This spring, students will receive a unique experience that was unavailable to past participants. The Washington Program will allow students to earn the same 12 to 14 credits while interning.

“While it is possible to understand the current financial crisis from a classroom, the W&M in Washington Program offers students the chance to access speakers, resources and networking opportunities which are simply unmatched,” McCown said.

The program, launched in fall 2006, lets students earn credits as full-time students while living and working in Washington, D.C. Run out of the College of William and Mary’s Washington office, the program is expected to attract a diverse group of students from varying majors and will consist of two separate parts — classes and an internship — that are both related to the semester’s theme.

“During the day, we had our internship. Then at night on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we had class,” said Katie Loughnane ’10, who participated in the program last semester. “We didn’t work Friday; we just had class. That day we went on field trips.”

Loughnane pointed out that for students like herself who plan on working in Washington, D.C. after graduation, the opportunity the Washington Program offers is perfect.

“If you think you’re going to go to D.C., go! Why not try it and see what you want to do with the rest of your life? For me it was a no-brainer,” she said.

An information session on the program will be held Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in Tidewater A of the Sadler Center. Interested students can apply online at www.wm.edu/wmindc no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21.

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