WWS is very supportive of study abroad and each year offers several of its task forces in cities around the world. WWS partners with a specific university in each city, making both applying to the programs and, upon a student's return, credit transfer very easy processes. Students only study abroad for one semester, as the department prefers that students write at least one of their JPs at Princeton.
WWS study abroad has really made a difference to students. Unlike other departments, the Woodrow Wilson School offers several of its own programs abroad each year. The students take courses at the host university and also take a task force, the seminars in which they do their junior independent work. This year the seminars will be offered in Oxford, Paris, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Istanbul and Havana, as well as an additional location in the middle east. Students study an important policy issue relevant to the country or region in which they are studying. We appreciate getting to see many of the things we learned in the task force classes firsthand. A student in Cape Town, for example, said that he learned “why exactly it has been so difficult to effectively deal with…the plethora of problems that South Africa still struggles with after apartheid. My emotions were a strange flux of frustration and hope of the kind that I have never experienced before coming to South Africa.”
The task force experience abroad can vary:
- One student who studied abroad in Oxford had a task force of eleven students with an Oxford professor who also brought other well-respected academics from Europe for guest lectures. However, the task force experience differed from task forces at Princeton in that they did not have a "senior commissioner" to guide or write the final report. Instead, the task force elected two (or in her case three) leaders to step into the role that the senior commissioner traditionally fills.
- Another student, the lone WWS student that year studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, wrote a JP rather than participating in a task force; although she felt it was much more difficult at the time, in retrospectshe felt it prepared her better for the independent research she did on her thesis. It also meant that she had more freedom in choosing what to write about.
- A third student’s Cairo experience fell somewhere in between the first two. There were only four WWS students there but they were joined by three Egyptian students. The topic was broad enough that it still allowed them to pursue whatever they wanted but there were enough of them to give the full give-and-take experience that occurs in a normal-sized task force like in Oxford or Princeton. Going abroad was a vital part of her WWS and Princeton experience because it gave her first-hand knowledge of the topic at hand and let her not only get down and dirty in the streets of Cairo but also meet the people who were working most directly on the subject. It's one thing to study something in Princeton and something very different to live it in Egypt.
WWS is very supportive of international experiences in other respects, particularly in terms of thesis research funding.
On the internship side, there are many summer opportunities for Woody Woo students. Many WWS students work in D.C. at the Department of State, agencies like USAID, and various policy-related think tanks. The WWS department offers summer internship funding for policy-related summer internship work.
One student spent his entire summer out of the US traveling around Asia. Thanks to some contacts of his professors, he was able to work with Creative Commons in Taiwan and learn about copyright, traveling to Seoul, Hong Kong, and Shanghai in the process. During part of that time he was able to talk with officials in the Hong Kong government about proposed copyright reform and discuss the different policies they were considering. All of this was done with some funding and support from professors in the department, and enabled him to get an early start on his thesis by spending the summer figuring out what topic was a good fit with his interests and the current needs of policymakers in other countries.