Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Letter from Munich

Emily Noel at Neuschwanstein

Hallo, Grüss Gott, and greetings from München! I hear that as I am enjoying a wonderful rain free fall UPS is flooding, good ol’ Tacoma. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Emily Noel, I am a junior IPE major, and am studying abroad in Munich, Germany this year. Even though I have only been here a little over two months it has already been the greatest experience of my life, and one that I value not only for myself but for my education as well. Becoming a part of a different culture is such an enriching experience, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who gets the change. Reading about places in a book or even visiting them as a tourist doesn’t even begin to compare to learning the language in local cafes and living with people of that culture.

I’m studying in Munich through the Lewis and Clark Year in Munich program so I am able to take a few courses geared towards non-native speakers. However, I am also able to take courses at Ludwig Maximilians University here in Munich. Even though some of these classes challenge my language abilities, two in particular are very topical to IPE.

The first is Comprehensive Economic Geography (Allgemein Wirtschafts Geographie) which discusses the effect that a region’s geography has on its economics. So far we have just reviewed the history of the discipline and are getting ready to move to European regional economics.

The second class is an absolutely amazing approach to teaching International Relations and is called International Relations at the Movies (and in English, an added bonus). Throughout the course we will watch several movies and use the movies to understand different theories of international relations. For example we watched Fight Club and discussed gender theory, and Lord of the Flies and discussed how it portrayed Realism/Neo-Realism. I find it to be a really enjoyable, effective, and interactive way to learn about theories that don’t really come to life in a text book. Since you are using more senses, movies are able to engage you more thoroughly in learning, making concepts and theories easier to learn and remember. This class is not only fun but really well put together so that we are able to not only learn the theories but learn how to apply them to situations and explain foreign policy decisions with the theories. So far it is definitely one of my favorite classes.

Another really great thing about the program is our living situation. I live in a very typical dorm situation, but it’s amazing because hardly anyone in my building is from the same country! My neighbor is Czech, the guy across the hall is Romanian, there are Russians, Chinese, French, Germans, Bulgarians, and just about any other country you can think of. It’s like there is little microcosm of the world in one house, it’s really quite the intercultural experience. That’s all from Munich, hope you are all staying dry as much as possible and enjoying all the amazing programs IPE is doing this semester (I get the e-mails and almost wish I was there, and then I remember I’m in Munich!)! Hack, Hack, Chop, Chop, Go Loggers Go! Auf Wiedersehen!

~Emily Noel
Class of ‘08

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