Study Abroad

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

–African Proverb

Internationalize your degree by taking an economics course abroad. Studying abroad is a unique and life changing academic opportunity, in which students engage in experiential and intercultural learning. The Department of Economics has created opportunities for students to study abroad through an economic lens. Students may take this course, ECON 346, more than once provided the specific country/region is not duplicated. We offer J-Term and Spring Semester economics courses in Australia, Botswana, China, and Northern Ireland.  

For more information on study abroad programs and how to apply contact the University of St. Thomas International Education website for Study Abroad.

January 2019

This J-Term course studies the development of the Australian economy over the past 200 years while examining the connections between its economic institutions and broader Australian culture. The course discusses not only economic conditions and policies across time but also the country's history, its politics, and its culture. Through lectures, guest speakers, and site visits we compare and contrast Australia with both the United States as well as its geographical neighbors with whom it has deep economic ties.

The topics covered include the recent performance of the Australian economy and its position in the global marketplace, the parliamentary system, aboriginal land rights, differences between U.S. and Australian economic policies, the impact of Australia's unique founding as a penal colony on its economic and cultural development, and the importance of Southeast Asia to its economic performance. By the end of the course, students will be able to describe not only the state of the economy but also explain and understand unique Australian cultural phenomena such as "cutting down the tall poppy."

We hope that this course helps you to:

Understand Economic Issues/Policies

In particular, we will analyze Australia's economic performance, the role played by the government in the economy, stresses on the economy due to globalization, and the status of different groups within Australia.

Learn General Facts About Australian Politics, History & Culture

Specifically, we hope that you can describe important events in Australia's history (its founding as a penal colony, its move toward independence, its role in international affairs, and the move toward a republic status), the functioning of a parliamentary system and the specific issues that are currently under discussion in the political arena, and cultural attitudes (toward competition and teamwork, egalitarianism, and minority groups) and how they are either similar to or different from those in the U.S.

Think More Deeply About Diverse Peoples & Cultures

This course meets the human diversity component of the core curriculum through a variety of activities and topics. The overarching goal is to help you better understand cultural differences between and within nations, as well as your own cultural values and attitudes. This course seeks to do this in the breadth of its coverage across Australian v. American differences, as well as differences across racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines. By the end of the course, you will more fully comprehend how social values and attitudes can be formed by economic, historical and other experiences, and how our understanding of economic outcomes, conditions, and policies can in turn be enhanced by deeper examination of these cultural and identity differences.  

Econ 346 (Cross Listed as BIOL 398)

This J-Term course introduces students to the unique country of Botswana and explores the country’s challenges of poverty, growth, education, health and environmental sustainability through both a biological and economic lens.  Botswana’s history is rich in both economic success (due to diamond discovery) and public health crisis (HIV/AIDS epidemic). At the same time, ecological, environmental, cultural and ethnic issues challenge the country.  The goal of the course is to gain an understanding of the integration of these issues and complexities they create for Botswana.  Major topics include public health, ecology and environmental sustainability, economic growth and outlook, urban and rural cultural differences.  

Students will learn about these issues from an academic, public agency, and grassroots community level.  The students will explore the connections between these topics through traditional classroom instruction at the University of St. Thomas (pre-departure), University of Botswana, extensive field study involving government, private and public health and environmental agencies and organizations, as well as visits to local communities and cultural events.

Through readings, lectures, site visits, group discussions/reflection time, and attending cultural events we will explore broad, interrelated issues of biology and economics in Botswana.

January 2020 (tentative)

This J-Term course introduces a general overview of China’s economic development and the process of its transformation from a centrally planned economy to a market-oriented economy with special historical, cultural, and institutional characteristics. Upon completion of the course, students will gain a comprehensive and more objective understanding of the Chinese economy and culture, including its history, reforms, prosperity, challenges, and prospects.

Program Structure:

This course is composed of lectures, readings, site visits, cultural activities, seminars, and discussions. Students will have the opportunity to explore two large metropolitan areas in China, i.e., Beijing, the capital, and Shanghai, the economic and financial center.

Course contents:

  • Economic lessons from the Chinese history
  • Centrally planned economy
  • Economic reforms after 1978
  • Contemporary China: the housing bubble, banking and the financial system, the stock market, pollution, trade and investment, population, education and human capital, the political system

Site visits/seminars/cultural activities (subject to change):

  • Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Peking University, Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, 
  • Bao Steel, Coca Cola China, An Immigrant School, Shanghai Deep Water Port, Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, Huangpu River Cruise, etc.

Spring Semester & Spring Break 2019 

Econ 346 (Cross Listed as POLS 399)

The Economics & Political Science Departments are offering an embedded study abroad program which includes on-campus lectures during the spring semester and site visits in Northern Ireland during Spring BreakCourse topics include Northern Ireland’s history of conflict, political institutions, and economic conditions.

Contact Professor Monica Hartmann or Professor Rene Buhr for more details:

Every Fall Semester

Study Principles of Macroeconomics as part of the St. Thomas Rome CORE Semester

CORE students become your extended family living and studying together at the St. Thomas Bernardi campus. You will engage globally with your core curriculum beyond the arches, completing four core requirements during your semester in Rome. There is a wide variety of core requirements including Principles of Macroeconomics you can take in Rome to keep on track with your degree requirements. Volunteer work engages “Bernardines” with the local community, and a basic course in Italian connects you with the people of Rome. You will broaden your prospective of the world while making Italy your extended classroom.

CORE courses have been adapted or selected to take advantage of being in Rome, whether seeing ancient Roman architecture that is the foundation of the modern city or studying social and economic issues such as the immigrant crisis and the Eurozone. Field trips within the city and to other sites in Italy put learning into context. You will take assignments and group projects into the field and the world, experiencing key concepts rather than watching or hearing them in a classroom. Migration, social justice, globalism and nationalism, cultural preservation, the built and natural environments are some of the experiences that shape your Rome CORE semester.

Sample site visits for the Principles of Macroeconomics Course (subject to change):

  • Banca d'Italia – A research economist gave students on a lecture on monetary policy and the financial crisis in the European Union.
  • Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) Corporation - CORE students visited a company in Italy to learn more about how business is conducted in Europe (an objective of the CORE program.) Francesco Sperandini, the Chairman and Managing Director of GSE, personally created a program specially designed with our students in mind.  GSE talked about their sustainability efforts, how to manage risk, forecasting, and work-life policies such as family leave policies to name just a few items.   The day concluded with a business network lunch.  
  • Money Museum - Students saw 40 clay tablets that recorded contracts from Mesopotamia (3000 BC) and around 800 coins from ancient Greece to the present day.  Only VIPs and students are allowed to visit these rooms.   

Cultural activities (subject to change):

  • Orvieto and Wine Tour
  • bike ride on the Via Appia Antica
  • Weekend trip to Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii and Herculaneum 
  • Scavi Tour
  • Opera
  • Introduction to Roman Mosaics
  • Cooking Class
  • Make a loaf of bread using a 2,000-year-old recipe from Pompeii AD 79

You can follow the Rome CORE Semester Program on Facebook to see more about what the students are experiencing and learning in Rome.

If you have any questions about applying for the program, please contact Sarah Huesing from the Office of Study Abroad at