Let’s burst our own bubble

Student with other majors can no longer say that political internships are just for political science majors.

Thanks to a more than generous $200-million grant given by the world’s 10th-richest man, Li Ka Shing, the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics will be able to expand what is already a well-established internship program to include more international internships.

This means that the institute will be branching out from its usual political-science base, allowing students from all walks of campus to participate in the foreign political scene. For example, an environmental studies major could get the opportunity to work with Sweden’s equivalent to the Environmental Protection Agency to see how another country handles its ecological concerns.

The question is: Will U students take advantage of these opportunities, or will we let them go to waste?

As the political, economic and technological environments become increasingly international, it is not only savvy but imperative for students to make globalization a part of their education.

In this day and age, we would be doing ourselves a great disservice if we were to limit our learning to the history and theories we hear about in classrooms and not take them into the practicality of the real world. In other words, talk is cheap; what works in theory might not always work in practice, and the only way to learn that is to go out and try.

What students will bring back from these international experiences will not only be hard-earned practical knowledge, but all-important cultural knowledge as well.

For years, the U has been trying to diversify its student body. We live in a sort of bubble-a highly homogenous community-and because of this, opportunities for cultural experiences are less plentiful here than in more diverse areas.

While it still important to work toward establishing a more ethnically and culturally diverse student population, it is arguably more important to strive for a student body that can exchange a wide variety of complex ideas and viewpoints. This is precisely why students are encouraged to participate in study-abroad programs, and this is also why students should take full advantage of the Hinckley Institute’s international internship program.

Because this grant will allow the internships to be subsidized and open to students of every major, there is no excuse not to apply when applications become available. Additionally, if this year’s program proves to be successful, Ka Shing will likely donate more money to the institute, which will allow even more students to gain experience with foreign governments.

We owe it to ourselves and each other to burst out of our bubble and see the real world.