If you’re reading this website, it’s highly likely that you are an economics, business, management, or related major who often spends a lot of her time tackling her internship requirements, especially if you are at a major research university. Maybe you want to take a break from economics problem sets or exams. Maybe you avoid essays like the plague and find solace in the clear math you do.
Either way, you should consider taking classes in very different fields than the ones you are currently in, particularly given the large scale economic, political, and social shifts that are occurring in many Western countries today. Here’s a list of three courses you should consider taking next semester to enhance your understanding of the world.
The recent elections of populist candidates in the United States and Europe shows that many people are having second thoughts about some of the darker undertones of globalization. This is a megatrend that is worthwhile for every citizen to understand and respond to in whichever manner he or she sees fit.
In many of these countries, nationalism has emerged as a response to the increasing economic interconnectedness of the world, which began in the 1980s. Your college may have a class on free trade, the history of particular nations, or, as mine does, an advanced anthropological course on the history of nationalism in the world.
If those classes aren’t an option, nearly every institution of higher education has a course on political or economic theory. Even a class in sociology can teach many things about how individuals behave very differently in groups than individually—and one of the skills you need in any management or business-related field is to understand how people behave in different situations.
The media has gained an unprecedented role throughout the world as the great equalizer for nations, individuals, community organizations, companies, and tragically even terrorist actors. The emergence of the Internet has enabled a larger portion of the human community to share their ideas with each other than at any period of human history.
Through online or cable advertisements, small businesses and companies also can reach millions of people through their advertisements and gain funding they could have never possibly dreamed of a century ago. YouTube, Kickstarter and other ventures are also helping any “little guy” with a compelling story and the ability to write gain financial or other support from friends, family, and kind strangers.
Whether you take a hands-on coding or multimedia course or just a class on the history of the Internet, you can learn to harness this technology in many personal and professional situations.
An Uncommon Language
The Department of State, U.S. intelligence community, and of course many businesses are constantly searching for candidates who are fluent in crucial languages with few American speakers like Urdu, Russian, Arabic, or Mandarin Chinese. These language also come with vibrant cultures that can in turn teach you more about American culture.
While many of you are likely taking languages to satisfy a distribution requirement, consider taking an uncommon language to be able to serve people who need a voice for them when interacting with Americans. Plus, having an uncommon language looks great on your resume and is always an excellent conversation starter for candidates talking to recruiters.
Danni Ondraskova will graduate in 2018 from Wellesley College. Danni plans on earning a dual degree in law and business and dreams of working for JP Morgan’s Global Investment Management division.