Experiential Learning at its Best

Not all learning happens in the classroom.

A well-rounded education always includes experiential learning. Up until now, your parents or teachers have decided which hands-on experiences would be most beneficial for you. Now, you get to choose. Rich experiences, like the ones listed below, will lead you on an amazing journey of self-discovery.

Learning opportunities beyond the classroom

Whenever we ask graduating seniors to leave some advice for incoming freshmen, the answer almost always is to "get involved." So, we've created a list of some of their favorite "life-changing" experiences. Take their advice. Try new things. Explore the possibilities.
  • Join a club or organization

    Activities and clubs help you feel connected to your peers and are a great way to find new friends. We’d like you to be actively involved in the non-partisan political science club, but there are many other clubs from which to choose as well. We encourage you to try a few and find the ones that fit you best.

    Note: All Cougars automatically become members of the Student Government Association. Take an active role and use your voice to find ways to improve life for students now and in the future.

    My favorite experience has been serving as the President of the Hispanic-Latino Club. I have enjoyed working to promote diversity across campus and have engaged with campus leaders in pursuit of inclusive policies.  Kaitlyn Victoria '23

  • Study abroad

    The College of Charleston’s Center for International Education (CIE) offers a broad range of opportunities for full-year, semester-length, and summer programs. Most offer courses that provide credits toward your degree. Some of the trips, designed by political science faculty, combine politics, power, and place – part of our valued mission. This helps you further appreciate the differences in our cultures. You will find great value in international experience, as do future employers. Explore your options at CIE.

    Don't let finances stand in your way! Explore scholarships that might help supplement your adventures.

    While studying abroad in the United Kingdom with Dr. Long, I took POLI 359: Remapping a Europe in Crisis. With both a historical and political lens, we were able to look at 100 years of history and apply the outcomes to current events as they were happening. This experience has completely reshaped how I view the concepts of colonialism, war, and multiculturalism.  Katherine Uptegrove '23

  • Intern to find a career you'll love

    Internships are an opportunity to see if a career is right for you. It is also a way to gain professional experience to include on your resume. Employers reflect on your drive and commitment which helps them to see how your skills fit their company. There are so many employment opportunities available to political science graduates. Popular fields include law, government, international affairs, campaign politics, public policy, non-profit organizations, and many others. Internships will help you narrow the field of possibilities.

    Internship opportunities that come directly to our office will be included in our weekly newsletter. However, the majority of internships are posted elsewhere (Handshake, LinkedIn, Idealist, etc). Contact the Career Center to discuss your goals, so you can take advantage of the many opportunities offered.

    I interned at United Nations University in Maastricht, Netherlands, as a research assistant in their migration lab. It was an amazing experience and really helped expand my interests surrounding forced migration and asylum policies.  Lea Neufeld '23

  • Choose an alumni mentor

    Alumni have been where you are. They’ve walked the same bricks and crossed the Cistern at commencement. Some of them now volunteer to help you find your way. Alumni provide you with whatever guidance you need when you need it most.

    Time management skills. Simulated employer interviews. Advice on internships (sometimes even at their own companies). They may help you prepare or revise your resume, point you toward potential employers, or even hire you after graduation!

    When a mentor is unsure about any of your queries, they point you in the direction of someone at the College who can help. Our mentors come from a variety of fields. You choose one based on your interests. We especially encourage our juniors and seniors to request a mentor. It is an important step to finding the job of your dreams.

    Current students should visit The Hub to learn more about requesting a mentor.

    To be completely honest, I was debating about signing up for this program because I thought it would be just one more thing on my plate during a busy school year. I just want to say that I am so happy that I did...What a great program!  Anonymous

  • Take one of our "model" courses

    Our “model” courses – Model United Nations, Model African Union, and Model Organization of American States - start in the classroom but end in real-world experiences. The coursework includes learning the history of the organization and researching the organization’s mission. Your team will assume the role of delegates from an assigned country. You'll learn to perfect your communication skills, hone your debate skills, and practice the art of negotiation.

    Taking all that you've learned, you'll then gather with other colleges for a simulation of the real-world event. The Model UN conference takes place in Atlanta, Georgia. Model African Union and Model Organization of American States attend simulations in our nation’s capital. Enrollment for these experiential courses is small to allow everyone a unique role at the conference.

    Note: Lodging and transportation costs are included.

    Current students can visit The Hub to learn more.

    In my junior year, I took the Model UN course. We traveled to Atlanta for the conference and it was a memorable and immersive experience. It was so cool to interact with students from other universities while working to solve real-world issues we face today.

    Soleil Tibbets-Barnes '23

  • Present research at the William V. Moore Student Research Conference

    The Moore Conference is an annual event where you get to showcase your original research. You will:

    • Choose a topic of interest and enlist a faculty mentor to supervise your project.
    • Design your research. Analyze and interpret your findings. Document your project in a comprehensive research paper. 
    • Prepare a ten-minute presentation based on your research to share with members of the campus community. Think of it as a professional TED talk.
    • Share your presentation at the conference and enjoy a buffet luncheon with faculty and peers.

    Current students can visit The Hub to learn more.

    Below is a sampling of topics present at the 2023 conference:

    • Relations between China and Africa: Mutually Beneficial or Exploitation? 
    • How Eco-Friendly is Ecotourism?
    • Gendered Appearance and Electability
    • Shady Standards: The Shadow Docket and Emergency Relief
    • Monetary Contraction in the Presence of Fiscal Stimulus
    • Trans Parents and the Policies Against Them
    • Mapping Pathways Forward for the Women and Children of al Hol Camp