While most students were relaxing at home this summer, students from the department of political science and the international studies program at West Virginia University were expanding their political and cultural horizons studying abroad.

Ten students traveled to Strasbourg, France, for the Comparative Law and Institutions: Europe and the European Union program from June 9 to July 2. The program was designed to give students who might otherwise study only American government and policy the opportunity to compare our system with those of the European nations.

The students, all political science and international studies majors, took two classes for credit while abroad: A Comparative European Legal Systems, taught by WVU political science professor Dr. John Kilwein; and European Union: Law, Institutions, and Integration, taught by the University of Strasbourgs Patrick Dollat. His class introduced the students to the European Unions historical evolution, constitutional framework and institutions.

Students said they found the trip to be educational and fun, both in and out of the classroom. They visited the Council of Europe, attended an EU Parliament human rights hearing, toured the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, visited the European Court in Luxembourg and went to the World War I battlefield of Verdun.

This trip was excellent in the sense that you can only learn so much in a classroom, but to get the full spectrum, hands-on experience is always the best way to learn a subject,said Andrew Walker, a senior political science major from Foxborough, Mass.

To reduce the cost of the trip to the students, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, where the programs are housed, provided $500 Academic Enrichment Grants to each participant.

For more information, please contact Dr. Joe Hagan, chair of political science and director of international studies, at jhagan@wvu.edu or at 304-293-3811, ext. 5283.