Global Studies Provides Lemuel Samuel a Toolkit for Diplomacy
When many people think of global studies, their impression may be limited to international politics. But as global studies major Lemuel Samuel explains, there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
Cultures and Communities
Samuel arrived at the U with a desire to eventually work in diplomacy. Global studies quickly became an obvious choice of major. “It gives me the opportunity to learn more about the world and learn more about different cultures and different communities,” Samuel says. The depth and breadth of subject matter covered in global studies courses are a significant part of its appeal. “Yes, you are learning politics, but you're also learning about the many societal customs, the environment, and so many other factors in the world.”
Global studies courses explore cultures across all continents, helping students like Samuel form a “holistic view of learning about the world and how all communities interact with it.” This view is valuable across all disciplines and careers, Samuel says. “Everybody, in their life, has interacted with different cultures or different ways of life that other people may not understand. Being more aware of that is something that I think that everybody can learn from.”
Samuel adds that the University of Minnesota is an excellent place to begin building this understanding. “We have a large African community,” he explains. “We have a large Asian and Hmong community. We have a large Latin American community. We have a lot of diverse communities over here in Minnesota that we can all learn from.”
The Institute for Global Studies encourages students to study regions across the world, with subfields “from Russia to Europe to Africa to Latin America to the Middle East and North Africa.” No part of the world is ignored. Through global studies, students can find courses on regions that may not be covered in many other fields of study.
Samuel is grateful for the department’s faculty, which features instructors from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds. “You've just got many diverse classes with diverse experiences, diverse teachers from many parts of the world. I think that's something that's very special about the University of Minnesota.”
Practicing the Fundamentals
Samuel hopes to one day work in foreign service or for an intergovernmental organization. He says that his time at the University has prepared him to fulfill that aspiration. His courses have included frequent essays and presentations. Samuel says that this coursework has helped him to be “able to write in a professional manner, speak professionally, and express thoughts clearly to the public, which is a very important factor in diplomacy.”
The courses also provide a strong grasp of the fundamentals of political work. They grant a clear image of “the reasons nations act the way they do.” Samuel explains that he feels confident in this fundamental understanding “not just in the field of politics, but also in the fields of the environment, society, and economics.”
Research and Resources
Having finished his first year, Samuel looks forward to furthering his growth using the resources provided by CLA and the Institute for Global Studies. He is excited about the major’s experiential learning requirement, which can be completed by studying abroad or participating in an internship.
“With studying abroad, there's obviously a tremendous amount of experience that you can gain from that,” he says. “Not only would you be studying in a different country, but you'll also be interacting with different communities that have different values and ideas.”
Global Studies offers several resources for finding internships, which Samuel expresses are very useful for “learning what careers expect from you so that you can perform to the best of your abilities once you graduate.”
Samuel is also very enthusiastic about research opportunities. “I think the best thing about research is that you're working independently, and you get to work on the topics that you want to,” he says. Samuel is currently considering “doing more research on education in Eritrea, because it combines what the University is fundamentally about, education, along with a field that I am interested in.” He would like to learn more about Eritrea’s history, its education system, what the country has accomplished, and what goals it still needs to achieve.
As he continues his education, Samuel intends to continue following his passions and urges others to do the same. “Having the opportunities to do what you want to do is an especially valuable experience, and the most valuable experience that you will have at the University,” he says. “That is something that you should completely take advantage of.”
Connect with Lemuel Samuel by visiting his LinkedIn page.