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 New Quarter, New Opportunities 

Submitted by Björn Deh on Wed, 04/20/2011 - 20:18

The new quarter has begun and since each quarter is only 10 weeks it started like winter quarter on steroids. Just like during the winter quarter, I chose to take 3 classes (GLC and two political science classes), but this time they are higher-level 490 classes. And what that means was easy to figure out after only two lectures: more to read, more to write, and more class discussions. Even though the workload is much higher, it seems that it is easier to learn about the relevant issues of each class because participation is required to understand all the different concepts. So here is a little overview of my classes:

The Global Leadership Center is working together with the American Studies Institute in Leipzig on a so called Transatlantic Climate Bridge Project which is set up by the German Embassy. The project focuses on newer and cleaner sources of energy as well as environmental protection and the challenges of climate change. We are going to have our first Skype meeting with our Leipzig colleagues in late April, I'm really looking forward to see and work with my buddies at Leipzig. (even though it's going to be odd to talk to them in English)

Since I already took an introduction in political science last quarter, I chose to advance my knowledge in that field and thus took two more classes of POLS. One of them is called "International Human Rights," and it discusses human rights as an imperfect but inescapable vehicle for moral change in international politics. The first weeks we are focusing on the historical facts and questions, while later on we will be discussing how human rights are implemented and enforced as well as take an in-depth look on torture (especially during the war on terror), war crimes, and genocides. Especially the latter part is what interests me the most, and it also fits perfectly with my second political science class: "Terrorism."

With recent events in mind (NYC, Madrid, London, Mumbai etc. etc) and my focus on American Studies, this class is one of the most relevant and exciting I've ever had. It also helps that the professor is absolutely awesome: I've never seen a professor getting the undivided attention from everybody in the room for the whole 90 minutes of a class. We are debating definition, historical origins, and terrorism's expansion to a global phenomenon, and we furthermore look into tactics and strategies of counterterrorism and political dilemmas.

The only thing that is not so much fun at the beginning of each quarter is going shopping for books. For those of you who will be here for the next year, be advised to utilize all given possibilities to get a book: The library (including OhioLink), Amazon, the OU Book Exchange (also on Facebook) and of course the campus bookstores which sell both new and used books. But the bookstores should be your last resort since they are usually overpriced.
In case you have any questions on life here in Ohio just send me an email, and I will try to answer as soon as possible.

PS. Friends of mine are still looking for someone to sublease a room. (girls only though) So if you know that you are going to Athens next semester feel free to contact me and I’ll give you all the important contact information.

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