Date: March 26 - April 1, 2017
Program Fee: $3,220 with 15 participants
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND RATIONALE
For the March, 2017 Study Abroad Program, we will visit London, United Kingdom and Dublin, Ireland. London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom (UK). A major financial and business center, London’s urban population is about 10 million. Home to some 65 million inhabitants, the UK is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. At the height of its power in the 1920s, the British Empire comprised about one-quarter of the world's land mass. The UK strongly influenced the language, culture, and legal systems of Australia, Canada, the United States, and numerous other former members of the British Empire. The UK’s impact in world economic, military, political, and scientific affairs has been profound. Presently, the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, with per-capita income of nearly $40,000 (as compared to $54,000 in the United States).
The Norman invasion of England from France in 1066 marked the beginning of the UK. The UK gave birth to the industrial revolution in about 1760 and England was the world’s first industrialized economy. The islands of Ireland and Great Britain merged in 1801 to form the United Kingdom. In 1922, however, most of Ireland seceded, resulting in the present-day UK, which now consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) is about the size of Oregon, but with far more inhabitants. The UK has been a leading member of the European Union. The Pound is the UK’s national currency. In a June, 2016 a national referendum, 52% of British citizens voted to exit the EU. What this means in practice remains to be seen.
Dublin is the capital and largest city of the independent nation known as the Republic of Ireland (Ireland). Ireland is home to about 5 million citizens, around 2 million of which live in the greater Dublin area. During the potato famine in the 1840s, millions fled Ireland, with most settling in the United States. Like the UK, Ireland is a parliamentary system, and elects a President, a largely ceremonial position. The head of the government is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). For most of the twentieth century, Ireland had a troubled relationship with Northern Ireland, which was largely resolved by the year 2000. A relatively poor country for most of its history, Ireland’s government undertook numerous policy initiatives beginning in 1989 – tax cuts, welfare reform, a ban on excessive government borrowing, and more emphasis on Capitalism. The country became one of the world's fastest growing economies with a dramatic increase in per-capita income, which now stands at about $40,000 annually. Ireland is a base for the European headquarters of many multinational firms. A member of the European Union, Ireland uses the Euro as its national currency. In 2013, Forbes named Ireland the "best country for business”.