One of the requirements for students in the Michigan/Windsor EU Study Abroad Program is a journal or blog where they are expected to share their reflections on, well, whatever made an impression on them during the 15 days of the program. Along with the exit evaluations, these provide us with useful information regarding what worked and what didn’t, at least from point of view of the students. Of course the students’ assessments of our meetings, talks and activities are not identical. But there generally is a consensus on what was stellar.
This year’s top 5 show what a discriminating bunch of students participated in the program. Three of the five institutions most often mentioned were think tanks and/or advocacy groups, all of which have excellent international reputations. International Crisis Group, Bruegel and Human Rights Watch were mentioned by almost everyone as highlights of the program. It happens that all three of these organizations are toward the top of Dr. James McGann’s annual ranking of think tanks throughout the world (www.gotothinktank.com). Among non-U.S. think tanks, ICG ranked 4th, Bruegel 9th, and Human Rights Watch 18th in the world. Even with their massively endowed American counterparts included in the rankings, they placed 9th, 16th and 22nd, respectively. Bruegel was ranked 3rd best in the world in the field of international economic policy, HRW was 4th in the field of transparency and good governance, and ICG was ranked 5th in the category of most innovative policy ideas and proposals.
Rounding out the top 5 from this year’s EU program were our visits to two of the country missions to the EU, the Russian and the Turkish missions. These were both new additions to the program. Needless to say, they will remain on future itineraries.