Denison Economics major, James McCahan, studies the local perspective regarding European economic policy while spending a semester in Italy.
3 December 2015
PERUGIA, Italy—A Denison University student, James McCahan, in search of a greater understanding of macroeconomic principles and relations, chose to go “beyond the Den” to discover the European perspective. This semester, while studying abroad at the Umbra Institute, a study abroad program in Perugia, Italy, James took advantage of Europe’s Freedom of Movement to visit places like Alicante, Spain and Copenhagen Denmark; all the while, noting economic differences through the observation of price differences and currency values from one location to the next, even within the Eurozone.
To aid in his understanding of the European Economy, James is currently enrolled in PSEU 350: The European Union in the Global Economy. This course reviews the role of the European Union within the Global Economy and analytically reviews the emergence of the European Common Market and the creation of the European Monetary Union, despite issues that arose during several financial crisis.
For James, discussion of the various financial crisis was one of the most attractive elements of the course material because the most recent financial crisis, in the United States, was what sparked his interest in economics and led to his current work toward the acquisition of an Economics Major. James describes this course as being his favorite because it has truly deepened his understanding of the European Economy; both because of the discussion of policy and theory and because it gave him the opportunity to discuss the European perspective with the Italian students in his class. James describes his understanding of the European Economy in comparison to the American economy as being interesting and very different, especially since the EU was not something he had extensively studied prior to his arrival in Italy.
“In America, everything is centered on our economy and how we’re going to change our policies to affect the power of the dollar,” says James, referring to the practices of inflation and deflation of the U.S. dollar in comparison to that of the Euro. “When you come here, everything is so much more interconnected because most people are on the same currency but they cannot fully control that currency. For every trade agreement they put out, they have to factor in countries that are doing really well and countries that aren’t; they have to balance their economy.”
In addition to Umbra’s PSEU 350 course, James was able to complete Liberal Arts electives by studying Roman and Italian history and culture to develop an even deeper understanding of the inner workings of Europe. In the end, he believes that his classes, as well as his time in Europe, will be highly beneficial as he returns to his economics courses at Denison because his experiences gave him a greater understanding of the interaction of the economy as a whole. He looks forward to sharing his observations when he returns to his Global Economics courses back home and as he moves forward toward a career in economics.
About the Umbra Institute:
Nestled in the historic center of Perugia, Italy, the Umbra Institute continues to distinguish itself as a provider of innovative study abroad programming. Perugia is the ideal setting to study abroad in Italy, with fine arts, business, and liberal arts courses.