When I first saw an email with the subject line, “Principles of Macroeconomics in Croatia,” I was perplexed. “Of all the subjects in all the places, why would it possibly be advantageous to study macroeconomics in Croatia?”
Well, in addition to being a beautiful southern European country with the quintessential stunning Mediterranean coastline, Croatia is in a unique economic position. Recently transitioning its currency from the Croatian kuna to the euro, the country provided the perfect opportunity to witness the monetary policy we were discussing in class take effect in the real world. On one day of class we even got to go to the Croatian Central Bank and view a presentation on the country’s accession to the eurozone. The speaker effectively described the ins and outs of Croatia’s progress towards transitioning its currency, providing a lot of crucial context for the topics we were learning in class. How is a foreign exchange rate established? How does monetary policy impact a country’s economy? What factors affect GDP? By studying macroeconomics in a country undergoing such rapid change, all of these topics, which usually feel removed from my life, were, in my mind, suddenly transformed from purely theoretical to practical knowledge useful for everyday life.
Beyond getting to see a brand new country for the first time, studying abroad offers the chance to consider topics from a different perspective. I had never considered the inherent advantages of studying macroeconomics abroad, but I’m glad I did because I think it enriched my learning experience by helping me to recognize the pertinence of the subject. Despite the fact that my experience was exclusively with macroeconomics, I imagine that studying abroad would provide this same frame shift to any number of classes. So, if you are considering studying abroad, I’d say take a leap of faith and go for it!