Global Study
US Foreign Policy _ YMCA Global Study

US Foreign Policy: Traditions, Tensions and Trump

East Lansing, USA

This course is perfect for students studying International Relations and/or Politics who have a particular interest in the USA

Get a first-hand introduction to US foreign policy and the current issues that impact US foreign policy formation since the end of the Cold War. At the heart of any understanding of the foreign policy of the United States is a focus on the relationships it maintains with other nations in the international system. However, US foreign policy is also influenced by the political, social, and cultural interactions of important domestic and international actors that are constantly changing.

The current US administration, led by President Trump, has fundamentally altered many traditional and long-held aspects of US Foreign Policy. Issues of concern associated with the Trump administration and US Foreign Policy to be covered in class include (but are not limited to); commitment to the NATO alliance, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, strategic competition with China, and rising tensions with Russia.

To this end, this course will focus on providing an understanding of the policy formation process and the direction of US foreign policy from a broad historical and international perspective. In addition to understanding elements of US foreign policy, this course will provide students with an introduction to the relevant academic literature that influences US foreign policy makers and the policies they enact.

The course consists of three distinct elements

  • Overview of the foreign policy process
  • Introduction to relevant academic theories/concepts regarding state behaviour and foreign policy
  • Analysis of topics and themes relevant to contemporary US foreign policy.


The program overall was extremely well organised. I am extremely satisfied with the knowledge I have attained throughout the duration of the course. The group and professors were all lovely and welcoming individuals. I would highly recommend studying abroad through YMCA Global Study. – Rebecca, La Trobe University

Intended Learning Outcomes & Additional Course Information

After successfully completing this short course, participants will have gained the following skills and knowledge:

Understand the major theoretical perspectives regarding international politics and security that impact the formation of U.S Foreign and National Security Policies.

Identify specific issues and themes that impact the direction and content of U.S Foreign Policy. Issues and themes to be covered in class include; the Rise of China, Challenges in Europe, and changing dynamics involving the Middle East.

Understand the roles of important actors in the US foreign policy establishment and the political processes of how foreign policy is formulated.

Enhance critical thinking, analyse, writing and research skills through class discussions and independent research


Group Project – 20%

Mid-Program Exam – 25%

Research Project – 30%

Participation – 25%

University & Faculty

Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. Founded in 1855, the university began as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is one of the largest universities in the United States and has approximately 540,000 living alumni worldwide

Michigan State University Spartans work every day to advance the common good in uncommon ways. The University tackles some of the world’s toughest problems to find solutions that make life better.


East Lansing is a city located directly next to Lansing, the state capital of Michigan. It’s also a short drive from Chicago and Detriot.

East Lansing is most famous for being the home of Michigan State University. The USA’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world.

Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic residential colleges, and service-learning programs, MSU is a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists,
scientists and leaders.

Known as ‘The Spartans’ their mascot Sparty is one of the most recognised mascots in collegiate sports. MSU participates in the NCAA Division 1 competition as members of the BIG10 and has won multiple national titles in football, basketball and ice hockey.


Students will live in the brand new Springhill Suites by Marriott Hotel just a 5 minute walk from MSU’s campus!

Accommodation Includes:

  • All students will be paired with a roommate of the same gender orientation based on answers to a housing questionnaire.
  • Rooms are double queen rooms with two queen beds, a large couch, desk, walk-in closet, and large bathroom.
  • All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable and Netflix access, microwave, coffee maker, and refrigerator.
  • Single rooms may be available upon request for an additional fee.

While the Springhill Suites is not located on campus, you can see campus from the hotel! Located less than 1 mile away from Case Hall where all class session will be held, Springhill Suites will be your home away from home. The hotel is located next to a Fresh Thyme grocery store, featuring farmers market produce and organic products. It is also just feet away from Mediterranean, Indian, Korean, and traditional American fast food restaurants. Literally a 5 minute walk from one of the entrances to MSU’s large campus, you can’t really get any closer!

Internet Access in at Springhill Suites and on Campus

  • Wi-Fi is available in all rooms and common spaces throughout Springhill Suites.
  • Access to MSU’s guest and internal Wi-Fi is provided and is available in all campus buildings.

Springhill Suites Security

  • Springhill Suites has a service desk staffed 24-7. The staff can answer any questions residents have and can help resolve maintenance issues by contacting the maintenance staff.
  • The front door to Springhill Suites is locked beginning at 11pm and residents will be buzzed in by hotel staff.


  • The hotel features a lobby area with ample seating perfect for studying, group meetings, and hanging out with friends.
  • You will also have access to a large fitness centre and small pool.
  • Residents enjoy free printing from their own computer to the lobby printer.
  • Snacks and beverages are available for purchase in the lobby.
  • A full continental breakfast with hot and cold food items is available each morning, with free coffee all day!
Social and Cultural Program

Student Support

US Foreign Policy: Traditions, Tensions & Trump Short Course is provided by the American Semester Program (ASP), a unit within the Office for Education Abroad at Michigan State University. ASP provides semester and year-long study abroad programs in addition to Short Courses offered in July each year. The small team of expert coordinators provides all ASP students one-on-one health, safety, and academic support and carefully designs programming that will integrate them into college life at MSU and in the Midwest United States. On this Short Course, students will be supported by the Short Course Coordinator and her team of Stewards who are on call 24/7 to support students and ensure a high-quality and fun experience for all participants.

Weekend Trip to Chicago

Students will have a whole weekend to explore ‘The Windy City’! Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the US and has one of the tallest skylines in the world with the Willis Tower (110 Story) and the John Hancock Center (100 Story) observation decks offering amazing views of the city. Chicago is home to over 250 theatres, however, our favourite is The Second City a comedy club with over 50 years of history some of the most famous comedians got their start right here including Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Joan Rivers, Steve Carell and Mike Myers.

Tour of the Michigan Capitol Building

Lansing is just down the road from MSU, and it is our state capital. Tour the historic building and learn about Michigan’s history and how our government works.

Ski Trip to Caberfae Peaks

Best things about a winter study abroad experience are the winter activities. You get to visit a local ski resort where you can learn or to ski or go tubing OR BOTH!

Weather permitting

Tour of Detriot including watching Detriot Red Wings Ice Hockey Game
Enjoy a day in Detroit – the largest city in Michigan. Besides being a little foodie haven, it is also the birthplace of Motown so you’ll find plenty of cool bars and classic dives bars with live music. You also get to experience a Detroit’s Red Wings ice hockey game!

American Cuisine Demonstration

Learn about American cuisine while watching a demonstration by one of our chefs at Brody Square.

Graduation Ceremony

Celebrate with your new friends the completion of your American Semester Program Short Course! Take part in an American style graduation (after decorating your grad cap!), celebrate with your professors, and eat dinner at out Kellogg Conference Center and Hotel.

Also Included

Students are provided with a Spartan ID Card processed during orientation, which will be loaded with $260.00 of Spartan Cash.

  • Spartan Cash can be used to purchase meals in on-campus cafeterias: Brody Square and The Gallery
  • It can also be used at area restaurants and Sparty’s locations (convenience store). A full list of establishments that accept Spartan Cash can be found here

The following meals are also provided in the program:

  • Orientation breakfast and lunch
  • BBQ lunch
  • Boxed lunch on Lake Michigan trip
  • Graduation dinner
Disability and Access Support

YMCA Global Study aims to provide study abroad programs that are accessible to all students and work with participants on an individual basis to ensure they are supported throughout the entire study abroad process. Click here to learn more about how we with students living with a disability to study abroad.

Application Information

If you have any questions about our programs check out the frequently asked questions page, or if you would like to ask specific questions about the courses we offer feel free to contact us, we’re more than happy to help.

Places are limited and are usually oversubscribed. Students are encouraged to apply early to secure their spot.

The YMCA Global Study Application Process

Step 1: Apply Now

Click here to complete the online Registration and Application forms. This will give us the information we need to access your eligibility for a program. After you have completed the online application forms you will be prompted to book a time to have a telephone interview with one of our staff.

Step 2: Phone Interview

Phone interviews are usually about 15 minutes and give us a chance to talk to you about your program choice, make sure all the information we have is correct, and talk you through the rest of the application process.

Step 3: Finalising your application

Once you have completed YMCA Global Study will send you an email with instructions detailing how to finalise your application.

Step 4: Receive your acceptance pack

Once your application has been approved YMCA Global Study will send you an ‘Acceptance pack’. This pack will include important documents such as a course syllabus, acceptance letter from your Host University and advice on how to apply for credit with your home university, the pack may also include information on any funding specific to your university.

Step 5: Apply for credit and funding (if applicable)

Now you are ready to apply for credit and funding (woohoo!) – all the information you need will be in your acceptance pack

Step 6: Pay your deposit and confirm your place 

Once you have paid your deposit your place on the program confirmed.

For further information about the application process check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or if you would like to ask specific questions about the courses we offer feel free to contact us.

You can also keep up to date with us by following YMCA Global Study on social media and signing up to our newsletter. This is the best way to get reminders about important dates and deadlines, opportunities for funding and our blog which will provide you with helpful hints and tips for your study abroad experience.

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