University-subsidised Field Trip

Studying politics involves not only desk-based research but often undertaking field work within a given context, in order to witness the evolution of political processes and their impact on society first hand. Such field work can take a variety of different forms, ranging from interviews with important stakeholders, to focus group discussions with community members, and the analysis of politicised spaces and public forums.

As part of your studies you can attend our optional, departmentally-subsidised* field trip, currently to the USA, where students gain insight into the latest global issues and a first-hand perspective on the American political system. Taken before the start of your third year, the six-day field trip will provide you with the basic training required to carry out ethical field work under a controlled, supervised setting. This is a unique opportunity which is only available to students studying Politics and International Relations at our Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

Sample programme^

(each day begins at 09:00 with a briefing)

Day 1

Battery Park Ferry Point

Statue of Liberty

Ellis Island Ferry point

Close of scheduled activities. Portfolio Prep 

Imagining the United States: How is America presented to visitors? What narratives are stated or implied? How does this fit with the USA imagined by current residents? Is there a difference between American and New York identity?
Debrief in Study Groups

Day 2


World Trade Centre Grenwich St/ Vesey

Optional Walking Tour Wall St, South Seaport, Bowery and Chinatown                                               

What does the Memorial say about 9/11? What affects (if any) does this have on the body politic? Can/do people challenge official narratives? Why or how? What is the relationship between the 9/11 memorial narratives and contemporary US identity?
Debrief in Study Groups

This is a chance for you to reflect on the many different versions of New York, the different people that inhabit and use these spaces, and what this tells us about the US and its role in the world

Day 3

Central Park

West 4th Street

Close of Scheduled activities and portfolio development

America in the News. Preparation for NYU students.

What are the current stories gripping the nation, what is happening in the presidential race, and how does what you have been learning about the US in the past few days fit into the news agenda? What would you like to know more about regarding life in the US?
Life and politics in the USA: Students perspective. Group discussion with US Students about the Presidential race, populism, Trump and Brexit.

Day 4

Museum of New York

Debrief in Study Groups

Explore how activism and the activity of people creates the city. We will look at how political activism has shaped the city that we see today, and it’s relationship with governance. We will also explore how responses to World War I have helped to shape how we imagine the contemporary city and nation.

Day 5 Arrive at 44th St entrance of GMA Times Square Studio, 1500 Broadway

ABC Good Morning America
In the audience for the second part of the programme
Backstage tour of the show after the programme ends, and meet the hosts

Debrief in Study Groups
Work on Portfolio

Debrief and discussion about portfolios

Day 6 Hostel

Work on Portfolio

Shuttle to the airport


You will keep an ethnographic notebook of your travels, collect photos of meaningful sites, conduct interviews with key individuals and critically assess the politics of commemoration and the negotiation of space in New York, so as to produce a report on the city's politics.

* Flights, hostel accommodation, breakfast, metro pass, entrance fees, and transfers to and from JFK Airport are included. Other meals will need to be paid for, although the hostel has excellent kitchen facilities. You will also need to have a valid passport and the necessary visas. Guidance on how to prepare for the visit will be provided by the module tutor.

^Please note field course destinations and the exact itinerary may be subject to change.