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Students in this field study major regions of the world, such as Latin America, Europe, and Asia. They become area experts and come to understand the way of life in particular countries. They often complement their major with courses in a foreign language, anthropology, history, economics, or comparative political systems. Having done so, they bring real expertise and understanding to issues of U.S. foreign policy and to international business.
Area specialists study specific countries or areas of the world. This type of job generally requires a good knowledge of the appropriate language and a thorough understanding of the culture and daily life of the area's inhabitants. Typically, an area specialist might be employed by a U.S. government agency, such as the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency, and might be based in Washington, D.C.,or in another country.
Area specialists collect information from newspapers, radio broadcasts, television news shows, magazines, government documents, aerial photos, and the reports of intelligence agents. They brief diplomats and State Department officials and provide data used in speeches by the President, Cabinet officers, and other key government officials. Often, information supplied by area specialists is used to help the government set policy or take positions on key issues.
As our lives become more interdependent globally and the U.S. economy becomes more international, the need for businesspeople with an international perspective increases. Practically every large American corporation does business with at least one foreign nation.. In order to generate business, companies need individuals who know about the agriculture and industry of other nations. The success of a labor contract, for instance, may very well be based on a knowledge of another country's culture. A geographical perspective, combined with language training, often qualifies new graduates to work for American corporations in foreign countries. These kinds of jobs will increase dramatically in the next decade.
Travel agents make travel arrangements for other people. Sometimes that is as simple as preparing an airline ticket. Often, however, travelers want information about foreign places, and that's where geography becomes important. Travel agents are able to tell travelers what kind of clothes to wear in Europe in April, what sights to see in Tokyo, when the rainy season occurs in Mexico, or what local tours are available in Jamaica. Travel agents also need to be knowledgeable about the unique sights of various destinations and such features as mountains, valleys, and glaciers, as well as potential dangers to travelers.
If you would like more information about geography at Plattsburgh State, please contact
Dr. Edwin Romanowicz, Director, Center for Earth and Environmental Science
Office: Hudson Hall 132
Phone: (518) 564-2028
Toll-Free Phone: (877) 554-1041