As a center of international finance and politics and the home to stunning architecture, a vibrant arts scene, and vast cross-section of cultures, Brussels is as fascinating a city as it is beautiful. And given its resources, it’s also the perfect site to spend your summer, examining the relationship between business, politics and the rapidly changing face of new media and communication.
Through language study, cultural excursions and internships with local and international organizations, you’ll deepen your understanding not only of the field of communications, but its European society and culture.
Study abroad in Brussels and you will:
Choose from courses in business, communications, and international relations taught in English; undertake a for-credit internship
Immerse yourself in Belgian and European culture and society through day excursions to places such as Bruges and the caves of Han; educational activities such as attending French films and visiting local museums; and an excursion to another country, such as France, the Netherlands, or Germany
The CIEE Difference
Enroll in classes at the only university in Belgium to offer undergraduate level courses taught in English. With a variety of subjects ranging from ‘European Patent and Trade Mark Laws,’ and ‘Management of Art and Culture,’ to ‘Understanding the EU’ and ‘Topics in European Film History,’ you’ll build the perfect program to suit your interests.
Step into the professional world with a for-credit, unpaid internship. Vesalius college offers a number of very competitive internships with local institutions and organizations. While foreign language skills may be an asset, a lack of foreign language skills is not an impediment to obtaining an internship in Brussels.
Extracurricular activities and group excursions are organized throughout the study abroad program. Day trips may include visits to Bruges and the caves of Han, Waterloo and Tournai, and will introduce students to some of the cultural and historical highlights of their host country.. Viewings of French and European films and visits to cultural events like the famous Ommegang complete the program’s activities.
Total recommended credit for the summer is 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated. The Internship has 150 contact hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.
All students take two courses or one course plus the internship.
Brussels has emerged as the “Capital of Europe” in political and economic terms. As the headquarters of the European Union, it is at the forefront of European integration and EU policy. Brussels is also very international; its diversity is reflected in its neighborhoods, restaurants, and languages. While French is the dominant language, Dutch (Flemish) and English are widely spoken. Because of this, Brussels does not necessarily provide the language immersion one might get in another less multilingual location. For the same reason, study abroad students feel quickly at home.
Where You’ll Study
Vesalius College, the international English-language college in Brussels, is a small, independent, academic institution with a student body of approximately 300. Vesalius is located southeast of central Brussels, next to the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), a partner of Vesalius College. Students with the necessary French or Dutch skills may also take courses at VUB or Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), considered the premier French-speaking university in Belgium.
Housing & Meals
Housing is included in the study abroad program fee. There are a number of homestays available with families from a variety of linguistic backgrounds. In addition, a second housing option offers students a combination of independent rooms with or without other CIEE students sharing common spaces with landlords. Housing is mainly located in southeast Brussels. An excellent public transportation system makes it easy to commute to Vesalius College. All housing placements are made on site at the beginning of the program.
For shared housing students, meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students have access to cooking facilities to prepare their own meals and may take meals in Vesalius College cafeterias and restaurants in the area.
Established in 1994, the CIEE Study Center in Brussels moved into its current location at its host institution, Vesalius College, in 2002. Vesalius College is unique among academic institutions in Brussels in that it is the only institution that offers a selection of courses taught in English at the undergraduate level. Students participating in the summer study abroad program have the opportunity to live in the “Capital of Europe,” while studying business, communications, and international relations, and potentially undertaking a for-credit internship,
Like other European universities, Vesalius College has been restructured to offer three year undergraduate degrees. These degrees fall into three main areas: business, communications, and international relations.
Normally, Belgian students follow a set curriculum in their area of specialization and have few elective choices. However, Vesalius College differs from most Belgian universities in that it offers students greater freedom to take elective courses. Classes are often small, averaging fewer than 20 students. Summer classes at Vesalius are intensive, meeting eight hours per week for six weeks. Classes meet either for two hours per day, four days per week, or for four hours per day, twice per week.
Vesalius College aspires to offer a similar teaching approach to U.S. colleges. But in reality, its teaching style can be quite different because most of its professors and students are products of a European educational system. So while there may be more student-teacher interaction at Vesalius College than at a regular Belgian educational institution, there is likely less than that which U.S. students are accustomed.
Nature of Classes
Students take classes with CIEE and other international students. Of the approximately 300 students who attend Vesalius during the school year, 30% are Belgian nationals, 10% are from the U.S., and the remainder are from more than 60 other countries, including Sweden, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, and Poland.
Final grades are given by Vesalius professors and follow the U.S. system of letter grades, based on a four-point scale—for example, A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, and so on. Course grades are based on a combination of factors and assignments including attendance and participation, research papers, presentations, mid-terms, and final examinations.
Vesalius College offers for-credit, unpaid internship opportunities to juniors and seniors, with participants being awarded a letter grade upon completion. CIEE participants may apply for available slots. However, internships are competitive so there is no guarantee that students will receive a placement. Interested students should submit a résumé and cover letter with their course registration form after admission to the program. All internships require interviews with the sponsor of the internship. While foreign language skills may be an asset, lack of such skills is not an impediment to obtaining an internship in Brussels.
Study abroad students should be prepared for a workload of 150 hours over the course of the summer. There is a mid-term meeting with, and report given to, the supervising professor. Participants should verify whether their home institution will grant credit for the internship. Registration for an internship takes place only after arrival in Brussels and only after the student has been accepted by the institution, organization, or company offering the internship.
Language of Instruction
Summer courses are taught by faculty from Vesalius College and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.