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Belgium: European Union in Action
Brussels, Belgium (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Homepage: Click to visit
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Housing: Homestay Language Pre-requisite: No
Language of Instruction: English Language Courses Offered: Yes
Non-AU Students Accepted by AU:
Yes Internship: Yes
Advisor: Kelly Jo Bahry Minimum GPA: 2.75
Class Level Required for Admission: Second-semester Sophomore standing
Program Type:
Not Direct Enrollment
Program Description:

Is this Program Right for You? 

AU Brussels StudentsThis program will accept applications on a rolling basis, and we will close the application for any given semester after we meet capacity.  For more detailed information related to this program, please visit the AU Brussels website. The European Union in Action Program offers you an in-depth understanding of the European Union and NATO. It offers an exciting combination of:

  • Classes and seminars with decision makers that give you expert knowledge of the European Union and NATO.
  • Access to the players behind the scenes in Brussels.
  • Internships that give you a real-world international professional experience.
  • Field trips that allow you to see the EU in action outside of Brussels and that broaden your perspective on Europe.
  • Living arrangements that enhance your understanding of Europeans.
  • Cultural activities to enrich your experience in Europe.

This program is a well rounded, intense academic experience that will make each student an expert on European affairs and the European Union's role on the global stage.  You will get to know the ins-and-outs of Brussels better than you know Washington.


Weekend Excursion to BrugeThe following courses are offered each semester in Brussels and total 15-16 credits.  Learning in the class room happens at the AU Brussels Center.  All of the courses include guest speakers and local and regional field tripsDr. Jerry Sheridan teaches most of the courses, and Jamie Shay teaches the NATO course.  There are no prerequsites required fore the following required courses:

The Government and Politics of the European Union
(3 credits, SISA 383 or GOVT333)
In this course, you study the government, politics, and foreign policy of the European Union. You study the evolution of the EU and its relationship with its member states. You study the political dynamics of its system of governance and how these dynamics are evolving. You learn about the EU's key role in global political affairs, and its interaction with the rest of the world. (Honors credit available to qualified AU students)

Economic, Environmental, and Trade Policy in the European Union
(3 credits, SISA 323 or ECON 458)
This course is intended to help you develop an in-depth working knowledge of the EU's economic, environmental and trade policies. By doing so, you will gain a greater understanding of the process and evolution of European economic integration, and its implications for the world. The first part examines the EU's Single Market and its system of economic governance. The second part focuses on the EU's environmental policies and the global implications of those policies.The third part of the course will focus on the EU's external economic relations. You study the EU's role in the WTO.

Politics and Economics of European Defense
(3 credits, SISA 383)
This course is an in-depth study of the European Union's Security and Defense Policy. You will study the political and economic dynamics that are driving the development of the EU's Security and Defense Policy. You will discusses the interaction between these economic and political dynamics.You will examine the EU's comprehensive approach of combining and political, economic, and defense capabilities in undertaking missions. You will study the security-development nexus and the EU's strategy toward security in the developing world in general, and particularly toward Africa.

NATO and International Security Organizations
(3 credits, SISA 333)
This course is an in-depth study of the role of NATO and other international security organizations in the global security architecture of the world. Since the end of the Cold War, the global security environment has grown increasingly complex. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remains the cornerstone of European security, but it is a different kind of alliance than in the days of the Cold War. The UN Security Council remains pre-eminent in legitimizing military operations, but is often sidelined and ignored. A variety of other international organizations have moved into the security field, like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Criminal Court, not to mention the European Union. What will the architecture of international security arrangements look like in the future? That is the question that this course examines.

Living in French
(FREN-224-001S - 1 credit)
This optional, one-credit hour course is offered in two sections. The first is for students who have taken French in the past and who wish to improve their oral and aural conversation skills for everyday life. The second is for students with little or no background in French who wish to learn the basics of communicating in the language.


The AU Brussels Internship is a critical component of the Brussels program that allows you to use what you learn in the classroom in your internship.  Students intern two days a week, most weeks.  The Brussels Internship Coordinator works with students to place them in a challenging internship in organizations and corporations whose daily activities bring them into contact with the EU or NATO.  Past internships have taken place with members of the European Parliament, lobbying organizations, consulting firms, law firms, defense contractors, corporations, non-governmental organizations, etc.

AU Brussels Internship Learning Contract
(3 credit hours - required;SABD 391)
The internship course provides academic structure to the internship experience.  The internship grade is determined by both the written academic work and an evaluation by the internship supervisor. 


AU Abroad offers several merit based Mobility Awards every semester ranging from $250 to $2500.  Students need who are interested in applying for the Mobility Award need to do so seperately from the AU Brussels application.

Honor's Students

Please note that Honors Sections are only available to AU students in the Honors program. Each Honors student needs to contact the Honor's office to obtain appropriate Honors credit.  Honors students from other campuses should check with their advisor to determine the availability of Honors Credit.

Student Life


Brussels students live with a family in a homestay.  The homestay experience offers insights into normal life for citizens living in one of the most powerful cities in the world.  The homestay also provides a daily connection with modern Belgian culture that might otherwise be missed in the hectic pace of this busy European capital.  The Homestay Coordinator makes sure students are placed with a familythat provide a good match.

A student receives three evening meals with the family each week and breakfast daily. An additional meal stipend is provided to help defray the cost of some other meals. This formula allows a student to have as much or as little interaction with the family as the student desires. For a student who wishes to integrate with Belgians and improve her or his French, it's the perfect opportunity. However, for a student who wants to live more independently, there is no obligation to spend time with the family. Most, if not all, homestay hosts speak English and/or French. 

You will not know your homestay placements until their arrival in Brussels.

Student Life

You are fully expected to integrate into Brussels life, be it trying to speak a language other than English, getting around by public transportation, getting to know local places of importance, trying local foods, and participating in at least one of the many ways Belgians find entertainment. You will have plenty of time to expore the region independently, but are heavily encouraged to also get to know the city, Brussels, you will call home for the semester.

To get a sense of where AU Brussels alumni are now, please review this group of diverse professionals.


canals in BrugesIncluded in the program fee are several field trips.  The program visits the historic Belgian cities of Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Bruges, and other historic locations. There are two overnight or weekend trips to visit EU and UN institutions in places like Luxembourg, The Hague or Geneva. There is an extended field trip to observe the EU's foreign policy in action. The destination of this trip varies each semester, but past trips have included visits to countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Turkey, or Russia.  You will not know your class trip itinerary before you arrive in Brussels.


What Your Semester Looks Like

Every week on this program is very different, but typically you will have classes two days a week, your internship two days a week, and a majority of Fridays off for a three day weekend.  You will be traveling as a group with the program about one third of the semester weekends.  You will not know what trips you will take with the program or when they will be until you arrive in Brussels, but your week long semester break to do with what you like is scheduled in advance and listed below under Dates/Deadlines

Visas and Procedures

The process for Americans and other non-EU nationalities to obtain a visa is quite detailed, extensive, and lengthy.  It is important no matter where you live you will be applying at the Belgium Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Your study abroad advisor will work closely with you to ensure that you understand what is required of you to prepare for your time in Belgium, but of course it is up to each individual student to follow through with obtaining their own visa.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2015 03/16/2015
Varies by program 08/29/2015 12/11/2015
NOTE: You need to be at the hotel in Brussels at 5pm on Saturday, August 29th. Your last finals and program lunch are on December 11th, so you need to move out of your homestay on the December 12th. Fall break is from October 26th to 30th, in which students' time is their own.
Spring 2016 09/18/2015
Varies by program 01/15/2016 04/30/2016
NOTE: Students need to be at the designated hotel for orientation at 5pm on January 15th. Spring break is March 14th to March 18th for students to do what they will. The final exam and final lunch is April 29th. Students need to leave their housing on April 30th.

** The time it takes to receive an admissions decision varies greatly by program; it can take as little as two weeks or as long as several months. Contact AU Abroad for further details on your program's admissions timeline.

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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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