The program will provide all students with productive and useful exposure to Spain and the EU and an opportunity to think about how international relations are configured between the local and supranational scales. Students will study four thematic areas in each three-week session:
- History, culture, and identity
- Nations & national institutions in the 20th century
- Contemporary transsovereign challenges (e.g. migration)
- The future of foreign policy
While in Spain:
Students take a 3-credit course titled The Origins of Governance: Spain. This course first focuses on how the history of Spain has shaped the culture, arts, and demographics of modern Spain. It moves on to investigate the creation of the contemporary Spanish state after the fall of fascism. Lastly it looks at the EU period of Spanish history and at the most compelling challenges of Spain in the 21st century. This course will be equivalent to SISU-280. It counts as a gateway course for the SIS thematic area titled "Global and Comparative Governance."
While in Belgium:
Students take a 3-credit course titled Policy Responses Across Borders: the European Union. Students will learn the origin, growth, and internal makeup of the European Union from the 1950s to today. The course continues with a focus on the internal, interstate, and trans-sovereign challenges faced by the EU in terms of its regional and global mandate. It will then concentrate on the policy responses and institutions designed by the EU to address those challenges. This course will be applied as SIS thematic area credit. It will be applied differently for each student depending upon the topic of the student's research paper.
Independent Research Project:
In parallel to these two three-week sessions, students will also generate an individual research paper drawing on their on-site experience. The culmination of this research gives students 3 credits for SISU-306, Advanced Int’l Studies Research. For more information on SISU-306, refer to the Office of the Registrar's Course Description.
This program is designed as a rigorous academic study program. However, there will be opportunities for students to explore the city in which they are studying. Students are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the city before leaving in order to maximize their time in each location.
At the geographic center of this varied country lies the capital, Madrid. With its elegant architecture dating back to the 16th century, world famous art museums and handsome parks, Madrid is a welcoming environment. Stroll through the lovely Retiro Park on a Sunday morning and enjoy the jugglers and mimes. Treat yourself to "tapas" while taking in the exquisite design of the old Plaza Mayor. Or view the paintings of Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco at the Prado Museum. It's an ideal location to gain worldly experience, study Spain's history and culture, and fine-tune Spanish language skills.
Belgium is at the crossroads of cultures. It is multilingual and multicultural. Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, and it plays host to dozens of other official international organizations. Thousands of international corporations, associations, and non-governmental organizations call Brussels home. It truly is the place where the international community meets. On the streets of Brussels, you will meet people from all over the continent of Europe, and all over the world. Because of this rich history, Brussels is proud to possess a wealth of artistic, architectural and cultural sights.
Each three-week component will contain several half day or full day excursions to relevant sites near Madrid and Brussels. In addition, each three-week section will have one overnight weekend excursion. Possible visits in Madrid include Toledo, El Escorial, Valley of the Fallen, and an overnight excursion in Andalucía to Córdoba, Granada, and Sevilla. Possible visits in Brussels include the Parliamentarium, the European Parliament, NATO, and an overnight excursion to Bruges, Antwerp, and Ghent.
Housing and Meals
In Madrid students live in a studio apartments with two students per unit. In Brussels students live in a homestay. All housing and some meals are included in the cost of the program.
Students are required to participate in a pre-departure orientation at American University. This mandatory session will prepare students for the 6-week summer program. There will also be on site orientations both at AU Madrid and AU Brussels.
Because the program is only 6 weeks in length, US citizens will not need a student visa to enter Spain and Belgium. Non-US citizens may have different requirements and should consult with AU Abroad and the Spanish/Belgium Embassies for visa requirements.