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  • Locations: Brussels, Belgium; Madrid, Spain
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: AU applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Advisor: Brita Doyle Click here for a definition of this term Advising Required: No
Language Pre-requisite: None Minimum GPA: 2.75
Class Level Required for Admission: Sophomore standing Click here for a definition of this term Non-AU Students Accepted by AU: No
Language of Instruction: English Language Courses Offered: No
Housing: Homestay, Shared Apt. Internship: No
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Not Direct Enrollment
Program Description:

Is this Program Right for You?

AU Abroad and the School of Public Affairs (SPA) will offer a 6-week study abroad program at the AU Madrid and AU Brussels Centers for the SPA Politics, Policy and Law (PPL) Scholars during the Summer 2017 term.  The program will spend the first three weeks in Spain and the last three weeks in Belgium.  Students will study a range of policy and legal issues from historical and contemporary perspectives.  Students will earn 6 credits upon successful completion of the program.  The program runs concurrent with the SIS Global Scholars program. 

Student in carnival masks   Holding up a Belgium soccer scarf   Students holding Spanish folding fans


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 and politics 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

Both courses in the program will count towards the PPL degree either in the major's core program as a government requirement or as elective credit toward the degree.  Each student will determine exactly where the courses will count in conjunction with the student’s academic counselor.

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 will be applied as core or elective credit towards the PPL degree.

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 core or elective credit  towards the PPL degree.

Student Life

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.


Spanish paella at a street market

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.  Belgium waffle topped with whipped cream and chocolateBrussels 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.

Visa Information

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.

Group photo in ToledoGroup photo in Brussels

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 02/01/2019
Varies by program 05/09/2019 06/23/2019
NOTE: Students should reserve a flight that arrives in Brussels on the arrival date and departs from Madrid on the end date. That means that you will leave the USA on the day before the start date in order to arrive in Brussels on the start date. Your flight returning home from Spain should be leaving Madrid on the listed program end date. Separately, AU Abroad will book your transportation for travel from Brussels to Madrid in the middle of the program.

** 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.