Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the administrative center of the European Union, is a multi-cultural city with two official languages - French and Dutch. With a population of approximately 180,000 in the central district and over 1.2 million in the greater metropolitan area, Brussels is a city of fine food, café culture, and architectural gems from the medieval to the modern age. In addition to serving as the headquarters of both NATO and the EU, Brussels is also home to numerous museums of art, history, and science, as well as quirkier finds like the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate and the Centre for Comic Strip Arts.
About the Program
Hobart and William Smith Colleges maintain an affiliation with the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG), a collaborative initiative between the Institute for European Studies and Vesalius College, an English language division of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The BSoG has an enrollment of approximately 500 students from over 50 nations and is part of a larger university community of 10,000 students through the city of Brussels.
Students may take courses in economics, European studies, history, international relations, politics, and peace/security studies, among other disciplines. A centerpiece of the program is a credit-bearing, intensive internship with a European organization, arranged by BSoG/Vesalius staff. (Note that internship placements are competitive and are not guaranteed.)
All students will take four courses, including a language course (either French or Dutch) at an appropriate level. Students with an internship placement will select two electives from the BSoG course catalog while others will select three electives. Detailed course lists are available here.
This program will be of particular interest to students in economics, history, political science, peace studies, and international relations. Internships are offered with a wide-range of entities including NGO's, financial institutions, legal and political organizations, and other institutions.
This program is open to juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing who have a minimum GPA of 2.75. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.
Students may choose to reside in a homestay with a local Belgian family or in a student residence arranged by BSoG/Vesalius staff. All homestay families speak English and are within commuting distance of the University. Each student has their own bedroom and host families provide breakfast daily and dinner on weeknights. Students have access to host-family kitchen facilities to prepare their own meals (or they may choose to eat out) for lunch daily and for dinner on weekends.
Alternatively, students may choose a student residence option offered by BSoG/Vesalius; this option is self-catering and consists of a furnished room in a residence where students will have access to kitchen facilities and are responsible for their own meals.
The Brussels program is not a “study abroad program” in the traditional sense in that HWS students will be directly enrolled at the BSoG/Vesalius College. While there will not be excursions designed specifically for HWS students, it is very easy for students to plan outings in Belgium and beyond. There are also local travel agencies nearby to assist those planning their own travel.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a four-course semester, health insurance, and internship placement if applicable. Note that no room or board charge is included. Students opting for the homestay will pay their housing fee directly to the BSoG housing coordinator and will receive 11 meals per week included with this fee. Homestay students should plan to bring a portion of their board fee with them (approximately $1200-$1400) to cover meals not included.
Those opting for the student residence will pay room fees directly to the residential facility and should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses. Room costs will vary depending on the option chosen but should range from $3000-$3700. While meal expenses will vary according to individual tastes, we estimate that $2300-$2500 should be sufficient for students who prepare their own meals.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1100—$1300 from the East Coast, books at $250, and visa at $420. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,500 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
This program is offered every Fall semester.
All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in late September/early October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
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