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OverviewAs 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 examine 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:
The CIEE DifferenceCourseworkIn addition to enrolling in a course on the culture, economy politics of Belgium and it’s people, take advantage of your host institute’s robust, communications course selection including: Marketing and Advertising; Intercultural Communication; Scriptwriting for Radio and Television; International Reporting in Brussels; and Corporate Communications and Public RelationsInternshipsStep out of the classroom and into the professional field. 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.ExcursionsEnjoy a number of extracurricular activities and excursions throughout the semester. Previous day trips have included: Bruges, Luxembourg, Ypres, Waterloo, Bastogne, and Aachen, as well as weekend excursions to France and Germany.You’ll also take part in a number of visits to sites including the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague; European Parliament and Commission in Brussels, and the European Investment Bank or the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Visits to the Brussels Museum of Fine Arts, and regular visits to French and European films complete program activities.CreditTotal recommended credit for a semester is 15 semester/22.5 quarter hours. Total recommended credit for the academic year is 30 semester/45 quarter hours.Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated.Program RequirementsAll study abroad students take five courses including the CIEE core course, Contemporary Europe: The Belgian Experience; one required French or Dutch language course; and three Vesalius courses taught in English.Students with adequate French or Dutch language skills may replace Vesalius courses with regular ULB or VUB courses for a maximum of two regular university courses per semester. Students with advanced language skills may replace the required language course with a regular university course taken for credit. Students chosen for the Vesalius internship may replace one Vesalius course with the internship.About BrusselsBrussels 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, students feel quickly at home.Where You’ll StudyVesalius 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 & MealsHousing is included in the study abroad program fee. There are a limited number of homestays available with families from a variety of linguistic backgrounds. The non-homestay option shared housing is a combination of individual rooms with or without other students and sharing common spaces with landlords. Housing is mainly located in the southeast of central Brussels. An excellent public transportation system makes it easy to commute. All housing placements are made on site at the beginning of the semester.Meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students who opt for a homestay usually share breakfast and evening meals on weekdays with their hosts. Students will be billed approximately four to six weeks after the program start date for the host family meal fee. Students in non-homestay shared housing have access to cooking facilities in order to prepare their own meals and may take meals in university cafeterias and restaurants in the area.Academic ProgramThe CIEE Study Center in Brussels, Belgium was established in 1994 and moved to its current 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. Through its association with the French-speaking ULB and the Dutch-speaking VUB, study abroad students with adequate French or Dutch skills may take or audit courses at these institutions. The CIEE Resident Director facilitates registration for regular university courses.Academic CultureVesalius College, like other European universities, offers three-year undergraduate degrees. These fall into three main areas: business, communications, and international affairs.Vesalius College differs from most Belgian universities in the freedom its students have to take elective courses. Typically, Belgian students follow a set curriculum in their area of specialization and have few elective choices. Classes at Vesalius meet three hours per week for 15 weeks. Classes are often small, with fewer than 20 students on average. While Vesalius aspires to a similar teaching approach as found in the U.S., in practice it can be quite different because most of the professors and students are products of a European educational system. So while there may be more student-teacher interaction at Vesalius than at a regular Belgian educational institution, there will likely be less than U.S. students are accustomed.Class size at ULB and VUB varies but is generally much larger than at Vesalius. The teaching method at ULB and VUB is primarily lecture-style. Students are advised that due to possible changes in the courses offered each term they should be flexible in course selection. Please note that fall semester ULB and VUB courses extend into January, and spring semester courses extend into June. While CIEE students may request permission for early exams, CIEE does not guarantee approval of such requests.Nature of ClassesThe CIEE core course is with other CIEE study abroad students only. French and Dutch language courses are with CIEE and other international students. Regular university courses are with CIEE, Belgian, and other international students.CIEE Community Language CommitmentAs students gain proficiency in French or Dutch, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. The more students participate, the more a community that contributes to French or Dutch language proficiency and understanding of Belgian society develops. Students are also encouraged to participate in conversation tables, organized by CIEE, with local students in an informal setting.Grading SystemFinal grades given by Vesalius professors follow the U.S. system of letter grades and are based on a four-point scale, i.e., A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, etc. Course grades are based on a combination of factors and assignments including attendance and participation, research papers, presentations, and mid-term and final examinations. Final exams at ULB and VUB are usually oral, and the final course grade may be based on a single 15-minute oral exam. Grades are based on a numerical system of one to 20 with 10 considered a passing grade.InternshipVesalius College offers for-credit and unpaid internship opportunities to juniors and seniors, who are awarded a letter grade upon completion. CIEE participants may apply for available slots. However, because internships are competitive, there is no guarantee that students will be assigned an internship. Interested students should submit a résumé and cover letter with their course registration form. All internships require interviews with the sponsor of the internship. Foreign language skills may be an asset; however, a lack of foreign language 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 semester. There will be 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. Students who wish to apply for an internship should send a résumé and cover letter to the resident director before the start of the program. Internship interviews usually take place the week of orientation. Registration for internships 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 InstructionDutchEnglishFrenchFacultyThe CIEE core course is taught by the resident director. Regular college and university courses are taught by faculty from Vesalius College, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, and Université Libre de Bruxelles.