As 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 spend your summer examining 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 also its European society and culture.
Study abroad in Brussels and you will:
- Choose from courses in business, communications, and international relations taught in English; undertake a for-credit internship
- Immerse yourself in Belgian and European culture and society through day excursions to places such as Bruges and the caves of Han; educational activities such as attending French films and visiting local museums; and an excursion to another country such as France, the Netherlands, or Germany
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
Enroll in classes at the only university in Belgium which offers undergraduate level courses taught in English. With a variety of subjects ranging from ‘european patent and trademark laws,’ and ‘management of art and culture’ to ‘understanding the EU’ and ‘topics in European film history,’ you’ll build the perfect program to suit your interests.
Step into the professional world with a for-credit, unpaid internship. 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.
Extracurricular activities and group excursions are organized throughout the study abroad program. Day trips may include visits to Bruges and the caves of Han, Waterloo, and Tournai, and will introduce students to some of the cultural and historical highlights of their host country. Viewings of French and European films and visits to cultural events like the famous Ommegang complete the program’s activities.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Summer 2014 (8 wks)
Program Date Notes
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $340 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** Most students are housed in apartments; however, a limited number of homestays will be available. No meals are included in the program fee for either housing option. After the program starts, homestay students will be billed approximately $560 for breakfast and evening weekday meals, in addition to the program housing costs.
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee *
International Airfare **
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* amount for students in apartments; homestay students should budget $900 for meals not included in billed fees
** round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
Total recommended credit for the summer is 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated. The Internship has 150 contact hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.
All students take two courses or one course plus the internship.
About the City
About The City
Brussels 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, study abroad students feel quickly at home.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
Dr. Michelangelo van Meerten holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He joined CIEE in 2001 as a professor of European Integration for the CIEE Study Center and became the Resident Director in the fall of 2002. Dr. van Meerten has researched and lectured in the field of economics and economic history in Groningen, the Netherlands; Leuven, Louvain-la-Neuve, and Brussels, Belgium; Krakow, Poland; and Barcelona and Madrid, Spain. Michelangelo speaks six Western European languages fluently and has traveled extensively in Europe. His interests and research areas include the history and development of the European continent, transport and communications, European integration, politics, film, and culture.
Bruxelles est une ville que j’adore. C’est l’endroit où l’Europe du nord rencontre l’Europe du sud, où les cultures latines se mélangent avec les traditions anglo-saxonnes et germaniques. Bruxelles s’affirme chaque jour davantage comme capitale de l’Europe. On y trouve différentes institutions européennes, mais aussi l’OTAN et beaucoup de ngo’s et entreprises internationales. Mais la ville accueille également des communautés du bassin méditerranéen, de l’Europe de l’Est, de l’Afrique, et de l’Amérique latine. Cette présence multiculturelle se reflète dans le foisonnement de langues, restaurants, festivals, et activités culturelles qui animent les différents quartiers de la ville. C’est une ville idéale pour connaître l’Europe!
— Michelangelo van Meerten, Resident Director
Chloe Peebles has an M.A in international relations from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels. She has been working for CIEE Brussels since August 2012, but has lived in Brussels since 2006. She grew up in an expat family and lived in different countries (Bulgaria, Haiti, France, USA and Spain) but fell in love with Brussels. She speaks French, English and Spanish fluently. She studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and loves to share her experience in discovering new cultures.
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
Vesalius 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.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Housing is included in the study abroad program fee. There are a number of homestays available with families from a variety of linguistic backgrounds. The non-homestay option, shared housing, includes a combination of individual rooms, with or without other students, and shared common spaces with landlords. Housing is mainly located in the southeast of central Brussels. An excellent public transportation system makes it easy to commute to Vesalius College. All housing placements are made on site at the beginning of the semester.
For shared housing students, meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students have access to cooking facilities in order to prepare their own meals, and may eat meals in Vesalius College cafeterias or area restaurants.
You'll begin your study abroad experience in Brussels even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. Meeting with students online, the resident director shares information about the program and site, highlighting issues that alumni have said are important, and giving you time to ask questions. The online orientation allows you to connect with others in the group, reflect on what you want to get out of the program, and learn what others in the group would like to accomplish. CIEE’s aim for the pre-departure orientation is simple—to help you understand more about the program, and to identify your objectives so that you arrive well-informed and return home having made significant progress towards your goals.
Prior to the start of classes, there is a mandatory two-day orientation organized and conducted by the residential director. The orientation will introduce you to Belgium and Brussels, provide practical information about the host country, daily life, academic program, housing, and cultural and educational differences. It will also enable you and the staff to get to know one another by participating in structured and informal activities including visits to museums, tours, and group meals. Vesalius College also offers a one-day program of academic orientation and social activities prior to classes starting. You will participate in both orientation programs. Ongoing support by CIEE staff is provided on an individual and group basis throughout the study abroad program.
You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enables laptop. All houseing placements provide Internet connections. You'll have access to a small computer lab at Vesalius College, as well as computer labs on the VUB campus; however, hours are limited. Campus is provided with WiFi.
Extracurricular activities and group excursions are organized throughout the study abroad program. Day trips may include visits to Bruges and the caves of Han, Waterloo, and Tournai, and will introduce you to some of the cultural and historical highlights of your host country. Viewings of French and European films and visits to cultural events like the famous Ommegang complete the program’s activities.
Established in 1994, the CIEE Study Center in Brussels moved into its current location at its 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. Students participating in the summer study abroad program have the opportunity to live in the “Capital of Europe” while studying business, communications, and international relations, and potentially undertaking a for-credit internship.
Like other European universities, Vesalius College has been restructured to offer three-year undergraduate degrees. These degrees fall into three main areas—business, communications, and international relations.
Normally, Belgian students follow a set curriculum in their area of specialization and have few elective choices. However, Vesalius College differs from most Belgian universities in that it offers students greater freedom to take elective courses. Classes are often small, averaging fewer than 20 students. Summer classes at Vesalius are intensive, meeting eight hours a week for six weeks. Classes meet either for two hours a day, four days per week or four hours a day, twice a week.
Vesalius College aspires to offer a similar teaching approach to U.S. colleges. But in reality, its teaching style can be quite different because most of its professors and students are products of a European educational system. So while there may be more student-teacher interaction at Vesalius College than at a regular Belgian educational institution, there is likely less than that which U.S. students are accustomed.
Nature of Classes
Students take classes with CIEE and other international students. Of the approximately 300 students who attend Vesalius during the school year, 30% are Belgian nationals, 10% are from the U.S., and the remainder are from more than 60 other countries, including Sweden, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, and Poland.
Final grades are given by Vesalius professors and follow the U.S. system of letter grades, based on a four-point scale—for example, A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, and so on. Course grades are based on a combination of factors and assignments including attendance and participation, research papers, presentations, mid-terms, and final examinations.
Vesalius College offers for-credit, unpaid internship opportunities to juniors and seniors, with participants being awarded a letter grade upon completion. CIEE participants may apply for available slots. However, internships are competitive so there is no guarantee that students will receive a placement. Interested students should submit a résumé and cover letter with their course registration form after admission to the program. All internships require interviews with the sponsor of the internship. While foreign language skills may be an asset, lack of such 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 summer. There is 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. Registration for an internship 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 Instruction
Summer courses are taught by faculty from Vesalius College and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
Below are examples of Vesalius College courses. Other courses in the areas of business, communications, and international relations may be added. Actual course listings are available in the CIEE enrollment materials.
Elementary French I
Democratic Transitions in Central and Eastern Europe
European Patent and Trademark Laws
The European Union in the World
Introduction to Statistics
Islam and Politics in Europe
Lobbying in the EU
Management of Art and Culture
Modernism and After: A Belgian and European Perspective
Organizational Communication and European Diversity
Topics in European Film History
Understanding the European Union: Institutions, Policies, and Partnerships