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Study Abroad in Brussels
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Program Overview

Program Overview

You’ll feel like you’ve landed in the center of everything in the beautiful city of Brussels, considered to be the heart of Europe. At the prestigious Université Libre de Bruxelles, you’ll improve your French or Dutch language skills while absorbing everything you can about Belgium’s culture and politics. With peer language mentors, internship opportunities, and exciting cultural activities and excursions, the Advanced Liberal Arts program gives you an absorbing international experience.

In Brussels you will:

  • Enroll in French-taught courses in humanities, take classes with Belgian and other European students, and join a university club
  • Integrate into the university environment with the help of student mentors
  • Participate in field trips to European Union institutions and excursions in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Germany
  • Visit The Hague, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, NATO, and the Museum of Fine Arts
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Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships & Grants

We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $5 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.

Applicants to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence

    $2,500 toward program costs. To recognize high academic achievement, CIEE offers a limited number of merit scholarships to our strongest students. These awards are based on students’ academic records, and on the submission of a personal essay describing to us how their CIEE program will impact their college experience and future career plans.

    https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/scholarships-grants/

  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants

    The GAIN Grant helps cover airfare costs to and from CIEE program locations for students who demonstrate high financial need. GAIN Grants are available for short-term (January and summer), semester and year-long CIEE programs.

    https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/scholarships-grants/

  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

    Applicants for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship can apply for the CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant, which provides both program cost support and support for airfare. Students will have to provide proof of having applied to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, upon request.

    https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/scholarships-grants/

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.
Apply now

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The CIEE Difference

The CIEE Difference

Coursework

Gain full access to the curriculum at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). At ULB You can study anything from anthropology and art history to language, film, business, economics, and political science. Want to improve your language skills to better follow your regular university courses at ULB? Courses in advanced grammar and composition are waiting.

The CIEE core course taught by the CIEE Resident Director gives you an overview of the history, politics and arts of your host country, while the presentations and essays will brush up your French, giving you a good preparation for the exams.

study abroad in Belgium

Excursions and Cultural Activities

There’s so much to see as you explore Belgium and neighboring countries. Exciting day trips take you to places like Bruges, Liège or Tournai, The Hague, Aachen, Luxembourg, and more. Experience the traditional Mardi Gras parade in Binche or the graffiti tour in Brussels, and immerse yourself in European culture and history during a three-day trip to Normandy or Alsace. And don’t forget about the sports facilities and student clubs available on campus. You’ll have fun and get to know your peers.

Internships

Make the most of a great opportunity. You’ll have a choice of for-credit internships in subjects ranging from communications to business to international affairs. Past placements have included working in the office of a Member of the European Parliament; assisting with communication for an NGO specialized in European citizens’ rights; and helping to prepare a new permanent exhibit at the Royal Museum for Central Africa.

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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.

The program fee includes:

  • 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.
Program
Application Due
Start Date
End Date
Costs
Spring 2017 (21 wks)
11/15/2016
01/30/2017
06/25/2017
$18,850

Program Date Notes

Program Fees

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, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
$300
Educational Costs **
$14,533
Housing
$3,850
Insurance
$167

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 $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

Estimated Additional Costs

Meals not included in program fee
$2,600
International Airfare *
$1,150
Local Transportation
$500
Books & Supplies
$275
Visa Fees
$420
Potential travel to consulate for visa
$500
Personal expenses
$2,650

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.

* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

More Information
Fall 2017 (20 wks)
05/01/2017
09/11/2017
01/28/2018
$18,850

Program Date Notes

Program Fees

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, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
$300
Educational Costs **
$14,533
Housing
$3,850
Insurance
$167

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 $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

Estimated Additional Costs

Meals not included in program fee
$2,600
International Airfare *
$1,150
Local Transportation
$500
Books & Supplies
$275
Visa Fees
$420
Potential travel to consulate for visa
$500
Personal expenses
$2,650

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.

* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

More Information
Spring 2018 (21 wks)
11/15/2017
01/29/2018
06/24/2018

Program Date Notes

Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.

Program Fees

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 $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

Estimated Additional Costs

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.

More Information
Academic year 2017-2018 (41 wks)
05/01/2017
09/11/2017
06/24/2018

Program Date Notes

Program Fees

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 $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

Estimated Additional Costs

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.

More Information
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Eligibility
2.7 Overall GPA

Eligibility

  • Overall GPA 2.7
  • 6 semesters college-level French or equivalent
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Recommended Credit

Recommended Credit

Total credit for a semester is 15-18 semester/22.5-27 quarter hours. Total credit for the academic year is 30-36 semester/45-54 quarter hours.

CIEE courses are 45 hours for 3 U.S. credits.

ULB courses are typically the equivalent of 3 U.S. semester credits / 4.5 quarter hours. ECTS credits at ULB are converted by CIEE into U.S. semester credit equivalents, typically following a 2 ECTS = 1 U.S. semester credit philosophy. It is important to note, however, that CIEE counts both 5 ECTS and 6 ECTS credit classes as 3 U.S. credits. ULB’s standard is 5 ECTS credits per course; yet, if a student takes the class outside of the academic department of his or her major, ULB assigns one additional ECTS credit to the course for that student (e.g. a Literature major may decide to take a 5 ECTS Communications class, but since she is not a Communications major, ULB will give the student 6 ECTS credits for this class, even though the class meeting time and assignments do not differ from those of any other student in the course).

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Program Requirements

Program Requirements

All study abroad students take at least five courses, including the CIEE core course, Contemporary Europe: The Belgian Experience, (taught in French). At least three courses should be chosen from the courses offered within one Faculty of specialization (either the Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communications or Philosophy and Social Sciences, or the Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management). Two other courses can be chosen from the course offering of that same Faculty or from one of the other two Faculties. ULB uses the ECTS grading scale, a framework designed by the European Commission to streamline the transfer of credits between European countries with different credit scales. All CIEE students are required to enroll in the equivalent of 15 U.S. credits, or 25 ECTS. The number of ULB courses that each student takes may vary. The general ULB course format is 5 ECTS. A typical course load consists of five courses of five ECTS each.

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About the City

About The City

Beautiful, historic Brussels has become one of Europe’s must-see destinations because of its charm, trendy restaurants and nightclubs, shopping, museums, festivals, and more. The capital and largest city of Belgium is a mecca of fashion, art, design, and culture. 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 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.

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Meet The Staff

Meet The Staff

Staff Image

Michelangelo vanMeerten

Resident Director

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. Michelangelo has researched and lectured in the field of economics and economic history in Groningen, the Netherlands; Leuven, Louvain-la-Neuve; 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.

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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

Staff Image

Monika Ramos

Program Coordinator

Monika Ramos received a Bachelor degree in Political Science as well as a Bachelor in French language and Culture from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and is now doing her Masters in Political Science at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) . Monika studied abroad with CIEE in Brussels, in fall 2011 as a Business, Communications and Culture (BCC) student and in spring 2012 in the Advanced Liberal Arts (ALA) program. She has lived in different countries (Mexico, Ireland the USA, Belgium and the Czech Republic) and has resided permanently in Brussels since 2014. She speaks French, English and Spanish fluently and is currently learning Dutch. She loves to share her love of Belgium and her experience in discovering new cultures.

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Where You'll Study

Where You'll Study

The Université Libre de Bruxelles is a private research university in Brussels, Belgium. It has about 24,200 students, 32% of whom come from abroad. The main campus – where the Faculties of Letters, Translation and Communication and Philosophy, Political and Social Sciences, and the Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management are located, is known as the Solbosch campus and is located in southeast Brussels.

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Housing & Meals

Housing & Meals

study abroad in Belgium

Shared housing is included in the study abroad program fee. Students stay in 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. 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 have access to cooking facilities to prepare their own meals and may also eat meals in university cafeterias or area restaurants.

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Orientations

Orientations

Online Pre-Departure and On-Site Orientations

You'll begin your study abroad experience in Brussels even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. The resident director meets with students online and 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 identify your goals.

Prior to the start of each semester, there is a mandatory three-day orientation organized and conducted by CIEE at a hostel in downtown Brussels. 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, and enable you and the staff to get to know one another by participating in structured and informal activities that may include visits to museums, tours, and group meals. Ongoing support by CIEE staff is provided on an individual and group basis throughout the program.

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Internet

Internet

You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. Wireless connections in the home are as common in Brussels as in the U.S. so you can expect to have Internet connections at your housing. However, you may find the availability of bandwidth to be more restricted than in the U.S. You will have access to an on- campus computer laboratory as well as computers in the ULB library. To access a number of online forums, it's recommended you open an email account at the ULB. You should expect to use the computer labs or one of the numerous cyber cafés in Brussels.

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Culture

Culture

Cultural Activities and Field Trips

study abroad in Belgium

Extracurricular activities and occasional group excursions are organized throughout the semester. Day trips may include Bruges, Luxembourg, Ypres, Bastogne, and Aachen and weekend excursions may include sites in France and Germany. Day trips to the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, European Parliament and Commission in Brussels, NATO (SHAPE) in Mons, European Investment Bank, or European Court of Justice in Luxembourg may also occur. Nearby attractions include the Brussels Museum of Fine Arts and a chocolate factory, and regular visits to see French and European films complement program activities. You will also have access to sports facilities at the ULB and may participate in student clubs and activities as well at Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Mentoring Program

CIEE and the ULB collaborate on a mentoring program for study abroad students. Mentors are available to help you integrate into the university environment and serve as contacts in your classes. The ULB has a very highly developed student network in the classroom as well as online. Mentors serve as a bridge to this network as well as to all aspects of student life.

Internship

CIEE offers a limited number of for-credit and unpaid internship opportunities to juniors and seniors and you may apply for available slots. However, because internships are competitive, there is no guarantee that you will be assigned an internship. If you're interested, you must submit a résumé and cover letter to CIEE. All internships require an interview with the sponsor of the internship once on site.

You 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 academic advisor and/or resident director. You must receive approval from your home institution to enroll in an internship. Registration for internships takes place only after arrival in Brussels and after you have been accepted by the institution, organization, or company offering the internship.

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Academics

Academics

The CIEE Study Center in Brussels, Belgium, was established in 1994 and began its pilot program at the ULB in 2006. The CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program opened its doors in spring 2009. The Advanced Liberal Arts program is specifically designed for students with upper-level French language skills who want the challenge of direct matriculation within a European university. The program is particularly well-suited for those with an interest in communications, language, literature, philosophy, history, political science, and business and economics.

Academic Culture

ULB, like other European universities, offers three-year undergraduate degrees, organized into different faculties. The CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program is associated with the Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communication, the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, and the Solvay Brussels School for Management and Economics.

The academic culture of ULB courses follows a traditional European model. Students attend lectures for a semester or year and usually take a single oral exam at the end of the course to determine their grade. Papers are usually not required for these courses, making the final exam that much more important. Some courses may also include presentations or written assignments.

Class size at ULB varies, but is generally much larger than typical U.S. courses. The teaching method at ULB 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. Fall semester ULB courses extend into January, and spring semester courses extend into June. Professors may be willing to administer the final exam earlier than the officially scheduled date, allowing fall students to depart mid- to late December and spring students to depart in late May or early June, but CIEE cannot be responsible for arranging or guaranteeing early exams.

Nature of Classes

Students take regular university courses with Belgian students and a limited number of other international students.

CIEE Community Language Commitment

Students take part in the CIEE Community Language Commitment by speaking French at all times (except in emergencies). This fosters a learning community that will contribute to both French language proficiency and understanding of Belgian society. Study abroad students are also encouraged to participate in bi- weekly conversation tables, organized by CIEE, with ULB students at a local café.

Grading System

Grades are based on a numerical system of one to 20, with a 10 considered a passing grade. Course grades are usually based on a single, oral final exam.

Language

ULB offers a limited number of upper intermediate and advanced French language classes designed for study abroad students. Students who wish to take a French language class should indicate this well before the start program. Placement in the appropriate language level is based on language exams administered at the beginning of the program by ULB.

Students who wish to take a Dutch language course can do so at the VUB campus and should indicate their interest in doing so well before the start program. Placement in the appropriate language level is based on language exams administered at the beginning of the program by CVO.

Students are strongly encouraged to take part in the tandem program developed by ULB. The tandem is a language-learning program where students are paired with local students, participate in social activities, maintain a logbook, and complete a final assessment. The tandem program can be taken for credit.

Language of Instruction

French

Faculty

The core course is taught by the CIEE resident Director. Regular university courses are taught by faculty from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

All Courses

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 canceled 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.

Required Core Course

Students must take the semester core course below. The core courses are regular ULB courses focusing on Belgian history supplemented by seminars and site visits led by the CIEE resident director.

HIST 3003 BULB

Contemporary Europe: The Belgian Experience (In French)
This course is intended to provide a better understanding of the culture, economy, politics, and history of Belgium as well as the different identities of its inhabitants. It supplies an appreciation of Belgium’s relations with the rest of the world and, in particular, with its neighboring countries. By the end of the course, students will grasp the complex evolution of the different cultures that coexist on the Belgian territory and gain a better understanding of the process of European integration at large. Contact hours: 45. Credit: 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours.

CIEE Elective Course—Fall and Spring

INSH 3003 BULB

Internship
With permission from their home institution, qualified students may apply for an internship for credit while in Brussels. After acceptance to the program, interested students must submit a résumé and cover letter to apply for a limited number of internship placements. Once on site, students will interview with sponsoring organizations or companies and if selected, students should be prepared for a workload of 150 hours over the course of the semester. There will be a mid-term meeting with the academic advisor and/or CIEE resident director and students will submit a final research paper, using their internship experience to make inferences about relevant issues in the field.

ULB French Language Courses
For students who wish to improve their language skills to better follow their regular university courses at the ULB, courses are offered in advanced grammar and composition. Please visit the website for information http://www.ulb.ac.be/enseignements/cours-francais/index-6.html .

ULB Courses at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, and Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management
Following are examples of course areas offered at ULB. Additional courses in the social sciences may be added. The ULB course areas listed are representative of courses available each year, but CIEE cannot guarantee specific courses are offered each semester. Go to the webpages of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at www.ulb.ac.be/facs/philo, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at www.soco-ulb.be, and Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management at www.solvay.edu for additional course information.

Ancient Languages and Literature, Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Belgian Studies, Business, Communications, Economics, Film Studies, French Language and Literature, Germanic Language and Literature, History, Information Science, Labor Relations, Management, Modern Languages and Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion Studies, Romance Languages, and Literature, Sociology

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