The IES Study Abroad Programme runs from mid-January to the end of May, in line with the US academic schedule. The programme consists of an introduction week for students upon their arrival in Brussels, one EU-intensive course taught by the faculty at the IES and one elective at Vesalius College, a final paper and an internship in a Brussels-based organisation. The IES Study Abroad Programme corresponds with 15 US Credits (or 30 ECTS).

Introductory week

The introduction week provides students with comprehensive and practical information about their stay. We organise a variety of enjoyable activities such as a welcome dinner with IES staff and walking tour in the beautiful city of Bruges. There is also a reception for all study abroad students from IES and Vesalius College (VeCo), along with detailed information sessions on various topics. Topics covered during the introduction week include internship possibilities, academic expectations and practical information about living and studying in Belgium. It’s also a chance for the study abroad students to get to know one another and become acquainted with Brussels.

EU REDUX: European Union institutions and policy-making

This module, taught by the Institute for European Studies, is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the major facets of the European Union: its foundations, its institutions, its decision-making methods, and its core public policies. The changing nature of the EU is examined, challenging students to see it simultaneously as a series of inter-locking institutions, a regional actor, an emerging power, a gatekeeper and a vanguard actor. The module is taught in fifteen x 3-hour segments, comprising a formal lecture, followed by an extended, interactive seminar.

VeCo elective courses

Students may choose from a wide variety of Vesalius College courses, ranging from Business courses such as Principles of Marketing or Introduction to International Business, French and Dutch language courses at different levels, Communication courses such as European Communication Policies or International Communication, and International Relations courses such as Comparative States and Public Institutions or Dilemmas of European Integration. Currently, there are over 40 elective courses on offer.

Final paper

Throughout the Study Abroad Programme, students are requested to write and defend a research paper under the supervision of IES staff. Papers can be written on a multitude of subjects provided they touch on current aspects of European affairs. The Institute has many research experts that are available for assistance, inspiration and advice when researching and writing the final paper.


The Programme includes an internship of a minimum of 100 hours. The Internship Programme offers semester-long, unpaid, graded internships with distinguished partner organisations on topics related to EU politics, research and/or education. Amongst others, current partners include Carnegie Europe, the Global Governance Institute, the Brussels Diplomatic Academy and UNICA Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe.

All coursework is in English, with the opportunity to study Dutch or French as an elective.

For more details: Study guide 2017