The choice of Brussels and Belgium is propitious in several ways: a space where several European cultures meet; a nation-State emblematic of and central to the great political and geopolitical constructs of the 19th century; emblematic also of the great European university tradition and of the tradition of humanism; an historically important European capital, including within the great empires (Roman, Spanish, Germanic), and today the policy and decisional center of the European Union as well as home to a lively, multi-lingual, contemporary, and urbanized European culture.
IFE’s Field Study and Internship programs turn the European professional workplace into an effective learning space, a broad interface with another culture whereby students become fluent in French, deeply familiar with contemporary European society(ies), and more knowledgeable in their chosen field of study or work, gaining both know-how and comparative knowledge.
The Brussels Field Study and Internship program takes place in both the fall and spring, over the course of an 18 week semester. The semester begins with 5 weeks of intensive interdisciplinary courses, followed by a 12 week full time internship, in the student’s field. During the internship, students conduct independent field research, delving into a topic in depth and producing a 30 page paper on subject.
Have the required GPA and prerequisite courses for the program. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a minimum of a B+ average through five semesters of French (or the equivalent) are eligible to apply.
Students must have completed three semesters of college before studying abroad. Goucher cannot guarantee that any sophomore will be accepted by the host institution.
Declare a major in order to study abroad for a semester
Students cannot be on academic or disciplinary probation at the time of application
The overall approach is to train students in multiple ways of examining contemporary Brussels and Belgium both for their own sake as well as for what they embody of European realities past and present, cultural, political, societal. Once prepared in this way, students will be able to continue this learning path through intensive professional engagement in their chosen area.
A note on local languages and Flemish culture: As is only fitting for student interns preparing for engagement in a multilingual setting, the preparatory session also includes 15-20 hours of Dutch language instruction, to equip students with a minimum of conversational capacity (my name is...etc.), as an act of cultural sensitivity and yet another gateway into local society.
Three courses comprise the Preparatory Session (+ conversational Dutch)
Course I - Belgium: A contemporary European culture
This course is intended to build students’ understanding of what it is to be Belgian and European by examining Belgian history through the lens of culture – and in particular literature and art – in the first three sessions, and then by focusing the last three sessions on three important aspects of contemporary Belgian culture: fiction, comic book art and cinema. Culture and identity is the sub-theme of the course, throughout the six sessions, brought out in both what is specifically Belgian in cultural terms and what are the quintessential European foundations of being Belgian.
Course II - Brussels in Belgium and in Europe: A socio-urbanist approach
The goal of this course is to draw on Sociology, Economics and Urban Studies to understand Brussels specifically, and the Belgian cityscape more generally, in the context of European urban experience. Furthermore, examining the city will help students to grasp the sociological characteristics of Belgium in a European framework and in counterpoint to the United States.
By focusing on dynamics and problems – demographics, social stratification, social stakes, labor markets, migrations, inter-cultural relations, relation to Europe, Brussels’ role as a national and European capital, etc. – a multidimensional and integrative viewpoint is constructed.
Course III - Belgium in Europe and the World: A historical approach
This course enables students to situate Belgium in the “concert of nations” since the 19th century, using a joint historical/geo-political approach, as a method for illustrating major historical and political trends of Europe qua Europe. Questions examined include the colonial past and its lingering impact at home, the impact of two world wars, as well as the role of Belgium in the long and incomplete phenomenon of European integration. Belgium serves at once as the focus of examination as well as an illustration of larger European issues: the past, present and future of the nation-state, war and peace, colonialism and post-colonialism, sub- and supranational community and other issues.
During the internship period
It is during the internship period that students work individually with their research advisor to delineate a research topic, set an outline, define sources, and produce the independent study field research project.
Student-interns also return weekly to IFE premises to attend a third academic course, a seminar which examines what it is to be European, including in practical daily terms, and searches for answers on several levels to this question.
Course IV - What is Europe? Culture, Institutions, Society(ies)
This course intends to deepen the understanding of Europe on the part of student-interns who are involved daily in the work life of Brussels by exploring more fully certain themes of the preparatory session, as well as introducing new themes such as an examination of the various “Europes” and “balconies” comprising the continent; the institutional environment; a study of European public opinion, democratization of the EU, and the notion of European citizenship; the relation of politics and culture in Europe (e.g. the impact of transnational space on local cultural identities). The question of what it is to be European, including in practical daily terms, and the search for answers on several levels serves as the organizing principle of the course.
Since Goucher students are fully enrolled at Goucher and receive Goucher credit while abroad, they pay regular Goucher tuition for any Goucher semester abroad program. This payment is regardless of the cost advertised and is charged by the program itself. Students pay the non-academic costs (i.e. room and board) in part or in full to Goucher or directly to the study abroad organization or overseas institution depending on the program. Estimated additional costs that a student may incur in attending these programs are listed on the Budget Expense Worksheet for each program. You can utilize institutional and federal aid for a Goucher semester program.
Any awarded financial aid may be used as payment for semester programs sponsored by Goucher College; however; you are allowed to transport your Goucher institutional aid for only one semester, unless you participate in the Goucher Oxford University yearlong program. In addition, all students are eligible to apply for Goucher OIS scholarships and can apply during the program application process. For information on OIS and outside scholarships please visit the OIS scholarship/financial aid section.
To apply for an OIS scholarship please submit your application by the study abroad application deadline for this program through the following application:
A $500 deposit is due upon application. Study abroad program costs are billed through your Goucher student account and are due at the same time as regular semester fees. Please refer to the Budget Expense Worksheet for details for this program.
The $500 deposit paid upon application is applied to the student’s account and becomes non-refundable when accepted by Goucher College and the host program. If you are not accepted into a program, your deposit will be refunded.
If for any reason, a student withdraws from a Goucher semester after the deposit deadline, he or she will not be entitled to a refund of any fees paid to Goucher, including program deposit, tuition fees, travel fees, or any other fees incurred in connection with the program. If, due to any unforeseen circumstances or other circumstances beyond the control of the college, a semester Goucher program is cancelled, either prior to departure or during the course of the program, the student will not be guaranteed a refund of any fees paid to Goucher, including program deposit, tuition fees, travel fees, program fees, or any other fees incurred in connection with the program. In most cases, the college forwards program fees to vendors in foreign countries, making it very difficult to recover such fees due to a program cancellation. In such cases, the college will make a good-faith effort to recover such fees and to return any portion of fees that it may recover that may be attributable to a student’s participation in the program. However, the college makes no guarantees regarding the recovery of fees and is not liable for any fees that it is unable to recover.
A successful semester abroad is dependent upon adequate preparation. Students will participate in online orientation material prior to the mandatory group orientation prior to leaving Goucher for the semester prior to studying abroad. Dates will be provided upon study abroad acceptance.
Students are required to have passports for all Goucher programs. Failure to have a passport will prohibit participation in the program. Passports take time to process and need to be valid for six months after your return to the U.S. Check your expiration date and renew if necessary. Please see the U S State Department section on passports
A student visa is required to study in Belgium. The process is tedious and time consuming so please take a look at the process as explained by IFE and make sure you can devote the time to this visa application before electing this program. The visa application needs to be filed 8-10 weeks before you plan to leave the US. Amongst numerous other documents, parent or guardian must be able to show proof of financial solvency (details on the Belgium visa website).
Non-US Citizens check with your home country consulate, as well as the embassy of the country in which you plan to study, regarding visa requirements. Permanent Residents of the US should check with US immigration as leaving the country for more than one year may jeopardize permanent resident status. Tax clearance and re-entry forms may also be necessary in these cases.
All students participating on Semester, Year or ICA Goucher programs will be automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan tailored to meet the needs of study abroad students. Students participating in Goucher semester programs will be billed $300. The insurance carrier is ACE American Insurance Company.
Prior to the start of the program abroad, OIS staff will register students for the insurance program. Students will receive information about how to use the health insurance policy from the Office of International Studies prior to departure for study abroad.
Students with Disabilities
Goucher encourages all students who meet our eligibility requirements to consider studying abroad. OIS will work with you regarding any special needs you may have. However, we cannot guarantee that any or all of our program sites can accommodate all of your needs or interests. More information can be found on the OIS Disabilities Support section of the website.
Research the fact sheet for your location of interest on the U.S. State Department website for information on LGBTI rights, women travelers, safety and security, religious, and accessibility/mobility laws and information.
On the CIA World Factbook website, look for your host country’s page and research the “People and Society” section, where you can find the breakdown by ethnic group, religion, and race.