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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
Program Description




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. 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 also its European society and culture. Study abroad in Brussels and you will have the opportunity to:
  • Enroll in English-taught courses in communications, international relations, and Belgian culture, and work with a local organization through a for-credit internship
  • Advance language skills in a French-taught course at the Université Libre de Bruxelles or a Dutch-taught course at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels
  • Join CIEE on field trips to EU institutions, excursions within Belgium and to France, the Netherlands, and Germany, and local cultural activities


Triumph Arch


Location Details

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.

Visa Information

U.S. citizens may require a visa in order to participate in this program*. Limited information about the visa application process may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office and/or your host institution, but it is your sole responsibility to research, apply, and secure a visa if required. Failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy. 

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas.  If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.

*At the time of writing. This information is subject to change without notice; students should independently confirm this requirement with the relevant consulate/embassy.


Academic Program & Courses

Where You'll Study - Vesalius College
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. 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.

Academic Program

The 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, 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.

Vesalius 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.

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 with their ASU Internship Coordinator whether credit may be awarded. 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.

Academic Culture
Vesalius 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.

Program Requirements
For semester programs, all study abroad students take five courses. 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.

For the summer program, all students take two courses or one course plus the internship.

Total 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.

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.

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 introduces students to Belgium and Brussels; provides practical information about the host country, daily life, the academic program, housing, cultural and educational differences; and enables participants and staff to get to know one another while participating in structured and informal activities that can include visits to museums, a bus tour, walking tours, and group meals. "Survival French" prepares the participants to live in a primarily French-speaking environment. Some "Survival Dutch" is introduced as well. Vesalius also offers a three-day program of academic orientation and social activities prior to the start of semester courses. CIEE students participate in both orientation programs. Ongoing support is provided on an individual and group basis throughout the program.

CIEE BrusselsVesalius
Town Hall

Photos courtesy of CIEE


CIEE Brussels

CIEE Brussels

Photos courtesy of CIEE

Program Housing

Housing is included in the program fee. There are a limited number of homestays available with families from a variety of linguistic backgrounds. The non-homestay option 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 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.

Students have access to a small computer lab with limited computers and hours at Vesalius College. At ULB, students have access to a computer lab and computers in the ULB library. Students with laptop computers are strongly encouraged to bring them and may hook their laptops up to the Internet at Vesalius College and the wireless network at VUB. Students are expected to open an email account upon receipt of their VUB student card. Wireless connections in the home are as common in Brussels as in many parts of the U.S.; however, an Internet connection is not guaranteed. Participants should expect to use the computer labs or one of the numerous cyber cafés in Brussels.

Cultural Activities and Field Trips
Extracurricular activities and occasional group excursions are organized throughout the semester. In previous semesters, day trips have included Bruges, Luxembourg, Ypres, Waterloo, Bastogne, and Aachen, as well as weekend excursions to France and Germany. Day trips to the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, NATO, European Parliament and Commission in Brussels, and the European Investment Bank or the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg have also taken place. Visits to the Brussels Museum of Fine Arts, and regular visits to French and European films complete program activities. Participants also have access to sports facilities at VUB and may participate in student clubs and activities at Vesalius as well as at ULB and VUB.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Belgium, older areas of Brussels and older and rural towns and villages often have narrow streets and sidewalks that may prove difficult to navigate.

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. 

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. 

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services. For example, in Belgium, racism and discrimination do occur, but seem to be directed more towards immigrants from Africa or the Middle East. Students not of European descent may have difficulty finding personal care products and services.

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

Partnership program participants will NOT pay ASU tuition for the courses completed abroad.  Instead, participants will pay a Program Fee as a condition of participation. Partnership program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the published Program Fee. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the Fall semesterSpring semesterAcademic Year, and Summer semester cost sheet for information on current program fees and any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sightsee or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-program activities.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Please see Financing Your Study Abroad Program for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. Review the Considering Costs Table for a general overview and cost comparison of popular programs.
  2. Be sure to reference the Fall semesterSpring semester or Academic Year cost sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  3. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  4. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  5. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  6. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  7. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program



Dates & Deadlines
Dates & Deadlines
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2020 10/15/2019
Rolling Admission 01/20/2020 05/15/2020
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.
Fall Semester 2020 04/01/2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.
Academic Year 2020-2021 04/01/2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed in host institution acceptance materials.
Spring Semester 2021 10/15/2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision tasks prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed