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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Brussels, Belgium
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: BCA Study Abroad 
  • Restrictions: None
Fact Sheet:
Language of instruction: English Housing options: Host family
Minimum GPA: 2.7 Class eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Number of credits: 12-16 Internships: Yes
Program Description:
BrusselsAbout Brussels
As the Capital of Europe, Brussels is the ideal place for students of varying interests and major areas of study to enrich their academic experience.

At BCA's program in Brussels you will study at Vesalius College, an American-style institution with students from around the world.  You'll enroll in courses in a variety of subjects, including communication, economics, history, management, and political science while living near the major institutions of the European Union. There is so much to do and relish in this very relaxed and livable capital city that is fashionable, creative and fun! The city hosts a wide variety of clubs and pubs as well as an excellent music scene with numerous rock, jazz, world music, techno and even folk festivals.

 Brussels is also the bilingual Capital of Belgium, with French and Dutch (Flemish) as official languages. It is a cosmopolitan city in which many different cultures live together and where different languages can be heard on each street. This liveliness and international flair is, of course, intimately related to its role as the crossroads of Europe.

Although the international business and political world form an important part of Brussels’ culture, the quaintness of its cobblestone streets and rich variety of beer, chocolate and lace give the city a warm and festive ambiance. Brussels and the surrounding communities offer numerous festivals, sports events, and a wide variety of expositions, concerts and museums. Brussels is also one of Europe’s greenest cities, boasting many gardens and parks which, due to the mild and somewhat rainy climate, display lush flora all year long. Visitors to Brussels won’t be able to leave without having sampled Belgium’s renowned fine gastronomy, ranging from prize-winning haute cuisine to the tastiest mussels and fries in the world.

Academics
BCA Brussels students attend Vesalius College, which was founded in 1987 by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Boston University to offer undergraduate education in English. As an American-style college, Vesalius takes a humanistic approach to intellectual inquiry, encouraging students to not only learn skills and knowledge important to their chosen careers, but to think critically and develop themselves personally and as citizens of an increasingly multicultural and globalized world.

The college’s teaching methods are characterized by small, interactive classes, flexibility in course selection, and continuous assessment. All classes at Vesalius College are taught in English. As a small college with a student body of approximately 300 (including 50+ nationalities) and a low student-teacher ratio, the faculty is accessible and able to take a personal interest in the success of students to help them achieve their potential. These close working relationships form the cornerstone of the Vesalius educational philosophy.

Academic Departments

Business
In the heart of Europe, Brussels is home to countless internationally operating corporations and organizations including NATO and the European Union. Through Vesalius College’s extensive network, students can establish contacts and pursue networking opportunities that will be valuable throughout their careers. Students learn from a wide range of experienced guest lecturers including senior corporate managers, entrepreneurs, consultants and other business professionals. Vesalius College is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and maintains networking relationships with other local colleges in the Brussels area.

Communications
Studying Communications in Brussels offers students the opportunity to study in one of the world’s largest media centers, the world’s top diplomatic city and home to one of the largest press corps. Students learn from experienced professionals via guest lecturers from media organizations and international corporations, and they gain practical experience thanks to the internship program. Vesalius College’s Communications department is an institutional member of the European Communication Research and Education Association http://www.ecrea.eu, which allows students to connect with other ECREA members through activities, conferences and seminars organised by the association.

International Affairs 
International Affairs students are taught by dedicated professors and leading academics in the field. In addition, they benefit from being in the top diplomatic city in the world by participating in guest lectures from senior policymakers, diplomats and senior practitioners in Brussels’s policymaking arena. This opportunity enables students to acquire theoretical knowledge and a practical, concrete understanding of how this knowledge can be put into practice in the real world.

Another option for courses is Vesalius College's European Peace and Security Studies (EPSS) program, which provides in-depth and unique insights into the changing nature and fundamental challenges of contemporary security issues from a distinct Brussels perspective.

Internships
Vesalius College also provides a variety of internships to students. Internship partners are prestigious and internationally renowned organizations and companies, ranging from European institutions to small start up businesses, from think tanks to international corporations.

Student Life
Most BCA Brussels students live with host families. This is an ideal way to immerse yourself in the Belgian culture. There are also a limited number of available rooms in the student housing near the Vesalius campus. You will have breakfast and dinner with your host family, and BCA will provide a stipend for lunch. There is a student restaurant and some smaller cafes on campus where you can buy an inexpensive lunch. You can also go to the Gare du Midi on Sundays for the Sunday Market, where you’ll find fresh, inexpensive produce.

There are a number of restaurants and snack bars available on the campus that are open throughout the day and evening, cater to a variety of tastes, and offer good value and choice. BCA students use the lunch stipend to purchase groceries at a nearby grocery store and eat at restaurants on campus.

Brussels’ modern and efficient public transportation system includes the metro, trams, premetro (trams that go underground for part of their journey) and buses. They are all run by the Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB in French, MIVB in Flemish). Note: Costs related to local public transportation are the responsibility of the student.

Vesalius College offers a range of social activities to suit all tastes, including many sports and clubs. Past BCA students have enjoyed writing for the school’s newspaper, participating in the business club and working for the student government.

All Vesalius students, including international students, have full access to the athletic facilities (including playing on recreational teams) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and can choose from more than 20 athletic activities including judo, rock climbing, rugby and yoga.

Educational Excursions
The BCA resident director will accompany you on a number of educational excursions and activities throughout the semester.  All costs are included in the program fee. Excursion destinations are likely to change from year to year; here are some activities that past students have enjoyed:

The Magritte Museum
Antwerp
The Tin Tin Museum in Louvain La Neuve
Bastonge and the WWII Monument du Mardasson
A hike in the Ardennes
The Château de Modave