The Brussels Field Study and Internship Program
IFE is a European not-for-profit institute founded in 1988 committed to trans-Atlantic understanding through exploration of European perspectives. IFE provides language-based, credit-bearing education abroad programming to US colleges and universities.
Field Study and Internship programs in Andalucía, Asturias, Strasbourg, Paris, and Brussels are built around in-depth field experience and guided research, for which students prepare through classroom instruction and inter-cultural training.
Brussels is not only the policy center of the European Union, but a lively, multi-lingual European capital with a distinct culture. At a geographic and cultural crossroads, Brussels offers opportunities to explore a multitude of fields from both local and European perspectives.
It is a city with a youthful population, a center of research and intellectual activity, suffused by an intense cultural life focused on contemporary creativity in all the arts. Neighborhood-based but thoroughly international, Brussels is an exciting place to live while offering students the fullest range of internship possibilities from IR research to a theater and cultural center, or neighborhood activist organizations.
The Brussels Field Study and Internship program takes place in both the fall and spring, over the course of an 18 week semester. The first 5 weeks are spent in intensive interdisciplinary courses taught by local university professors at the IFE center, followed by a 12-week full-time internship in the student’s field. As part of the internship, students conduct field research, delving into an issue and producing a 30-page independent study. Placements can be found for any discipline.
-Program in Detail-
Weeks 1-5: Preparation
All students take part in 3 interdisciplinary courses covering politics, history, culture, and the urban development of the city. There are also site visits around the city, and a discussion-based course focused on oral expression. During this period students become comfortable navigating the city, the culture, and especially the language.
I. Belgium: A Contemporary European Culture
II. Brussels in Belgium and in Europe: A socio-urbanist approach
III. Belgium in Europe and the World: A historical approach
Week 6: Travel Break:
Students have a week to relax and explore the city, the surrounding countryside, and visit the rest of Europe, which is easily accessible by train and air travel.
Weeks 7-18: The Internship
The Internship Placement
The core of the semester is a full-time internship where students improve their language skills and cultural expertise while gaining insight into Belgian and European society. IFE works closely with each student – and with a broad variety of organization types -- to ensure a productive fit between the intern’s objectives, the work environment, and the subject matter of the internship.
The independent field research project
IFE students engage even further with their individually-tailored internship through a guided research project using primary sources to examine an important issue in the work of their host organization. Individual advising and instruction in methodology are an integral part of this project.
The European Seminar
One night a week students leave their internships early to take a seminar addressing contemporary European issues, entitled ' What is Europe?: Culture, Institutions, Society(ies)'.
Housing: IFE finds French-speaking housing for students, either with homestay families, or in shared apartments with other students or young professionals. Housing options with full, partial, or no meals are available, and are priced accordingly.
IFE Center: multi-level center in Brussels is located on a quiet courtyard in the bustling Ixelles district, between the historic center and the university district.
Language Level: The program is entirely French-speaking. Students should have taken 5 semesters of college-level French, or the equivalent. They should be comfortable taking a topical course taught in French.
Suggested Academic Credit:
I. Belgium: A Contemporary European Culture..........................................3
II. Brussels in Belgium and in Europe: A socio-urbanist approach.............3
III. Belgium in Europe and the World: A historical approach.......................3
IV. What is Europe?: Culture, Institutions, Society(ies)...............................2
V. Independent Study / Guided Field Research......................................... 7