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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Ghent, Belgium
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: UVA applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:

UVA is partnering with the University College of Ghent (known as HoGent, in Dutch) and their Faculty of Education, Health, and Social Work to offer research-based internships for students with diverse interests. While primarily a teaching-oriented institution of professional studies and the arts, HoGent also promotes applied research aimed towards the realization of positive outcomes for Belgian, European, and global society.

This academic internship program will pair experiential learning about the realities of cross-cultural work with the practice of research in internships supervised by HoGent faculty members, all within the rich socio-cultural context of Belgium. In their placements, students will have the chance to develop first-hand comparative understandings of Belgian approaches to the provision of social services and education. Potential research projects to involve UVA interns may relate to: inclusive education, community-based healthcare, preventative care, urban education, human rights, professional ethics, quality of life, decolonization, diversity in all its forms, and more.

UVA students with wide-ranging academic/professional interests are likely to trace connections between their coursework and the ongoing research projects led by HoGent faculty. These students may include (but are not limited to) those majoring in: Global Public Health, PsychologyYouth and Social Innovation, Sociology, Politics, Anthropology, Special Education, Political and Social Thought, Global Security and Justice, and Philosophy. Because internships at HoGent will be writing- and research-intensive (dealing with both primary and secondary sources), students in the social sciences and humanities may find this program to be an especially welcome opportunity to explore the value of their academic skills/knowledge in an applied context.

Announcements IconAnnouncement

This program will not operate in Summer 2021, due to ongoing concerns about health and safety conditions. Students who are interested in international internship positions are advised to consider participating in the Summer 2021 Virtual Internship program, which will likely feature positions with partner organizations located in Belgium, or available in-person internship programs in other countries. Links to program information will be provided on the UVA Programs page.

Location IconLocation

Belgium is a country characterized by its own unique cultural richness and complexity while also serving as the de facto capital of the European Union. The program will be based in the beautiful, pleasant, and ancient city of Ghent, which is located in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders. The city is only an hour away from the French-speaking capital of Brussels and makes for an easy exploration base. HoGent is the largest university college in Flanders, and Ghent serves as home to more than 70,000 students pursuing higher studies each year.

ghent dinnerHoGent Campus 1

Courses IconCourses

Program participants will be enrolled in the 1-credit GSGS 3540 "Working With/Across Cultures in International Internships" seminar while abroad. This course will be conducted primarily online, with several opportunities for real-time group reflections with peers and program instructors.

The GSGS 3540 course has been designed to highlight many of the key principles that inform our approach to experiential education abroad and to offer a flexible educational structure to accommodate students’ individualized internship arrangements. We aim to guide students in:

  • Demonstrating awareness of the essential role of culture in shaping human experiences, formations, and activities, especially in work settings
  • Developing familiarity with fundamental principles of experiential learning theory and reflexively applying them to their own processes of learning in the course of their time abroad
  • Drawing connections between their particular experiences of working abroad to realities of globalizing work conditions and other facets of globalization.
The assignments have been crafted to enhance students’ abilities to develop relationships at work and the readings have been chosen to connect students' individual experiences abroad to broader theories and phenomena. Participants in this course are challenged to direct their own learning through their experiences, using the framework of the course and support from the instructor to grow as much as possible while abroad.

There are no prerequisites for this program. Foreign language skills may prove useful but are not required. Accepted students will be offered the opportunity to begin self-study of Dutch in the Spring semester, with the assistance of the Language Commons.

Please click on the links below to read details about the research internship positions which are available in summer 2020 with HoGent faculty members. Make sure to specify which position(s) you would like to be considered for in your application materials.

Potential internship activities may include: literature reviews; research team meetings; interviews with community members/professionals; field visits to relevant sites; conference attendance; report development; presentation drafting; initial data analysis.

Faculty IconFaculty 

Ingrid Hakala |
Ingrid Hakala is the director of UVA Global Internships and will serve as the UVA director of the program and instructor of the GSGS 3540 course. She will be on-site in Ghent for a portion of the program. She holds a doctoral degree in the anthropology of education from UVA.

David Van Bunder |
David Van Bunder is Lecturer in HoGent’s Faculty of Education, Health, and Social Work and the lead coordinator of the UVA in Ghent Global Internship program. Dr. Van Bunder works across multiple disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and philosophy, and he teaches key courses in diverse undergraduate programs. His latest research has focused on the professional socialization of healthcare and social workers.

Accommodation and MealsAccommodation and Meals

Students will occupy shared rooms in a modern hostel with kitchen facilities near the heart of the picturesque old city, with daily breakfast provided. Restaurants, cafes, markets, and public transportation will be easily accessible from students’ lodging. HoGent will provide vouchers for a hot lunch during the weekdays at the Schoonmeersen campus cafeteria and students may avail of coffee and tea in HoGent faculty lounges. 

Cost & Financial Aid

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid. Participants in the UVA in Ghent: Global Internships in Education, Society, and Human Services program are specially eligible to apply for the Global Internships Summer Travel Grant for UVA Internship Programs


Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

Students traveling on a US passport do not need a Belgian visa to participate in this program. Students traveling on other passports are responsible for verifying Belgian visa regulations, and should meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program. All students should ensure their passport is current and will remain valid for at least six months past their date of return.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.


This program is currently not accepting applications.