BrusselsWeek-Long Study Tour | European Politics Program

This week-long Study Tour to Brussels allows you to gain a more nuanced understanding of the European Union (EU), and experience first-hand the political institutions you learn about in class. Brussels, the ‘capital of Europe,’ is home to the major EU institutions, as well as a plethora of organizations hoping to influence the EU. Through visits to the various institutions, you will gain a better comprehensive knowledge of the ‘Unidentified Political Object’ known as the EU, and understand how individual countries and organizations interact, lobby, and work with the EU.

You will meet with politicians who work in various branches of the European Union, and thus have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss current issues with inside players. To develop your independence and critical analysis skills, you will conduct political actor interviews throughout Brussels. In these interviews, you and four or five classmates will interview lobbyists, permanent representatives of countries, and NGOs, and analyze how countries, businesses, and organizations lobby the European Union. These meetings will help you understand how policy is created, where different organizations have influence and how various actors ‘play the game.’

Throughout the Study Tour, you will use Brussels as a classroom to enhance your understanding of the class material and develop a better understanding of the history and culture of Belgium, and the European Union.

Tour Objectives

  • Experience and observe the life, culture, and diplomatic environment of one of Europe's most important cities
  • Learn about supranational governmental organizations such as the European Council, Commission and Parliament, as well as smaller governmental and non-governmental bodies, such as permanent representations and lobbyists
  • Provide opportunities to gain a pragmatic understanding of EU decision-making. In other words, learning how to ’play the game’

Possible Activities

  • Visit the European Commission
  • Hold small group interviews with Political Actors, Permanent Representatives of the EU, and NGOs
  • Visit the European Parliament