The European Union in a Globalized World

Program Quick Facts

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Instructor: Christophe Crombez, Freeman Spogli Institute

BOSP Special Programs Coordinator: Morgan Kapinos

Arrival date in Brussels, Belgium: June 23, 2019

Departure date from Brussels, Belgium: June 30, 2019

Information Session: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 from 12:30-1:30pm, Sweet Hall Rm. 020

Academic Prerequisites
Students are required to have taken a course on EU politics prior to the start of the program. The program is primarily intended as a capstone event for students who enrolled in INTNLREL 123 The Future of the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities,taught in Spring Quarter. Students who have taken other courses on the EU are welcome as well.

Additional Program Requirements
Ground Rules - In order to optimize safety during the program, students will be required to agree to and sign Ground Rules that may restrict behavior throughout the program. These Ground Rules are in addition to the BOSP Participation and Assumption of Risk, Release of Claims, Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement that all students sign and agree to at the time of program application. Students’ parents/families will also need to sign these Ground Rules to confirm that they acknowledge the specific dangers of travel to the program location.

Activity Level
Light: Activities may include city walking tours, easy/short hikes, museum and other site visits. For a full list of program activity levels refer to the Overview page.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Health Information for Travelers to Belgium

US State Department Country Information

Visa Information
Consulate General of Belgium

General Information: Visit the Overseas Seminars/Faculty-Initiated Programs Overview page

Application Deadline: October 28, 2018

General Description

  • The program consists of a one-week study trip to Brussels. It will include visits to the EU’s three main political institutions, the Commission, Council and Parliament, and NATO headquarters. We will meet with senior politicians and diplomats to discuss the current challenges and threats to the EU’s economy and its security, such as Brexit, the stability of the Euro, the influx of refugees, the rise of populism within the EU and autocratic governments in neighboring countries, and the current unpredictability of transatlantic relations. Furthermore, there will be a one-day visit to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. During that visit students will have the opportunity to attend court hearings and meet with judges at the court.
  • The primary objective is to provide students who have already taken one or more classes on EU politics and/or transatlantic economic and security relations, the opportunity to complement the knowledge they acquired with first-hand experience at the institutions that set these policies and govern these relations from the European side.
  • The program will allow students to further deepen their understanding of the EU through meetings and discussions with people directly involved in setting EU policies on these issues and addressing the challenges and threats the EU faces.
  • The course requirements consist of a reading assignment prior to the trip, active participation during the trip, and a brief final paper due one week after it.


  • Students are expected to arrive in Brussels on Sunday, June 23. There will be a welcome dinner that evening. Brussels is a vibrant multicultural city that is home to the main EU institutions, NATO headquarters, and the Belgian federal government. Brussels is a generally safe city with excellent health care. It is also the host town for The Europe Center’s undergraduate internships.
  • Each of the subsequent five days, Monday, June 24 through Friday, June 29, one of the institutions mentioned will be visited: the EU Commission, Council, Parliament and Court, and NATO Headquarters. The visits will be followed by meetings with prominent politicians, diplomats and government officials.
  • On Thursday, June 27 we will travel to Luxembourg for one day to visit the Court of Justice of the EU.
  • There will also be a number of lectures and discussion sessions led by the instructor.
  • There will be a concluding meeting and activity on Saturday, June 29.
  • Departure will be on Sunday, June 30.

Living and Travel Conditions

  • Students will stay at a local hotel in the center of Brussels.
  • Light city walking will be required.
  • There will be two organized dinners. Dietary restrictions will be accommodated.


Christophe Crombez is a Senior Research Scholar at The Europe Center, and expert on EU politics. Crombez is a native of Belgium. He currently teaches two courses at Stanford, IR 122 Introduction to European Studies and IR 123 The Future of the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities. Crombez previously organized BOSP overseas seminars on the EU in Brussels in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007. He is also a Professor at the University of Leuven in Belgium, and holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Prerequisites and Expectations 

  • Students are required to have taken a course on EU politics prior to the start of the program. The program is primarily intended as a capstone event for students who enrolled in INTNLREL 123 The Future of the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities,taught in Spring Quarter. Students who have taken other courses on the EU are welcome as well.
  • There will be two meetings prior to departure to provide practical information and an overview of the main reading requirements.
  • Students are expected to actively participate in the meetings and discussions.
  • Students will be required to submit a short final paper one week after the end of the program.

Application Process

Decisions will be based on application materials. Interviews may be organized in early November. The program capacity is 15 students.

Grading Basis

Letter grade

Passport and Visa

Students are solely responsible for obtaining their passport and visa (if applicable). Every BOSP participant MUST have a signed passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the scheduled RETURN date from the overseas program. Students who do not have a valid passport must apply for a new or renewed passport immediately. For information on obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport please visit the State Department website.

To determine whether a visa is necessary for your program, visit the Consulate General of Belgium website. You may also consult with the recommended visa service providers listed below.

VisaCentral by CIBT

VisaCentral by CIBT offers online Stanford rates, or contact the local office:

In person: 555 Montgomery St. Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94111
Walk-in hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By phone: (877) 535-0688

VisaBy Casto for Stanford Travel Program

VisaBy Casto offers special rates for Stanford online, or through the local office:

Address: 2560 North First Street, Suite 150, San Jose, CA 95131
By phone: (408) 553-4735
By email:

Health and Safety

Students on international programs should be aware that attitudes toward medical conditions, disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and psychological conditions vary by culture and under the laws of the host countries. These differences impact the level of treatment and accommodation available abroad. Students should give serious consideration to their health and personal circumstances when accepting a place in a program and should consult with their clinician.

While the benefits of international travel can be enormous, it is often associated with certain health and safety risks. Thankfully, a number of interventions exist to mitigate these risks including vaccines, use of certain medications, and specific behavior changes. Health concerns vary by the particular destination, time of year, the health of the individual, type of accommodations, length of stay and specific activities. Participants should be up to date on all their regular immunizations, check the CDC website for vaccinations and immunizations. In addition, specific travel vaccines such as typhoid, yellow fever, or rabies vaccines may be indicated. Various types of medication may also be needed to prevent life-threatening malaria or altitude illness; or to treat traveler’s diarrhea. Finally, students should learn and utilize insect precautions, food and water precautions, and general safety precautions. These can prevent illnesses such as dengue fever, schistosomiasis, HIV; or accidents such as those involving motor vehicles. In spite of all the precautions, occasionally students do become ill or sustain an injury while traveling. Thankfully, most of these are minor. However, it is critical that students have a clear plan of care in case of an emergency on their trip. The travel clinic at the Vaden Health Center has produced an online travel health module that provides comprehensive strategies to help you stay safe and healthy while traveling.

Students must review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for complete information regarding the health concerns and vaccine recommendations specific to Belgium. Students must also discuss with the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic or a travel health specialist about the best ways to protect their health.

Students must review the U. S. State Department’s Country Information for complete information on safety and security in Belgium.

As with any foreign travel, students are advised to be alert to their surroundings, and be particularly aware of any health and safety advisories for the area in which they will be visiting. Students should consult with their health care provider(s) to be prepared for potential illness. Additional issues of personal health and safety and precautions will be discussed in detail during the mandatory pre-program preparation and upon arriving in the country.

If you are uncomfortable traveling under such conditions, you should not apply to this program.

Program Modification and Cancelation

Stanford reserves the right to cancel or modify the Program before or during its operation for any reason, including natural disasters, emergencies, low enrollment, unavailability of facilities or personnel, or compliance with the University travel policy at