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Vesalius College


Program Snapshot

History buffs and international relations enthusiasts will feel at home in Brussels, which is home to the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters. Deepen your knowledge of international affairs and business through Vesalius College’s small classes (taught in English) and a variety internship options. Learn the culture with a homestay with a Belgian family, and indulge in Brussel’s myriad culinary treats: waffles, fries, beer, and -- perhaps most importantly -- chocolate!

Read a real student's perspective on studying abroad at Vesalius College on the ISEP blog.

Got questions? Contact an ISEP Student Ambassador who studied at Vesalius College.

EXCHANGE CLOSED SPRING 2017: Please note that this site will not be open on Exchange for Spring 2017 due to a lack of exchange space. We hope to reopen it on Exchange for Fall 2017. Vesalius will remain open on ISEP Direct. Students interested in Exchange in Belgium should consider Artevelde University College in Ghent, Belgium. For questions, contact Lindsay Moats at lmoats@isep.org.

Brussels is known as the “Capital of Europe”. A city of approximately 2 million, it is the home of NATO and the European Commission. While largely francophone, Brussels is surrounded by Dutch-speaking communities, a peculiarity of interest in this small country with three national languages (French, Dutch and German). Visitors will be fascinated by the international and multicultural nature of this “small big city”, but will be comforted by the fact that nearly everyone knows at least some English, which is one reason many tourists call Brussels one of Europe’s friendliest cities. Brussels is also the home of some of the world’s most famous foods, drinks and cultural icons, such as “Pommes Frites” (French fries), waffles, chocolate, thousands of different types of beers, comic books (i.e. “TinTin”), Hercule Poirot, Eddie Merckx and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Brussels’ relatively central location offers an ideal starting point for international travel. Brussels is only 162 miles from Paris, 198 miles from London, 194 miles from Frankfurt and 108 miles from Amsterdam. Public transportation within Brussels as well as to and from Brussels is plentiful, well-designed and economical. For longer trips, students can find attractive fares on high-speed trains or discount airlines.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate programs available for an academic year or semester
ISEP Direct: undergraduate programs available for an academic year, semester, or summer

ISEP-Exchange for US students.
ISEP-Direct site for students from all member institutions.
Summer program available.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Very Limited.
Chance of placement on ISEP Direct is Excellent.
To increase your chance of placement on Exchange, ISEP recommends listing this site as your first choice. Also consider the Direct option, which has an excellent chance of placement.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students

Program Dates
Academic year: late August to mid-May
Semester 1: late August to mid-December
Semester 2: mid-January to mid-May.

Information about ISEP Direct fees and deadlines.

The ISEP-Direct program fee includes the benefit package for: Tuition, Housing, Partial Meals and Insurance

ISEP-Direct Program fees:
Summer: $6,600
Full Year 16-17: $25,700
Semester 1 16-17: $13,950
Semester 2 16-17: $14,250

For priority consideration, applications for the following semester should be received before February 15 and September 1 unless otherwise noted. Rolling admissions are considered for ISEP-Direct before these final application deadlines:
SM1: May 1, 2016
SM2: September 25, 2016

Summer Program
The Vesalius College Summer 2015 Program "Focus on Europe" is situated in Brussels, “The Capital of Europe,” and offers students a unique summer experience. Lasting seven weeks, the Summer Session gives students a focused academic program and the opportunity to experience and explore the best of European culture and travel. The Vesalius College Summer Program consists of courses in the fields of Business, Communications and International Affairs, with a strong focus on Europe. In addition, there are a number of internship opportunities available in high-profile public and private organizations in Brussels.

See summer program information

ISEP Exchange and ISEP Direct:
Business (economics, international management, technology management, management science, European studies, and marketing concentrations); International Relations (politics, history, economics, communications and European studies concentrations);Communications (journalism & scriptwriting, political communication, business communication, and European communication studies concentrations); International and European Law (as of Fall 2015) (European law, international law, and business law concentrations).

European Peace and Security Studies: a certificate earning program which consists of 5 courses and a weekly expert lecture series. The program is given in partnership with the Royal Military Academy, Kent University and the Institute for European Studies and the Global Governance Institute.

Internship Program

Internships are available with high-profile public and private organizations throughout Brussels. They are competitive, credit-earning and graded. Students wishing to participate in the Vesalius Internship Program must have completed at least half of all of their academic credits towards graduation. They must also respect the strict application guidelines and deadlines set forth on the web page of the Internship Department as well as submit internship applications directly to the Internship Coordinator.

As part of the ISEP application any student potentially interested in applying for an internship must attach to a copy of their resume/CV and a general cover letter that outlines his/her internship objectives, preferred job responsibilities and qualifications.

Academic Notes
By virtue of its location in Brussels, the heart of the European community, Vesalius College has targeted the three disciplines most relevant to the expertise available in the local academic and professional sectors. The Business program thrives on the knowledge of professors and guest lecturers with experience in the headquarters of large multinational corporations. The Communications program has its fingers on the pulse of the latest in international communication by virtue of Brussels being the home of the world’s largest press corps. As the home of NATO and heart of the European Union, Brussels feeds the International Affairs curriculum with the most knowledgeable experts in the field of public policy and European studies. Students can then confirm and apply the theory they acquire in class by participating in prestigious internships in the public and private sectors in such organizations as NATO, the United Nations, Ernst & Young, MasterCard, and many more.

Students typically enroll in 5 courses for 15 hours of class per week. A term runs for 15 weeks.


Students can expect their transcripts at the end of January and the end of June. Transcripts are sent to ISEP and and then immediately released to the student's home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes

The language of instruction at Vesalius College is English. French and Dutch are offered as foreign languages.


ISEP Language Proficiency Report may be subsituted for official score: No
TOEFL: 90 iBT/577 pBT
IELTS: 6.5

Special Academic Conditions
If courses for the next fall or spring semester are not available yet, students should review courses currently offered for fall or spring. Fall semester students should review the fall semester schedule, spring semester students the spring semester schedule as they may be different.

Certain Vesalius College free elective courses are offered by academic partners such as the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Royal Military Academy, the Royal Music Conservatory and others. Students should note that some of these courses follow the Belgian academic grading system and the Belgian academic calendar, i.e. they start and end later than regular Vesalius College courses. Not all free electives have different dates, only the one or two offered by Brussels partner schools. ISEP Direct students can take these courses at no additional cost other than the extended housing cost. Partner courses with extended calendar dates are not open to ISEP exchange students.

Students wishing to take a foreign language (French or Dutch) that is above the introductory (101) level must take a placement test (offered in the fall and spring during orientation week) in order to determine their true proficiency level and the best corresponding course level.

Students wishing to take a 300-level (advanced) political science course on the European Union will be required to take a European Union aptitude test during orientation week (fall and spring). Those that fail the test will not be allowed to register for the 300-level EU courses until they have participated in the EU crash course, which will be organized, free of charge for the student, in the first week of classes.

Housing and Meals

ISEP Exchange: Students placed on exchange will be required to live with a Belgian host family. Host family stays include 7 breakfasts and 4 dinners (11 meals) per week, plus internet access, sheets, towels and access to the kitchen on 2 nights per week. An additional stipend is provided for additional meals. Host families are committed to enriching the study abroad experience for students. All families are able to communicate effectively with students who have no knowledge of French or Dutch.

ISEP Direct: Students placed on Direct will also be required to live with a Belgian host family. Host family stays include 7 breakfasts and 4 dinners (11 meals) per week, plus internet access, sheets, towels and access to the kitchen on 2 nights per week. Direct students are responsible for the cost of additional meals. Host families are committed to enriching the study abroad experience for students. All families are able to communicate effectively with students who have no knowledge of French or Dutch.

More information on the homestay application process can be found here: http://www.vesalius.edu/academics/study-abroad-programme/incoming-students/housing-and-expenses/#Homestay. Please note that any reference to a refundable housing deposit of €500 does not apply to ISEP students. Students staying with host families are expected to arrive on the Sunday that precedes the first day of orientation. Please refer to the Vesalius College website for housing application deadlines.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: 300-400 euros.

Orientation will take place when students arrive on campus and will include various information sessions, a tour of campus, lunch and evening activities with local Vesalius students. During orientation students will also take any necessary language placement tests or other aptitude tests, have their computer accounts activated, interview for internships and register for courses. On the final day students will go on a tour of Brussels.


Please refer to the following page for information on arranging for your own pickup and transport from the airport: http://www.vesalius.edu/academics/study-abroad-programme/incoming-students/housing-and-expenses/

Students staying with host families are expected to arrive on the Sunday that precedes the first day of orientation.

Student Activities
Many extracurricular activities are sponsored by the Vesalius Student Government (VSG) and the associated Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The VSG organizes regular student parties, outings, ski trips and other activities. Sports include soccer, basketball, swimming, athletics and fitness at a world class fitness center. ISEP students can also participate in student-driven academic activities such as college publications, forums and assemblies. Every semester, the college offers “Art in Europe” (ART 301) specifically for study abroad students at an additional fee of €795 (billed to the student). This course offers field trips to various European cities, with an in-class seminar introducing each trip and highlighting the art, culture and architecture of each city.

Community Engagement (Internships, Service-Learning, Volunteering, etc.)
Vesalius College offers students the opportunity to earn academic credit and professional experience through a unique graded internship program in Brussels. With over 50 internship sponsors in the public and private sectors and with partners such as the United Nations, NATO, UPS, the European Journalism Center and many more, students acquire the professional skills and make the important contacts that can propel them into the career of their dreams. Internships can earn 3 to 6 US credits depending on the number of hours worked per week.

Vesalius College was founded by a collaboration between the Dutch free university of Brussels, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Boston University in order to provide university education in the English language in the heart of Europe. Vesalius is located in the center of Brussels and is surrounded by several universities and other institutes of higher learning, including the VUB and the ULB (the French Free University of Brussels). Although the Vesalius campus is small to accommodate a small student body, the campus is nestled against that of its parent university, the VUB. As such, students have the same privileges that VUB students have, and access to the facilities of the much larger free university, including sports facilities, cafeteria, classrooms, health services, libraries, etc. Vesalius College is conveniently located within rapid walking distance to metro and train stations as well as to tram and bus stops.

What Past Students have to Say
“My favorite aspect of the university was that it was very small, so I always saw people I knew everywhere. My favorite places to visit were the parks in Brussels. They are small pockets of paradise hidden inside the bustling city. “ - Student from Whitworth University