When you arrive in Brussels, expect many questions about where you’re from and why you’re there. When you say that you’re studying abroad, you’ll undoubtedly get many excited reactions.
“Oh, you’re at ULB?” most will assume, especially if you’re speaking to them in French.
You let them know that you are actually a student at Vesalius College. They look puzzled now and you clarify that it is located on VUB’s campus. They still don’t really know what you’re talking about and simply nod, moving on to another subject.
This should not come as surprise. Vesalius College is quite a tiny school, only taking up about two floors in a building on VUB’s campus. The student body is small and mostly comprised of study abroad students from the US and Erasmus students. This causes everyone to be extremely friendly and makes it easier to bond with your fellow students.
Vesalius specializes in courses on International Relations, Law and Communication. One program you’ll hear a lot of people talk about is the European Peace & Security Studies certificate. EPA students do not take enough courses during the program to be able to complete this but don’t be surprised when you hear other American students say they’re pursuing this certificate.
Don’t fret, though, there are still plenty of classes for you to take here and many subjects that either won’t be offered in the US or will be more interesting when taught from a European perspective. For example, I am currently taking a course on Security & Migration in Europe which has been really interesting to learn about from people who experience it’s effects every day.
Let’s also not forget the fun! Vesalius has a very active student government that plans fun events like mixers and social events for students to unwind and get to know each other. The intimate size of the student body makes for lots of fun events that would be too unruly if done at Drexel (ie. the post-midterm party put on for the students).
Overall, I would say that Vesalius is a great choice for this program and its flexibility makes it easy to do class while also pursuing the internship component that you will hear about in my next post!