Please note that this page will be updated once the details for the 2015 program have been confirmed.
Information for Current Students
You should plan to purchase your plane ticket at least two months before the start of the program. Internet travel search engines such as kayak.com make shopping for flights easy, but don't ignore student travel websites such as studentuniverse.com or statravel.com. Brussels is generally an affordable flight destination, but you might comparison shop with nearby cities such as London, Paris, and Amsterdam to check for possible deals. All of these cities are fairly close by train, allowing you to save a little money and see another European city before the start of the program. You will be very busy during the program, and while your weekends will be free, we recommend that you do all your major travel either before or after the program.
Students should plan to arrive in Brussels on Sunday, July 7. That is when our hotel or hostel will be available and when we will expect you to be in the city for the start of the program on the morning of July 8. We will stay at the hotel/hostel for three nights (July 7-9), travel to Luxembourg for two nights (July 10-11), and then return to our Brussels hotel for one night (July 12) and then move into the dorms of July 13. The last day of the program is August 9, and so students should plan to leave Brussels the weekend of August 10-11. Most people leave on August 10th, but it is possible to stay in the ULB dorms until August 11. Students are welcome to arrive earlier than July 7 or later than August 11, but will need to arrange and pay for their own accommodations.
What to Bring & Packing
We generally advise that students pack light for this program. While we will not be traveling after we move into the dorms on July 13, students will appreciate not having to haul large bags from the airport and around Brussels. That said, there are some items we strongly encourage you to bring:
- Some passport sized photos. (optional; for people purchasing transit passes, etc.)
- Sheets will be provided. Some people might want to bring their own pillow.
- Personal products, including things you might need in the summer, such as sunscreen and insect bite ointment.
- Any prescription medicine, along with a copy of the prescription. Also bring any vitamins that you take.
- Clothing - be prepared for a variety of temperatures. It could be cold and rainy some days, and hot on others.
- Laptop ethernet cable. The dorm you will be staying in does not have wireless internet access.
- Laptop lock (optional)
- A couple of your favorite dorm recipes (optional)
- Passport (always leave a photocopy of the main page somewhere safe at home and bring another copy with you).
- Textbooks (see below)
- US-Europe plug adapter for people bringing portable electronics (available from Radio Shack for around $10) like digital cameras and laptops. Note that this is different from a voltage convertor, which converts Europe's 220V electricity to 110V for use with North American electronic equipment. Most personal electronics (including laptops) can use both voltages, and so you will only need a plug adapter. We do not recommend using voltage convertors for these or other electrical appliances (e.g. hair dryers, etc.).
- A 'business casual' outfit for EU site visits. This means button down shirts and ties for men (jacket and tie optional)
- A small travel bag for weekend trips (including Luxembourg) so that you don't have to travel with your large luggage.
- A bath towel. The dorm rooms have smaller-sized bathroom towels, and so many students will opt to bring a bigger towel with them or purchase one locally.
The Institute for European Studies at the ULB does not have a computer lab, and so all students will be expected to bring a laptop with them for writing their papers and doing other work. Some students coming from other travel or study abroad location my be tempted to have friends or family express mail their laptop to them in Brussels. Please do not do this! Our experience has been that laptops get delayed in the Belgian mail, get held up in customs, or both. You may end up waiting several weeks for your laptop and then paying a customs tariff of several hundred dollars. In short, it's better to bring your laptop with you and avoid the post!
University Library Access and Bookstores
You may use the ULB library called the "Bibliotheque des Sciences Humaines." There is map and coordinates on this page :
The library is located on the same street as the institute at 50 avenue Roosevelt. Summer hours are 9-5, Monday - Friday. If you go out of the institute, cross the street and turn left, it’s near a large concrete building that you should see. Note there is a European Documents section in building NB, level 4 (batiment is building, niveau is level for reference on the website).
As students affiliated with a university, you should be able to get a reading card (carte lecteur) at the library that will allow you to use the library. You can put money on the card to make photocopies, and maybe check out books (don’t count on this, but it has happened on occasion). Go to the service counter with your passport and student ID card to show you are a university student. Maybe try it sooner rather than later so that if there are problems there is some time to resolve them! More info about the carte lecteur here:
English Language Bookstores (not for textbooks but for leisure reading)
Metro: De Brouckère
Tram: 3, 52, 55, 56, 81, 82, 90
Bus: 47, 48, 60, 65, 66, 71, 95, 96
Nearest Train: Rogier: metro 2premetro/tram 3, 52, 55, 56, 81 & 90
"Current EU Policy Debates" seminar, taught by Dr. Arista Cirtautas:
- 2014 syllabus will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.
"EU Institutions: Views from Inside the Brussels Complex" colloquium, taught by Dr. Peter Hobbing:
- 2014 syllabus & guest lecture list will be posted here once available.
- 2014 syllabus will be posted here once available.
Students are usually required to purchase textbooks for the main seminar "Current Policy Debates". Text titles for this seminar will be emailed to students once they are confirmed by the Program Director.
Please keep in mind that the first week of the program will be very busy, but that the last four weeks of the program is mostly classroom-based with many afternoons free. Your weekends will also be free, although the graduate assistant in Brussels will be planning some optional activities, as well.
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Guide to Brussels
Brussels is a Flemish-French bilingual enclave in the Flemish-speaking area of Belgium, set slightly north of the middle of the country and constitutes a big cultural and political centre of Europe. Brussels is also the capital of the two great regions that make up
Belgium - Flanders and Wallonia. Brussels itself forms the third administrative region of Belgium - The Brussels-Capital Region. The main language spoken in the city is French, though English is commonly spoken by many people working for or with the EU or other international organizations or businesses based in the city.
Brussels has been given its character by the coexistence of French and Flemish culture, and it is nowadays home to nationalities around the world, adding a cosmopolitan flavor to its atmosphere. About 25 per cent of its inhabitants are said to be foreigners, mostly being part of the staff of the many organizations that have their headquarters in Brussels. Approximately a quarter of the city is Muslim, with the city boasting large Turkish and Moroccan populations. There is also a sizable immigrant population from French-speaking regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
History of Brussels
Brussels was established in the 7th-10th centuries and has always constituted a significant cultural and political centre in the Lowlands region. The city, whose name originally meant "marshland" in Old Flemish, has survived Roman domination, rule by the Franks, Brabant dukes of French lineage, Burgundian and Hapsburg dynasties, and the Austrian Empire before becoming the capital of an independent Kingdom of Belgium in 1830. Different districts of the city bear signs of many of these periods.
The city has been an intellectual powerhouse for people like Baudelaire and Victor Hugo, and a showcase of characteristic architectural styles such as Brabants Gothic, Art Nouveau and postmodernism, visible throughout the city today. After being occupied by the Germans in the two World Wars, Brussels managed to rise to the forefront of Europe by becoming the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, as well as the major business centre of the region.
Languages: Officially french and Flemish, but German, English, and Arabic are also among the languages most spoken.
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Useful Contact Information
UW staff on-site contacts:
Program coordinator cell phone number: 0498 21 5320
The Institute for European Studies (IEE) at the ULB:
Av. F.D. Roosevelt , 39 – 1050 Bruxelles
Tel: 02/650 40 52
Fax: 02/650 30 68
ULB Solbosch campus:
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Campus du Solbosch
Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt 50
Tel : 02 650 21 11
Campus map: http://www.ulb.ac.be/campus/solbosch/plan-en.html
US Embassy in Brussels:
27, Boulevard du Regent
Brussels International Airport :
Located 8 miles (13 Km) northeast of the city center.
+32 2 753 77 53
Other useful telephone numbers:
European standard emergency number (like 911):T 112
Fire brigade and emergency medical care T 100
Federal Police T 101
Anti poison Center T 070 245245
Red Cross T 105
Information: national T 1307 and 1234 (automatic); international T 1304
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Using the Post / Mail
T (0)2 226 21 11
Usually from 9 am - 5 pm. Some post offices stay open on Saturday mornings (De Brouckère, City 2, Central Station, Flagey, Porte de Namur, Louise…). However, certain operations may be carried out only at specific times.
Approximate Postal rates:
Letters, letter-cards, postcards (max. 50 g): Belgium: prior: 0,52 €; within EU: prior: 0,70 €; other countries: prior: 0,80 €; registered letters: + 4,00 €
Note that it’s not necessary to visit a Post Office to mail postcards or letters. Postage stamps can be purchased at stationary stores that have the Belgian post symbol on their window and letters can be mailed from mailboxes found all over the city.
Please have mail that is sent to you addressed as follows:
c/o UW Summer Program
Institut d'Etudes Européennes
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt #39
1050 Bruxelles/Brussels CP 172
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Passport & Visa Requirements
US and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. A visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days. Other nationalities should check with the Belgian Embassy or nearest Consulate Office for visa requirements.
Schengen visa requirements and application forms are available at www.diplobel.us. Application can be mailed to the Consulate Office of your jurisdiction, provided that the signature on the application form is notarized and that a prepaid self-addressed envelope is enclosed. Processing generally takes 3 to 5 days. Please let our center know if you need and are applying for a Schengen visa.
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How to get from the Airport to Brussels:
First get to the central train station in Brussels (la Gare Centrale) by taking the train from the Brussels International Airport. The Brussels International Airport train station is located on the lower level of the airport (1st floor). There you will find the train shuttle service from the airport to the North, South and Central stations of Brussels. The shuttle runs at least every 20 minutes and takes approximately 20 minutes. It operates between 5:30 am - 12:20 am from the airport and 4:45 am - 11:10 pm from the city. The cost is Euro 5,40 . Buy your ticket before getting on the train to avoid a surcharge fee.
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Facilities & Housing
Courses will be held at the Institute for European Studies on the ULB campus. For the last four weeks of the program, students will be accommodated in single-room student dorms on the ULB Solbosch campus, in either the "residence Elio Conte" or "residence Lucia De Brouckere." Both are modern, secure and comfortable.
The dorms are located close to the Institute for European Studies (IEE), where the program seminars will be held. The residence provides internet access, private bathrooms, private showers, plus a shared kitchen with basic kitchenware for our students to use. The dorms are conveniently located near mass transit and are just a short walking distance from numerous restaurants and shops.
Each student's dorm accommodation cost are being covered, in part, by funds from the European Union through the Seattle EU Center of Excellence's grant. Students will have access to the ULB library and other campus facilities such as the cafeteria, but note that the campus gym and computer labs are not available during this period. The ULB is adjacent to one of the city's largest parks, and so there are good options for running and other outdoor activities.
Laundry facilities are available in the ULB Housing office and at private laundromats near the campus. Most students opt for the latter as accessing the ULB laundry room is less convenient, i.e. there are limited hours and you must inquire at the office for the key to access the machines. Note that European machines tend to be much smaller than American machines and operate differently. You should plan your laundry time to avoid periods of high use or multiple loads that may occupy the machines for too long. The Residences usually provide a change of sheets so you needn’t launder the bedding.
There is wireless access through the ULB's campus cloud, but it is erratic depending on system usage and location in the building. While you will be able to access the ULB wireless network at the Institute, the reception will not be very good in your dorm rooms. Be sure bring an ethernet cord with you or be prepared to buy one in Brussels.
Phones and Communications
A number of students use Skype and other Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Skpe can be downloaded to almost all computers and many smartphones. Calls to other Skype-enable devices is free, while calls to phones are relatively inexpensive. It's very easy to purchase credit online, and just a few dollars or euros goes a long ways. The only other requirement is a reliable high-speed internet connection, which you will have in your dorm rooms.
It is increasingly common for people to use mobile phones when they travel overseas. However, roaming with your mobile phone in Europe can get very expensive, very quickly, especially if you use data. Prepaid cell service in Europe is generally quite cheap, and many US phones will work on European networks. While some US providers have roaming plans for Europe, it is often cheaper to purchase a SIM card from a local provider and buy prepaid service cars at supermarkets and small shops. Another advantage of local prepaid service is that incoming calls are free, and so it does not cost the receiver anything for taking a call from someone else (including calls from overseas).
Belgium has several main mobile phone providers (Mobistar, Base, Proximus), each offering relatively affordable prepaid voice and data packages. Your GSM phone must be unlocked and use the appropriate frequencies (see below). It is also possible to purchase cheap and simple phones in Europe for approximately 25-35 euros. Note that while these phones should work all over Europe, they might not work back in North America because the latter uses different GSM frequencies. Please also note that mobile phone service purchased in Belgium will be roaming in other European countries.
Most European carriers use the 900/1800 GSM voice frequencies, which are often compatible with more recent T-Mobile and AT&T that have multi-band (or 'world phone') capability. Note, however, that not as many US smartphones will be compatible with the 2100 UMTS band used in Europe for 3G data. This could mean your smartphone could work fine for voice, but only have slower speeds for data (though woul . Check your phones specifications to see what voice and data frequencies it uses. You may also check this useful website on using mobile phones in Europe set up by Rick Steves.
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Brussels Train Stations:
- Gare Centrale: Carrefour de l’Europe, 2
- Gare du Midi : Rue de France, 2
- Gare du Nord : Rue du Progres, 85
- Gare du Luxembourg : pl du Luxembourg
To get to :
- Paris, London, Cologne: Gare du Midi
- Antwerp, Amsterdam: Gare du Midi/Centrale/Nord
- Gent, Bruges, Ostende: Gare du Midi/Centrale/Nord
- Namur, Dinant, Luxembourg: Gare du Midi/Centrale
General train info and reservations:
Tel: 02/258 2828
Brussels mass transit (Bus, Metro, Tram):
All tickets cost 1.5 euros if you buy them in the metro station. 2 euros if you buy them on the tram/bus. Most public transport in the Brussels-Capital Region is organized by the STIB (Société des Transports intercommunaux bruxellois). The network includes metro
lines, which connect the eastern and western districts of the city. Pre-metro lines (trams in the tunnels) complete the metro service. A great many metro lines also have above ground bus and tram connections. Timetables: 6 am - midnight - consult the timetables shown at the stops.
- free for +65 years old
- single ticket: 1,80 €
- card for 5 journeys: 7,50 €
- card for 10 journeys: 11,80 €
- 1-day card: 6,00 €
- airport line one way ticket: 5,40 €
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A US driver's license is accepted if staying less then 90 days in the country. Please note that unless you have experience in driving in a major European city, we discourage students from driving while studying in Europe. Public transport is affordable and convenient to get around the city and surrounding areas.
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Cycling in central Brussels is not for the faint-hearted: intolerant drivers, slippery cobblestones and tram tracks are all potential hazards. That said, there are some bike lanes (usually painted red and marked with white lines) and paths (separated from the traffic), but these tend to be on the outskirts of town where there's a bit more room. (www.lonelyplanet.com).
T (0)2 502 73 55
Price: 3,00 €/h, 12,00 €/day
Rent a bike at 23 points downtown
Taking a Taxi
The main one is called Green Taxi (02 349 4949).
You can get a taxi at a taxi stand or by calling, not by hailing like we do in the US.
- the price per km (1,23 € or 2,46 € depending on whether the journey is inside or outside the 19 districts of Brussels);
- fixed charge: 2,40 € (4,40 € at night) ;
- the waiting time: 23,00 € per hour; certain companies charge reduced fares for journeys to the airport.
Other taxi companies:
- Autolux: Tel. (0)2 411 12 21
- Taxis Bleus: Tel. (0)2 268 00 00
- Taxis Orange: Tel. (0)2 349 43 43
- Taxis Verts: Tel. (0)2 349 49 49
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General Tourism Information
Brussels 2012 Events calendar:
Les Musee Royaux des Beau-Arts (Ruede la Regence, 3)
Le Musee des Instruments de Musique (rue Montagne de la Cour, 2)
Le Centre Belge de la Bande Dessine’ (rue des Sables, 20)
Les Musees Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (Parc du Cinquantenaire, 10)
A full list of Brussels museums can be found at:
Brussels Monuments and Other Sites of Interest
BD du Centenaire 1020
Place des Palais 1000
The Royal Greenhouse (Laeken):
Avenue du Park Royal (Domaine Royal) 1020
Live music venues:
BOZAR (Palais des Beaux-Arts)
rue Ravenstein 23 — 1000 Bxl
Tél.: +32 (0)2 507 82 00
rue Royale 236 – 1210 Bxl
Infos et Tickets Tél.: +32 (0)2 218 37 32
place Sainte-Croix — 1050 Bxl
Tél.: +32 (0)2 641 10 20
Halles de Schaerbeek
rue de la Constitution 20 – 1030 Bxl
Tél.: +32 (0)2 227 59 57
rue Wiertz 43 • 1047
Tel : (0)2 284 34 57 / (0)2 284 35 82
Fax : (0)2 284 90 11
rue de la Loi, 200
1040 - Bruxelles
Council of the EU:
Rue de la Loi, 175 B-1048 Bruxelles
Telephone (32-2) 281 61 11
Fax (32-2) 281 69 34
European Investment Bank:
100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer
Tel: (+352) 43 79 1
Fax: (+352) 43 77 04
European Court of Justice:
T. More Building – 0209
A Few Words on Safety
Brussels is, generally speaking, a safe city compared to many other European cities. But please be aware that pickpockets are present (just like in any other big city) so you should pay attention while walking around. Be especially careful when asked for the time or for
directions since most pickpockets use this technique to distract people. Also you might want to avoid metro and train stations at night, and watch your belongings on intercity trains (especially the Brussels-Amsterdam train).
While Brussels is generally safe, and the ULB in one of the nicest parts of the city, there are neighborhoods in Brussels that we would not recommend traveling to alone and/or at night. Even in the nicest parts of a city, it is a good rule to have other students with you when venturing out at night. We will cover Brussels safety and travel when we have our on-site orientation in Brussels.
Pharmacies/Apotheek sell over the counter medications and can also refill prescriptions if you have the prescription bottle on hand. You will most likely pay out of pocket and will receive a receipt to submit to your US insurance. Check with your insurance beforehand regarding their policies on covering expenses incurred while traveling. The pharmacies are also a place to go for quality over the counter or homeopathic remedies. But again, if you have a preferred brand or product, bring it from home.
You might not find a recycling bin in your room, but Europeans do recycle. It is in fact mandatory for some organizations and institutions to recycle. In Brussels, people deposit their recycling in containers located in street medians and on sidewalks. Glass is the most commonly recycled material, but you will occasionally find bins for plastic and paper. The University in particular expects residents to clear their rooms of recyclable material. The bins are fairly clearly marked, but here is a guide:
As for plastic bags, it is recommended that you bring a lightweight reusable shopping bag, because grocery stores charge for plastic bags.
Brussels City Recycling Bins
ULB Recycling Bins
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ULB “Solbosch” Campus
The Institute for European Studies (IEE) is just across Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. If you follow “Avenue de L’Universite” (at the top of the map) it will lead you straight to La Plaine campus.
ULB campuses “Solbosch” and “La Plaine”
A map of the Brussels metro system is available here.
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Map of Brussels (with program related placemarks)
View Brussels Program (and related placemarks) in a larger map