European Peace and Security Studies Certificate: An Inside Look in Belgium

Political Science major, Emily West ’17 spent the 2015-2016 academic year studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium. While there, she had the opportunity to earn a European Peace and Security Studies (EPSS) certificate from Vesalius College. Emily reflected on choosing her study abroad program and gaining her EPSS certificate in a blog originally shared by her provider, BCA Study Abroad.

When selecting her study abroad experience,  Emily specifically searched for a program which would not only allow her to see the world, but also where she would be able to experience new academic opportunities. Brussels has a prime location within Europe and is home to many organizations including the EU and NATO. With all of this in mind and then learning about the EPSS certificate program, Emily was entirely sold on Brussels!

The EPSS goes beyond what is offered at an undergraduate level.  The courses required are specific to security and how to analyze and approach contemporary conflicts and the accompanying security threats. The certificate was special to Emily, because these types of programs are difficult to find in the US. In addition to being a resume builder, the program helped give her a new perspective.

Through the program, a student takes five courses focused on the different approaches to security issues, which pose a threat to then international community. The courses emphasize approaches of different institutional organizations and are taught by professionals from these areas. The programs also requires a lecture series from high-profile academics and policymakers. The lectures give opportunities not only to hear from professionals of institutions such as NATO, but also to network with them.

Emily recommends completing the program for students in a number of academic field to gain unique experience and perspective.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the Brussels, Belgium program, EPSS Certificate Program, and to read Emily’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on January 28, 2016.

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