European Summer School


Brussels Summer School

‘’The whole experience itself was outstanding. Insightful, challenging and relevant in the real world. I couldn’t ask for much more’’

Ali Ahmed, European Summer School, Brussels 2016

The University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies is a specialist postgraduate centre, which offers English language-based degrees covering the spectrum of international affairs. Our strong links with Brussels-based organisations greatly enhance the teaching on our programmes and short courses and students benefit from many opportunities for research, internships and future employment by studying in the capital of Europe.

The Brussels Summer School is centred on the theme of ‘Europe and the World’ which builds upon the academic strengths of the school. Within this context various sub-themes will be also covered, these include migration, the European Union’s (EU) relationship with emerging powers such as China, and the EU’s response to the global economic crisis.

‘’I would definitely recommend the summer school – we got to live the EU referendum in the heart of Brussels which was a once in a lifetime opportunity – we lived history. An amazing experience with interesting lectures and excellent facilities’’

Nawsheen Maghooa, European Summer School, Brussels 2016


Over a period of two weeks, students participate in a series of guest lectures, seminars and debates delivered by academics, policy-makers, diplomats and European civil servants. The summer school allows students to discover how the European Union functions with a particular focus on how it acts as a global organisation and the challenges it faces in today’s world.

Students also benefit from a careers workshop which gives an insight into a range of employment opportunities as well as the transferable skills which are attractive to potential employers. To mark the end of the Summer School in Brussels, there will be a formal dinner to congratulate students for successfully completing the programme.

Programme content

Below is a sample of some of the courses we expect to run during at the Brussels Summer School. We encourage you to check the website regularly for updates to the schedule and programme content.

Climate Change: EU and International Policy Responses

What exactly is the EU doing about climate change? What goes on in international climate negotiations? In this seminar, you gain an understanding of the dynamics of climate change and the European and international political responses to the issue. Lecturers speak from their own experience of international climate negotiations and EU policymaking. You benefit from open discussion and role play, which deepens your knowledge of the stakes at play in climate change politics.

The EU as a peacemaker - an introduction to mediation and negotiation

Explore the multiple roles of the European Union as a mediator and supporter of peace processes. To better understand the challenges and complex decisions facing the mediator and the actors in conflict, the principles of mediation are introduced and applied during a simulation game. Taking on the perspectives of the EU and conflict parties, the participants will get the chance to analyse a given conflict, develop a strategy and engage in a mock mediation process. The aim of this course is to provide the participants with an understanding of both the constraints and opportunities of mediation, the importance of trust and a conflict sensitive approach of the third party. At the same time, it allows the participants to develop their communication and negotiation skills.

Common Security and Defence Policy

The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is a relatively new policy area of the European Union (EU). The EU and its member states have, nonetheless, sent soldiers, policemen, judges, security experts and monitors on more than 30 CSDP missions across three continents since 2003. This session discusses the contribution that the EU makes to international security. It shows that the EU does not rival NATO or the United Nations as a military force, but that it often makes niche capabilities available. As such the EU makes a useful contribution in ensuring safety and stability. The session also shows that the EU rarely deploys alone. Oftentimes, it makes a contribution to international security in close cooperation with other actors. Following an introductory lecture, students will analyse in small groups several CSDP operations to get a better insight in what the EU actually does in practice.

Europe and Emerging Powers

Brazil, Russia, India and China or the “BRICs” as they are more commonly known, refer to countries that have established themselves as emerging economic powers. Do they form a coherent group and a possible challenge for the West? What role do they play in global governance today? Is their economic growth sustainable? Will China be the determining factor? Finally, if China is the emerging giant among the BRICs, what benefits can the China bring to the EU and what are the challenges that accompany these?

Europe and Global Economic Crisis

What are the problems arising from the financial crisis in the EU? Has this been an economic problem, a policy problem or a (lack of) solidarity problem. If so who was to blame? Is there a better alternative?  Find out if the UK did better or worse by not joining the Euro, the single currency used by 17 Member States of the European Union.

The European Union and Neighbouring Countries

The Eastern Enlargement of the EU has created new challenges and raised questions on the place of former Soviet states in wider Europe. Discover how the Eastern Partnership seeks to establish close relations with the EU’s neighbours. The question will be raised whether this process is doomed to enter into competition with Russia’s regional integration initiatives. The main focus of this session is on the EU, Russia and Ukraine – as the most important country ‘in between’. To solve the complex European puzzle, this session will both look at the (self-)perceptions of these states and at issues of power. The EU’s dependence on Russian gas will be used as a central case.

Fieldtrip: Visit to the World War One Battlefields

Ten million soldiers died during the First Word War, which took place between 1914-1918. Understand the human cost and political impact that has helped to shape the Europe that exists today. Through an intensive and emotional journey, visits will be made to scenes of some of the most intense fighting of the First World War, especially in and around the Ypres Salient. In addition to the battlefields, the visit will include the German military century at Langemark and the largest Commonwealth cemetery at Tyne Cot. The visit will close with the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, established to honour fallen soldiers, which has taken place every evening since 1927.

The Future of the Eurozone

The fallout from the financial and economic crisis of 2008-9 has been felt across Europe and many have argued the crisis was, at least in part, the result of a rush to set up the Eurozone. The 2014 European Parliament elections showed that, in many countries, attitudes to the EU have changed. In this lecture, the future fo the Eurozone and Britain's relationship with it's European partners are explored and you discover how economics and politics are intertwined. We address questions such as, can the EU survive as it is; can individual European countries survive outside the EU; and can the EU return to being just a simple trading organisation?

International and European Migration

Within the everyday discourse on migration, terms such as ‘illegal immigrant’ , ‘refugee’, 'migrant' or 'expatriate' are used, but few have reflected on the implications of one term or another. This unit will examine migration from a number of perspectives, often reflected in the choice of terminology an individual or organisation chooses to use. The unit will also address migrants' motivations and touch on theories which explain their movement, and will conclude with an overview of policy competencies on migration, or the governance of migration.

Introduction to EU Politics

Discover the politics and institutions of the European Union through a combination of lecture and interactive role play. In this two part unit, students learn about power and influence in the complex setting of the EU, but will also represent an EU Member State in a simulation game. The teams work through a set of strategic challenges designed to test the knowledge of the EU and develop collaborative skills.

Life in the European Parliament

In a specially guided tour, explore the dynamic setting of the European Parliament and witness first-hand, how and where decisions are made on policies that affect the daily lives of EU citizens. After the tour, take part in exclusive Q&A session with an elected Member of the European Parliament (MEP), where you can ask direct questions on how they perform their role as a European politician and on the inner workings of the European Parliament.

Visas, Borders and Mobility

What does globalization mean for mobility? Who is mobile, who is immobile? What are the criteria applied to distinguish between desired and undesired movement? What are the techniques of governing undesired movement? This unit highlights the structures of governing mobility from legal infrastructures to political questions of sovereignty and citizenship.

Workshop: Finding Your Dream Job

In this bespoke workshop, students receive coaching from a qualified Careers Coach and internship coordinator. Through multiple exercises students will learn about the art of effective networking; interview tips and tricks; writing a strong and convincing CV and letter of motivation.




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Last Updated: 30/09/2016