European Union


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.


Why the European Union?

Why study abroad in one location when you can experience the politics and cultures of many European cities? Our European Union Program allows you to learn about European politics, economics, business, and international relations in a whole new way.

What You'll Study

Freiburg will be your home base. Nestled at the foot of the Black Forest, it’s in this beautiful, small university town that you’ll take English-taught courses in disciplines like Political Science, International Relations, Economics, and Business. As part of the program’s required Integrative Seminar, you travel for approximately 22 days to gain exposure to the European Union and beyond. Not only will these course-related trips give you better insight into the strengths and challenges of the European Union, but they will also give you the experience you need to build your résumé, and to prepare you for an international career. As you visit each new country, you develop an understanding of the European Union, its history, and its institutions.

Europe will be your classroom. Imagine visiting the European Parliament and discussing current social and political issues with EU officials, or meeting with leaders of multinational corporations to learn about international trade.

You also engage in a Model European Union, where you assume the role of a head of state or foreign minister of an EU country to analyze and debate issues of current concern in Europe, such as migration and immigration, security and foreign affairs, U.S.-EU relations, relations with Russia, the euro currency’s troubled relationship with member countries, Brexit, and more. The Model EU concludes the Integrative Seminar and is the capstone of the program. After the spring semester, you can also add international work experience to your résumé by participating in a for-credit internship placement in Freiburg or Brussels, with the accompanying internship seminar.

Daily Life

We want you to feel at home, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in Freiburg. From housing to cultural events, tours of the city, and visits to local sites, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the highest quality academic and cultural experience abroad possible. We offer unparalleled courses that explore European Politics, Economics, Business, International Relations, and other topics through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our diverse professors and course-related trips enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.

You take between 16-20 credits per semester (five courses). All courses are worth 3 credits except the Integrative Seminar and the optional semester German language course. You may earn up to 20 credits if you are placed in a spring semester post-program internship. All courses are taught in English, excluding German language courses and IR/PO355. Academic programming is scheduled five days a week.

Create your academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:

  • EU Studies Integrative Seminar (PO250/350/450) (required, 4 credits; offered at the 200, 300, and 400 levels, with placement based on your academic background)
  • IES Abroad German Course (optional, 4 credits)
  • English-taught IES Abroad Area Studies Courses (3 credits)
  • German-taught IES Abroad Area Studies Course (optional, 3 credits)
  • IR/IB393 Global Leadership course (optional, 3 credits; to develop your cross-cultural leadership skills)
  • IES Abroad Internship in Freiburg or Brussels (optional, 3 credits; spring only, post-program; includes seminar and internship placement, additional cost applies)

Intensive German

As part of your overall program participation, you will take a required one-week intensive German language course during orientation. You may continue strengthening your language skills by continuing in an optional, 4-credit semester-long German language course.

Model EU

As the capstone experience of the IES Abroad European Union Program, you will participate in a Model European Union. Over a long weekend, you will assume the roles of:

  • A foreign minister of an EU member state
  • A prime minister of an EU member state
  • A finance minister of an EU member state
  • A member of the press corps

In your role, you will debate issues of current concern to the European Union, such as:

  • EU reform treaties
  • Enlargement
  • Energy and the environment
  • Immigration
  • Humanitarian aid
  • The economy and the Euro

The Model EU, which brings together classroom-based academic knowledge and first-hand experiences gained through course-related excursions, concludes the EU Studies Integrative Seminar and the program.


This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

  • European Political Cultures
  • Migration, Ethnic Minorities, and Multiculturalism in Europe
  • International Economic Relations of the EU
  • Transition to Market Economies in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Finance and Banking in the European Union
  • European Union Policies in Practice
  • German Language in Context: Novice Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Independent Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad
  • The Dynamics of Integration
  • Finance and Banking in the European Union
  • Leading Across Cultures: Principles and Practice
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation in Europe
  • Internship Seminar: Intercultural Management and Global Leadership
  • Leading Across Cultures: Principles and Practice
  • The European Union and the Muslim World
  • Shifting Paradigms from 'Domestic' to 'European' Politics: Germany in the European Union
  • Reshaping the International Order - Power, Conflict, and Change in the Black Sea Region
  • EU-U.S. Relations: A Multi-Dimensional Partnership
  • The Power and Fragility of Human Rights in Modern Society
  • European Political Cultures
  • Migration, Ethnic Minorities, and Multiculturalism in Europe
  • The European Union and the Muslim World
  • Shifting Paradigms from 'Domestic' to 'European' Politics: Germany in the European Union
  • EU Studies Integrative Seminar
  • Scenario Planning as an Instrument of European Policy-Making - The Case of West African Migration to Europe
  • Transition to Market Economies in Central and Eastern Europe
  • European Union Policies in Practice
  • Europe - The Dynamics of Integration
  • Reshaping the International Order - Power, Conflict, and Change in the Black Sea Region
  • EU-U.S. Relations: A Multi-Dimensional Partnership
  • The Power and Fragility of Human Rights in Modern Society
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation in Europe


Interning during your study abroad gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the real-life, everyday culture of Germany or Belgium
  • Add global work experience and skills to your résumé or your application for graduate school
  • Improve your confidence

All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a 3-credit seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship. Both optional post-program internships carry an extra cost.

The European Union internship program is approximately eight weeks long and occurs after the spring semester only. There are two parts to the internship: a 3-credit Internship Seminar, which is primarily conducted before and after the placement experience, and the internship itself, comprised of a four- to five-week placement in Brussels, or a four- to six-week placement in Freiburg.

During a Brussels internship, you live in an apartment shared with other interns; during a Freiburg internship, you continue to live in housing in Freiburg. You should apply for an internship before arriving on the European Union program, as placements are competitive.

Placement Examples in Brussels

Internships are offered at the European Parliament (MEPs) and with EU-related organizations. Internships are conducted in English, but if you are proficient in another language, you may receive a placement that lets you use your second language too. Fields may include:

  • Parliamentary Internships
  • Political Organizations
  • Placement Examples in Freiburg

Internships are conducted in English and in German. Fields may include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Government & Politics
  • Journalism
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Research

Field Trips & Events

Day Trips

Although your adventure begins in Freiburg, our day trips take you to other great destinations to provide contrast and context for what you are learning and experiencing in your new home. Examples of trips include excursions to the Hohenzollerns in Sigmaringen and Meersburg Castle on the shore of Lake Constance; as well as a long hike through the Black Forest, with sights to enjoy such as baroque convent churches and the Zweribach Waterfalls. The cost of these trips is not included in the program cost.

Course-Related Trips

As a major component of the European Union Program, you participate in extensive course-related trips to prominent EU institutions and important cities across Europe. During these trips, you meet and talk with official representatives of member states, leaders of multinational corporations and NGOs, EU officials, and advisors on EU issues. You take three course-related excursions totaling approximately 22 days. These excursions are an integral part of your classes and academic program and are included in the program fee.

During the first trip, you will explore the UK leaving the EU and will visit Berlin, Warsaw, and Paris.

On a second trip across Western Europe, the focus is on the structure of the EU with visits to EU institutions in key European cities:

  • Brussels
  • Frankfurt
  • Luxembourg
  • Strasbourg

For the final trip, you explore economics, politics, and other topics of current importance to the EU in one of three regions. Options have included:

  • London, England; Dublin, Ireland or Belfast, Northern Ireland or Stockholm, Sweden; and Riga, Latvia or Tallinn, Estonia – Euroscepticism, Brexit, and EU relations with Russia
  • Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain; and Rome, Italy – Regionalism, Environment, Migration, and Ethnic Minorities
  • Athens, Greece; Budapest, Hungary; and Bucharest, Romania or Sofia, Bulgaria – Immigration and refugees, the Greek euro crisis, stability, transition, and energy security

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Freiburg is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the day trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


The program begins with a mandatory orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad European Union staff, your fellow students, and the city of Freiburg. Orientation also includes a trip to the idyllic Black Forest, where you can hike and enjoy a typical German Kaffee und Kuchen—an afternoon ritual of having cake and coffee with friends.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™), begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.

As part of your orientation, you will have 20-25 hours of intensive German language instruction, followed by a seminar that will prepare you for the first course-related trip.


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Freiburg, it will feel like home.

Shared University Apartment – You live in a single or double room in a co-ed suite with a shared kitchen and bath. Suites are shared with German and international students and have Internet access.

Single Studio Apartment – You will have your own studio apartment with a single bath and pantry kitchen. The internet is also provided. The complex houses other German and international students. Spots are limited and may include additional fees.

Meals are not included in the program cost. Students usually prepare meals in their housing or dine in Freiburg’s affordable student cafeterias.


Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Summer 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Summer 2020 $16,010 $3,810 $230 $20,050

Scholarships & Aid

Program-Specific Scholarships

Robert McNeill Need-Based International Business Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 2 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Robert McNeill, a member of the IES Abroad Board of Directors for 25 years (6 years as Chairman). Open to students who have an interest in international business. Majors might include management, marketing, economics, finance, international relations, and social and behavioral sciences.

Our Center

The IES Abroad European Union Center is housed in a historic 19th-century building with a fully renovated interior. Located in the heart of Freiburg, the EU Center is only a short walk from the main campus of the Albert ­Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, the shopping district, and the Freiburg Theater.

Features include:

  • Classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment
  • High-speed Internet and printer access
  • A student library and a student lounge
  • A large outdoor garden space
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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