Comprising 28 member states operating as an internal market and political union, the European Union (EU) is a diplomatic and economic powerhouse. Starting with the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, the EU’s purpose was to make its member countries more competitive in the global marketplace while simultaneously promoting lasting peace. Certainly, the European Union is an interesting field of study for its uniqueness alone. But there are other reasons to study the EU as well.
Read on for a roundup of reasons to pursue EU studies, along with one institute, in particular, where opportunities abound.
Three Reasons to Pursue EU Studies
The field of European Union studies addresses concepts and theories pertaining to the history, economy, politics, and laws of the EU, along with exploring core concerns facing the EU. Here’s a closer look at three reasons EU studies are a smart choice for today’s globally minded students.
1. You’ll get a major career boost.
Why limit your education to one country when you can enjoy exchanges with students, academics, and researchers from many different countries? This can lead to profound takeaways in the classroom as well as an invaluable inside edge in the job market -- particularly in regards to Brexit and the retreat of the UK. These negotiations will require understanding of and insight into the complexities of the EU and its laws and systems.
2. There’s no better time than now.
Contends Pearson, a European Affairs student from the US, for Medium, “The European Union has become a unique and valuable project, dedicated to remembering the mistakes of the past and, by making European countries interdependent, ensuring that these mistakes do not recur.”
And while studies in this area have ongoing value, now is especially ripe -- both because of Brexit, but also looking beyond it.
Pearson continues, “Though the continent has a long history, the European Union is young and evolving. Those of us studying and working on Europe have the opportunity to be a part of active institutional history, to conceptualize and create a Union that will allow us to prevent the mistakes of the past from recurring and to move forward to face what seem to be the impossible challenges of today. As an American, I hope to use what I am learning about Europe to help dismantle transatlantic barriers.”
3. The EU is an amazing achievement.
The EU has achieved many things in the 60 years since it was founded, including giving 500 million people the freedom to live, study and work anywhere on the continent. The EU won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for its contributions to “the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” The world at large has a lot to learn from the EU, and students in this field are positioning themselves to lead the way.
At the same time, the EU is neither perfect nor static. Rather, it is a work in progress requiring both growth and change. As the EU continues to evolve within the context of the evolving world, it will require new perspectives to guide the process.
Finding the Right EU Studies Program
We’ve established the appeal of EU studies for the world’s students, which begs the question: If you’ve decided to pursue studies in this area, what school should be at the top of your list? Enter the Institute for European Studies of the ULB (IEE-ULB), which offers English-taught interdisciplinary training in the essentials of European integration -- in the very heart of Europe and has been, for over half a century, a reference in the field of European studies.
Designed for students with pre-existing master’s degrees in a variety of fields including history, information and communication, law, criminology, sociology, economics, political sciences, management and management engineering, European studies, translation, interpretation, languages and modern literature, and linguistics, the IEE-ULB’s Specialized Master in Interdisciplinary EU Studies offers students the opportunity to pursue and acquire in-depth studies in a dynamic and international environment.
Beginning with a fundamental module of core classes promoting adequate understanding of European integration, the program then offers students the choice between three thematic tracks: Economic Governance and Policies in the EU; Migration, Rights and Policies and EU Integration, Regionalism and Global Governance.
A compulsory internship with a final dissertation based on the professional experience acquired during the internship further enhances each student’s career development and job prospects. Students can also opt to participate in an annual exchange program through an agreement with Waseda University, in Tokyo.
EU Studies for Professionals
IEE-ULB’s Executive Master in European Union Studies in Brussels (MEUS), meanwhile, offers customized and certified training for professionals. Participants can take either the full program or specific modules or courses for the ultimate in flexibility.
Ideal for a broad range of professionals including diplomats, officials in national public administrations, representatives of EU member states or third countries, specialists in European political communication and journalists, the MEUS confers a sought-after Level 7 “certificate in European Union Studies.” (If you’re interested in this option, act fast -- early bird rates end on July 15th.)
Still not convinced that IEE-ULB is the place for you? You don’t have to take our word for it regarding the many advantages of an IEE-ULB education. Says student Gillian Hankey of her time at Institute, “The program is heavy, but at the same time, and thanks to that, you get to the end with a great sense of achievement. And the people are great!”