The Junior Program at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium (KU-Leuven) offers you an educational experience that focuses on European culture and society. Courses for junior-level students are taught in English and cover the nine academic areas listed below; you can get a list of courses from the Study Abroad Office.
You'll be able to take an intensive three-week course in Dutch language and culture during either the fall or spring semesters. Organized tours to prominent sites in the vicinity and to neighboring countries will expose you firsthand to the history and culture of Europe.
KU-Leuven hosts more than 2,000 international students annually, many of whom are enrolled in the Erasmus Program that offers a baccalaureate course of study in English to residents of the European Union. The Junior Program in European Culture and Society – the program through which Hanover College is affiliated – brings nearly 60 American undergraduates to Leuven each semester for up to a year of study. You will find yourself in an international classroom. The faculty teaching these courses are recruited from regular university faculty for their academic expertise, language skills and familiarity with American higher education.
Where KU-Leuven differs most from Hanover is in the nature of its courses and the tendency of European professors to emphasize student initiative and responsibility for study and learning. A typical class meets once each week in lecture format with 60-100 students, resulting in few day-to-day graded projects. In addition, professors expect that as students prepare for class, they will extend their study beyond the basic requirements stipulated in the course description. Assigned texts are only a starting point, and most of the descriptions for Junior Program courses list only one required text and perhaps several recommended readings. Final course grades are usually determined during a single 15- to 30-minute oral exam designed to probe your understanding and appreciation of course material. Students who demonstrate true mastery of the subject earn top scores. This may require you as a Hanover student to adjust your study habits to a very different system, but all evidence suggests that you will adapt well to these demands and become much more well-rounded and independent in the process.
The Katholieke Universiteit, founded in 1425, is Belgium's largest university and is the oldest Catholic university in the world. KU-Leuven's classroom facilities are modern, and university personnel are knowledgeable, helpful and generally fluent in English. The university operates several computer labs and leases PC's to students. All campus computers are linked to the Internet. The University library system in impressive: its central facility holds more than one million volumes, has an online catalogue, computer facilities and CD-ROM stations that allow you to perform a great variety of searches and other tasks, with a multi-lingual command selection option. The holdings of departments and faculty bring the university collections to more than three million volumes, many of which are in English, including thousands of journals and newspapers.
Leuven is a medieval university town with 27,000 of its 90,000 inhabitants affiliated with the university. Situated in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium, the city is 20 miles east of Brussels, the Belgian capital. Housing the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, many consider Flanders the unofficial capital of Europe.
Belgians typically speak English well, making travel easier if you don't speak one of the local languages. Leuven's central location, Europe's close distances, and an extensive train network will allow you to take a short trip to many of Europe's cultural centers. Leuven is three hours by train from Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, and four hours through the Chunnel from London. It is also an excellent base for extended trips throughout Europe, again made convenient by the train system and flexible unlimited rail passes.
You'll live in a residence within walking distance of the university, together with Belgian and other European students. The facilities are furnished, have a common kitchen, and reflect the Belgian-student tendency to study in one's room. Bed linens, comforters, pillows, and kitchenware are included in the rent. You can also seek your own housing in the private market.
The fall semester starts mid-September and ends in December. The spring semester begins in early February and ends in June.
You can apply to student at KU-Leuven through through the Study Abroad Office. The application procedure is lengthy, due to the requirements of international study and the need to maintain satisfactory progress toward graduation from Hanover. The application deadlines are strictly enforced. We urge you to contact the Study Abroad Office for an application for off-campus study. Consult your academic advisors or the study abroad advisor early in your career, so that you can plan ahead. Studying off-campus for a term requires careful planning to ensure timely completion of the Liberal Arts Degree Requirements and major course requirements.
Our faculty that have visited KU-Leuven include Professors Ahrens, Hughes, Thornton, Barlow and Eden, all of whom are happy to answer your questions.
Visit KU-Leuven at: http://www2.arts.kuleuven.be/info/pecs