Study Abroad: Budapest Migration and New Refugees (George Mason U.)

Deadline for applications: November 23, 2017

THE BUDAPEST SEMESTER, SPRING 2018: Migration and the New Refugees of Europe
JANUARY 24 –MAY 31, 2018

This unique and innovative semester program offers students an unparalleled opportunity to closely examine refugee issues by focusing on topics such as humanitarian and asylum law, migrant absorption policies, border security, racism and xenophobia, opposition to the integration of refugees, cultural preservation and international cooperation. As such, students will explore existing tensions between state sovereignty on the one hand, and transnationalism on the other, and the growing controversy on the future viability of the European Union.

According to estimates, over one million refugees and migrants entered Europe since 2015 as a result of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, poverty in states such as Kosovo and Albania, and unrest and uncertainty in a number of other states outside Europe. At the same time, several factors have attracted these migrants to Europe, including jobs, safety, and family unification. The refugees’ plight has sparked an unparalleled humanitarian crisis which has not been seen since the Second World War, leading to an ongoing political turmoil with far-reaching implications beyond the continent’s borders. The crisis has led to new political and social divisions causing realignments within the Europe Union, and initiating an intense debate on how Europe should handle the crisis both on its external borders and inside the continent. The Brexit vote is a case in point.

While the crisis has directly affected countries like Greece and Germany as a point of entry or intended destination, respectively, Hungary has been in the forefront of the debate for its radical, rejectionist policy which stands in stark contrast to the “open door” approach advocated by the Western European members of the EU. In contrast, many organizations within Hungary’s vibrant civil society have been advocating alternative approaches to the government’s position. Therefore, studying these topics in Hungary presents students with a unique vantage point on migration and the new refugees of Europe, making Budapest a highly attractive venue for studying this phenomenon.

The Semester in Budapest offers students a combination of a three-day per week professional internship, and three high level, academically challenging courses that examine the empirical sociology, legal and humanitarian foundations, and also the philosophical and political underpinnings of the crisis. The three courses are held at King Zsigmond University in Budapest and taught by three senior Hungarian professors who are experts in these fields.

This semester program is based in Budapest, Hungary, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a perfect location for studying migration and refugee issues. Students will enroll in three classes two days per week: External and Internal Determinants of the Recent Global Migration to Europe: A Sociological ApproachInternational Law, Migration, and the Media: EU Migration Policy and the Response to the Current Migration and Refugee CrisisPolitical Theory of Pluralism and Multiculturalism: Migration and Refugee Issues. Students will work as interns in various organizations in Budapest three days per week. Students will be housed in shared fully furnished apartments in downtown Budapest with all amenities. Housing is in close proximity to public transportation. During the program, students can look forward to a three-day field in Serbia. While there, you may have the opportunity to visit refugee camps and meet with refugees, as well as Hungarian, Serbian, United Nations officials, and representatives of the myriad NGOs involved in assisting the refugees.

Hungary is located in the heart of Europe with perfect access to Western and Eastern Europe, convenient for weekend trips and spring break trips.

The internship component offers students the opportunity to work 24 hours per week at non-governmental, inter-governmental or governmental bodies that are directly involved in the refugee crisis. Students will be individually placed and contribute to the work of these organizations with missions directly related to the program’s theme.

During the Spring 2017 program, students travelled to Serbia to visit refugee camps and meet with refugees, as well as Hungarian, Serbian, United Nations officials, and representatives of the myriad NGOs involved in assisting the refugees.

For more information and application, check the website.