The International Relations and Politics in the European Union program is run by AIM Overseas’ partner in the Netherlands – Maastricht University’s Center for European Studies. Located in the southern most part of the Netherlands, within walking distance of Belgium and cycling distance of Germany, Maastricht has developed a very hybrid culture throughout its history and is now a symbol of pan-European identity.
The course takes full advantage of the location and is a great mix of lectures, sites visits and field trips making the program very dynamic. Over 3 intensive weeks, you will attend 36 hours of classes where you will take an in-depth look at the legal, economic and political landscapes of the European Union. You will also delve into the issues pertaining to international relations with a minor focus on human rights. During the program, you will also visit places such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague and the European Parliament in Brussels. The course is ideal for students studying international relations, history and politics, but students should also note that there is content relating to economic and legal issues. This means that the program may be well suited for business students with an interest in the European Union, or law students in combined degrees who focus on international relations.
Hear What a Returned Student Says About the Program
University and Faculty
Maastricht University is a public University in the Netherlands, founded in 1976. In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were international students. About half of the bachelor’s programs are fully offered in English and most of the master’s and doctoral programs are in English as well. In 2013, Maastricht University was the second Dutch university to be rewarded the ‘Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation’ by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
Find out more about the beautiful city of Maastricht, Maastricht University and the Centre for European Studies below
The professor teaching this course is Mr. Matt Heckman LLM from the Zuyd University for Applied Sciences.
Matt Heckman has been teaching European law and European economic integration for 22 years at various universities in The Netherlands. He was Director of International Affairs for 14 years at a Dutch University and is currently teaching at various graduate programs (both MBA and MA) in the Netherlands, Finland, UK and the USA. He studied at the University of Maastricht, the University of Lancaster and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He holds a Bachelor Degree and a Masters Degree in International and European Law and has gained working experience working for the Commission of the EU.
Additional Course Information
Classes will cover the following topics:
- Introduction to the EU
- History of EU/Integration
- International and European Human Rights Law
- The institutional-framework
- The four basic freedoms
- Legal aspects of the Economic and Monetary Union
- The EU competition law
- The Council of Europe and ECHR
- The accession of new member states
- The cooperation between EU Member-States in the field of Justice and Safety
- The future of European integration: EU on the way to a political union?
- EU Common Foreign and Security Policy; cases and analysis
- Coercive and peaceful settlement in Europe
- Multinational Enterprises and Human rights
Site Visits and Cultural Activities
Site visits and cultural activities are included in the program fee. These activities are designed to give you a feel for Dutch life and culture, as well as give you the opportunity to meet and spend time with local students.
2017 activities are yet to be finalised, below is a list of sample site visits and activities for your reference:
- Weekend excursion to Brussels (visit to European Parliament, European Commission- TBC)
- Weekend excursion to The Hague and Amsterdam (visit to International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – TBC)
- Two cultural Dutch dinner nights with local students
- Walking tours
You will be accommodated at the Maastricht University International Student Guesthouse which is located within walking distance from downtown Maastricht behind the Court of Justice. You will receive a map of the city upon arrival so that you can find your way around easily during the first few days. All participants are encouraged to follow the example of the local students and rent a bike to cycle to classes as it is the fastest and most convenient way to get there (Maastricht is flat so no big uphill to fear, but do plan on bringing lots of layers of clothing to keep you warm!).
In terms of room options, you will be given the option of having your own room or sharing with another AIM Overseas participant. All rooms have WiFi. You will have free access to a tennis and basketball court as well as laundry facilities. Linens are provided, but you will need to bring your own towels.
Option 1) Single room, C building
You will have your own room and will share a basic communal kitchen and bathroom with the people on your floor.
There is also a common area with some couches and a TV, where you can spend time with other students. There is an additional fee.
Option 2) Double room, P building
You will be sharing a spacious twin-share room with another AIM Overseas program participant. Each room has a kitchenette. You will share the bathroom facilities with the people on your floor. There is no common area available in this building.
The Netherlands is a small densely populated country home to about 16.8 million people located in Western Europe. Tradition and innovation intertwine in this country: artistic masterpieces, windmills, tulips and candlelit cafés coexist with groundbreaking architecture, cutting-edge design and phenomenal nightlife.
Geography plays a key role in the Netherlands’ iconic landscapes. More than half the pancake-flat country is below sea level, and 20% has been reclaimed from the sea, making rows of polders (areas of drained land) omnipresent. Uninterrupted North Sea winds have powered windmills since the 13th century, pumping water over the dykes, and milling flour and more. Some two-thirds of the surface is devoted to agriculture, including fields of tulips.
The flat, fabulously scenic landscapes make cycling in the Netherlands a pleasure (headwinds not withstanding). Cycling is an integral part of life and locals live on their fiets (bicycle): more than a quarter of all journeys countrywide are by bike, rising to more than a third in big cities. The canals that run throughout the city are lined with little cafes that act as social hubs for the locals and visitors.
Maastricht, located at the very bottom of the Netherlands, has both Spanish and Roman ruins all around, sophisticated food and drink and lots of bars and cafes. It also holds French and Belgium twists in architecture. The location of Maastricht is crucial as it lies a short distance between the German and Belgium border therefore being an interesting mix of the two countries. Maastricht is the epitome of a student town perfect for travelling to as a student, the locals are bilingual in English and Dutch and are extremely welcoming to all visitors. Maastricht is a warm and energetic city with appeal and allure out of proportion to its size.
Credit and Funding
All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.
Course convenors will not be able approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus, so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive this in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack, along with information about how to apply for credit at your university.
You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.
Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.
We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, as well as in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.
Applications are now open for this program. Early application is recommended as places are limited.
We’ve included for your convenience below the initial stages of the application process.
1. Apply online
2. You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results
3. We’ll review your results and application and if you are eligible, will invite you to an initial consultation by phone with an advisor.
4. You’ll pay our $40 application fee and book in your phone consultation with an advisor.
5. The phone consultation lasts about 15 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.
6. Once you return any necessary documents (which we’ll advise you of in the consultation), we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, we’ll send you your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
7. Your acceptance pack will contain the course syllabus, steps on applying for credit and funding, and an invoice for the program deposit. Your place is secured once you’ve paid your deposit.
Programs are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.
Students who wish to apply after the official application closing date (15th September) are required to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly on (02) 9975 7792. Please note, that late applications are subject to a $100 late fee (inclusive of the $40 phone consultation fee). For more information, please refer to the AIM Overseas Late Application Fee Document.
For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions.