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The Hague abroad program will have final run this summer

After a 10-year run, the Brandeis in The Hague summer study abroad program will have its last session this summer.

The program is no longer able to function as one that “meets Brandeis’s standards” after this summer, said Associate Dean of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

Despite collaborating with academic partners Leiden University and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies over the past 10 years, the six-week, two-course program is ending “based on shifting academic priorities at Leiden University, limited student housing and the continued lack of U.S. Federal Financial Aid portability,” said Van Der Meid. “This was not a decision that was taken lightly,” he said.  

One of three Brandeis-led study abroad programs, the Brandeis in The Hague program focuses on international law and human rights issues, according to the program website. Students who attend the program “will gain a global perspective while interacting with criminal tribunals in The Hague and working on projects that address major global issues,” according to the program website. Coursework is supervised and partially taught, along with faculty from the Grotius Centre, by Professor Melissa Stimell (LGLS).

The decision to end the program was met with disappointment, according to Aaron Finkel ’19, one of the students participating in The Hague program’s final summer. “This is one of Brandeis’ most popular Study Abroad programs, and it’s a shame the University can’t keep it running. However, if there’s anything I’ve learned from being Student Body Vice President, it’s that sometimes you are forced to make tough decisions that not everyone will be happy with,” he said in an email to The Hoot.

“I trust this issue was discussed for a long time before a decision was made. However, they should know that many students are extremely disappointed, and if they can find a way to continue the program in the future, it would be very much appreciated,” Finkel continued.

Finkel chose The Hague program because he intends to go to law school. “There’s no better place to study international law than in the Hague. I saw this as a great opportunity for me, so I’m glad I will be part of the final year,” he said.

The original goal of the program was “to provide a Brandeis-led study abroad program that would showcase a lot of the incredible work taking place in The Hague and at Leiden University,” said Van Der Meid. The program was originally only focused on Legal Studies, but the International and Global Studies (IGS) department quickly joined as well, allowing students to take courses abroad that would count for the major and minor.

While Brandeis had run its own programs in the past in Israel, Poland and Germany, the Brandeis in the Hague program “started a new wave of faculty-led programming at Brandeis that now includes Brandeis in Siena and Brandeis in Copenhagen,” Van Der Meid said.  

Despite its end, there will still be “robust opportunities to study abroad” for those students interested in Legal Studies, IGS and Politics, Van Der Meid said. Students can peruse the over 200 programs in 58 countries that Brandeis approves, and should reach out to a study abroad advisor to discuss their options.

In addition, the deadline to apply for the last summer of The Hague program has been extended to March 20. Students with a strong interest in applying should contact Assistant Director of Study Abroad Michelle Ranieri at mranieri@brandeis.edu or Professor Melissa Stimell at stimell@brandeis.edu.      

“I am looking forward to celebrating with students the final summer of Brandeis in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice!” Stimell said in an email to The Hoot.

Brandeis also runs the Brandeis in Copenhagen and Brandeis in Siena programs. The Copenhagen program focuses on Microeconomic Theory and Behavioral Economics, while the Siena program focuses on Studio Art and Art History.

The Brandeis-India Science Scholars Program (BISSP) in Bangalore ended last year as well, due mainly to the fact that there were differences in cross-cultural understanding about what constituted a proper level of student support, according to an announcement about the end of the program forwarded to The Hoot by Van Der Meid. Van Der Meid emphasized that the Study Abroad Office is “actively looking for a new science partner and have been working with a larger cohort of science students this year from the various approved options around the world.”   

More information on all Brandeis-led study abroad programs can be found on the Brandeis Study Abroad Office’s website.  

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