Thursday, May 10, 2018

CFA: Semester Abroad Program, Budapest

Application Opens in August

New Borders in a Borderless Europe: Refugees, Minorities, and National Identity

JANUARY 23 –MAY 31, 2019

The idealized vision of a united Europe is coming under assault. Migrants and refugees are challenging Europe’s “open-door” policy; some ethnic minorities demand equality while others seek independence; and ultra nationalist groups and populist parties are bursting into the political mainstream.

According to estimates, over one million refugees and migrants entered Europe since 2015. The refugees’ plight has sparked an acute humanitarian crisis which led to new political and social divisions within the Europe Union. It initiated an intense debate on how individual countries and the European Union ought to handle the crisis both inside the continent and on its external borders.

Why Budapest? The crisis has directly affected countries like Greece and Germany as a point of entry or intended destination, respectively. Hungary, on the other hand, despite its EU membership, vehemently opposes the resettlement of refugees in the continent as practiced by the Western European members of the Union. However, many organizations within Hungary’s vibrant civil society have been advocating alternative humanitarian approaches to the government’s hardline policy.

This distinctive semester equips students with a unique lens to closely examine topics such as the emergence of nationalist movements and political parties which aim to challenge the vision of a united Europe. Should Europe remain a borderless Union, or rather, should new veiled borders be erected to keep out foreigners who do not share the continent’s religious and racial identities? How can Europe maintain its democratic and pluralistic ethos given these challenges?

Themes such as the politics of national identity, role of minorities, migrant absorption policies, border security, racism and xenophobia, opposition to the integration of refugees, cultural preservation and international cooperation are explored. Further, existing tensions between sovereignty and local nationalism on the one hand, and transnationalism on the other, as well as the growing controversy over the future viability of the European Union form the intellectual foundations of this academic program.

The program includes three academically challenging courses taught by senior Hungarian professors and a professional internship.

The internship enables students to work 24 hours per week during the semester at non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with missions related to the program’s academic objectives.

During the Spring 2017 and 2018 programs, students travelled to Serbia to visit refugee camps and meet with refugees, United Nations officials, and international aid workers involved in assisting the refugees. A similar trip is planned in 2019.

Students are housed in modern, fully-furnished apartments, located in downtown Budapest with easy access to public transportation, restaurants, groceries, and shopping.

For more information click here: "New Borders in a Borderless Europe: Refugees, Minorities, and National Identity." 

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