Europe Program

Europe Program: Spain and Italy

The Europe Program provides the opportunity for second-year LIU Global students to explore and experience the great cities of Europe and the impact that Europe has had on global history and politics. Through study travel in London, Berlin, Morocco, Austria, Hungary, and Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as extended residence in Madrid and Florence, students gain unique perspectives on Europe’s cultural and political innovations, as well as the impact these forces have had on the rest of the world. In this yearlong program, students study the emergence of the modern European nations and the role that these nations have played in the first wave of globalization during the Imperial Age. Students also gain an understanding of the role of Europe and the European Union as a major geopolitical player in the contemporary Global Age. The program has two parts: Europe I in the fall and Europe II in the spring semester. 

The Europe I Program is based at the Franklin Institute at the University of Alcalá, located in Alcalá de Henares, a UNESCO World Heritage Site approximately 20 miles northeast of the city of Madrid. Founded in 1499, the University of Alcalá is the second oldest university in Spain. The city was the place of important events in the history and culture of Spain, such as the birth of Cervantes and key meetings between Christopher Columbus and the Spanish monarchs that commissioned his voyages to America. From Alcalá, it is a convenient 30-minute train ride to central Madrid and to major cultural attractions, such as the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museum.

The Europe II Program is housed in the famed city of Florence, considered the birthplace of the European Renaissance. The Florence School of Fine Arts, the partner institution where LIU Global is housed, is located in the heart of the city’s historical center, situated on a quiet street, steps away from Piazza Santa Croce. This historic neighborhood, one of the most beautiful settings in Florence, breathes the Renaissance atmosphere and is only minutes away from the Uffizi Gallery, Loggia dei Lanzi, the Arno River, and the historic Ponte Vecchio. This advantageous location provides LIU Global students with a vibrant and inspirational surrounding to study art, culture, and politics.

Academic Overview: Europe I – Fall Semester – UK, Germany, Spain, Morocco

The first semester of the Europe Program begins with a two-week module in London and Berlin. Through lectures and experiential programming, students explore the emergence of the political culture of the modern European nation-state, the basic building block of international relations and global governance. For the second module, students move to the program’s home base at the University of Alcalá to study the forces that have shaped modern Europe. Spain serves as a case study for exploring nationalism, identity, imperialism, security, and social development. The third module, linked to a fieldwork methods course, provides an opportunity for field research in Morocco. Student research focuses on the historical and contemporary forces that impact Europe from the Arab World and Africa, engaging in two key issues: political Islam and migration. Students visit Fez, the ancient cultural center of Morocco, and are introduced to the shared challenges that the economic and political relationship between Morocco and the European Union face.

Key features include:

  • Module 1: Experiential course in Berlin and London that orients students to European political history, focusing on the transition from kingdoms and empires to the modern nation-state.
  • Module 2: Courses on Spanish language and culture delivered at the University of Alcalá, focusing on Spain as a case study of the evolution of Europe from ancient to modern times. Students also take a bibliographic research class in which they conduct a research project.
  • Module 3: Experiential and fieldwork modules in Morocco focus on issues relevant to Europe, namely political Islam and migration (a conversational Moroccan Arabic language course is an integral part of the module).

Academic Overview: Europe II – Spring Term – Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Bosnia & Herzegovina

The second semester of the Europe Program focuses on the comparative politics of post World War II Europe, beginning with a two-week module in Austria and Hungary. Through lectures and experiential programming, students gain a deeper understanding of the national constitutional arrangements that emerged in the postwar era and the role of the European Union in global governance and economic systems. For the second module, the program moves to its base at the Florence School of Fine Arts, where students take courses in documentary filmmaking, world cinema, Renaissance art, and conversational Italian. The program’s third module takes students to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Experiential programming in Sarajevo focuses on the theme of reconciliation in the aftermath of the ethnic conflicts that affected the region following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia (1991-2001).

Key features include:

  • Module 1: Experiential course in Austria and Hungary that focuses on the relationships between European national political systems and the ideals, aspirations, and interests represented by the European Union.
  • Module 2: Course work at the Florence School of Fine Arts in Renaissance art, world cinema, documentary filmmaking, conversational Italian, and the monotheistic religious traditions in Europe.
  • Module 3: Experiential and research module in Sarajevo, focusing on issues of ethnic and religious conflict in the context of reconciliation following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia (1991-2001).
At the end of the yearlong program in Europe, students gain a deeper understanding of “Europe” as a region characterized by profound tension, war, and aggression, but also one that has promoted a tradition of great humanist ideals. These ideals have forged, in the late 20th century, the European Union, one of the great experiments in transnational governance.
Fall Curriculum (Spain)
European Politics: The Emergence of the Modern Nation State
Introduction to Spain
Intermediate or Advanced Spanish
Approaching Answers: Bibliographic Research
Advanced Methods in Field Research
Spring Curriculum (Italy)
Comparative Politics and the European Ideal: National Governments and the European Union
Civilization, Politics & Contexts: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
World Cinema
Art of the Renaissance in Florence
Exploring Documentary Video
Conversational Italian