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  • Locations: Fribourg, Switzerland; Strasbourg, France
  • Program Terms: Winter Break
  • Budget Sheets: Winter Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Campus Housing Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Prerequisite: Yes
Type of Program: Faculty-led Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Government and International Policy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Economics, Global Affairs, History, Integrative Studies
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program eligible for VA Benefits: Yes
Program Description:

The Future of the United Nations and the European Union

Switzerland/France, Winter 2022

UN photos
The Survey of International Organizations provides students with the history, functioning, and significance of key international organizations in today’s fast changing global environment. The course examines past achievements and failures of some of the world’s most important economic, political and humanitarian organizations from an interdisciplinary perspective. An understanding of the history of Europe, especially post World War I, the creation of the League of Nations and later, the United Nations, and the stages of European integration, is critical to understanding the challenges facing international organizations, member-states, and civil society today and is contained in our readings, lectures, and discussions. The goal of the course is to equip participants with an understanding of how history, norms, laws, civil and intergovernmental organizations shape the current international system. Analytical tools help students assess both the future role of international organizations in the 21st century and their past and present effectiveness in addressing important global challenges, including global warming, pandemics, poverty, human rights and migration, and conflicts.

Explore the goals, functions, and significance of international organizations and laws, while grappling with critical questions: 
  • What is the future of regional integration with Brexit?
  • How are international organizations and civil society protecting and providing services during the highest levels of displacement on record?
  • Will there be a trade war or will the World Trade Organization structure prevail?
  • Will nuclear deals lead to disarmament?
  • What is the future of Europe and the refugees?  
Your participation will influence what the answers will be by helping create solutions, talk with decision makers, civil servants, and non-profit leaders. 

Program Highlights

  • Based in Fribourg, a lively university town and one of the largest medieval towns in Switzerland. With over a mile of fortified walls and preserved remnants of turrets and bastions, it is a fascinating pedestrian friendly city, surrounded by water on three sides, with bridges that divide the French speaking from the German speaking sides.
  • Two full-day trips to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland for meetings at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), The Office of Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, and the World Trade Organization. 
  • Overnight trip to Strasbourg, France, in the quaint area with canals and cobbled lanes where visitors can sample Alsatian culture and cuisine.
  • Briefings at the European Parliament, European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe, and more in France. 


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University. 

Students should have taken at least one course in International Relations, Government Studies, Global Affairs, Conflict Resolution, Political Economy, or a similar class prior to participation in this program.

Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.


Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.

Course Options

  • Global Affairs - GLOA 480: Study Abroad in Switzerland
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution - CONF 385: International Field Experience
  • Government - GOVT 398: Study Abroad in Switzerland
  • Economics - ECON 492: Study Abroad in Switzerland
    • Prerequisites for ECON 492: must have completed at least one of these courses with a 'C' or higher: ECON 103, 104, or 385.
  • History - HIST 387: Topics in Global History
  • Integrative Studies - INTS 399: Study Abroad
  • Integrative Studies - INTS 595: Special Topics
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution - CONF 695: Selected Topics- Survey of Intl Orgs
*Subject to change. Course offerings will be finalized by the application deadline.

Program Dates

January 1 - 15, 2022


Tentative Itinerary 

Jan. 1 Depart US in the evening
Jan. 2 Arrive in Fribourg. Program and class orientation
Jan. 3 Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: International Law and Human Rights
Jan. 4 Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: NGOs and Global Governance
Jan. 5 Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: International Economics
Jan. 6 Briefings in Geneva: UN Office of Disarmament (UNODA), Office of the UN High
Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), & the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Jan. 7 Mid-term Exam; Afternoon free
Jan. 8 Free Day
Jan. 9 Free Day
Jan. 10 Briefings in Geneva at the World Trade Organization (WTO), The International Labour
Organization (ILO)
Jan. 11 Guest lectures at University of Fribourg. Topic: The European Union
Jan. 12 Final Exam
Jan. 13 Trip to Strasbourg, France. Briefings to EU institutions: The European Parliament
&  European Court of Human Rights. Overnight in Strasbourg.
Jan. 14 Tour and visit to the Council of Europe. Private bus back to Fribourg.
Jan. 15 Program end and departure for US.

* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Winter 2022: $4200

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.

  • Application deposit
  • Tuition for 3 credits and mandatory fees
  • Shared rooms at University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Hotel accommodations (shared) in Strasbourg, France
  • Three meals a day during week
  • Guided tours and excursions as described in itinerary
  • Chartered bus to Geneva & Switzerland to France
  • International Emergency Medical Insurance

Not included: 
  • Airfare*
  • Round-trip train tickets from airport to Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Some meals (weekends and late-returns from trips)
  • Personal spending
  • COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure
  • COVID-19 testing while abroad
  • Vaccinations
  • Required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email.

The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights.  When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.


Program Payments

The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment.)
Application Deposit: $200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is made through the Mason Bill+Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule.  The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 you will have already paid, the Application Deposit
  • You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill+Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your student account.
  • George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.

Financial Aid:
In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility.
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO.  Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program.
If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad you must:
  • Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in
After acceptance:
*Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:
VA Benefits: The Veterans Administration determines if a program is eligible to receive VA benefit payments based on the participants VA education program. Use of benefits is dependent on type of benefit and type of program. If you plan to use VA benefits to finance study abroad contact your program officer at to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form." You will complete that form with Mason’s Office of Military Services. To contact Military Services be sure to email them directly at

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Tuition Exemptions
If you plan to apply for a tuition exemption (for example VMSDEP or senior citizen exemption) to cover a portion of the total cost of the Study Abroad program please contact GEO immediately. Not all exemptions are eligible for use on study abroad courses. When an exemption is eligible for use, only tuition charges are covered. The participant will be required to pay program fees, which may include housing, meals, and direct payments to our overseas partners.
Employee Tuition Exemption Benefit
Global Education Office (Study Abroad) courses and trip fees are ineligible for tuition waivers under this policy. For more information please see the Employee Tuition Exemption Benefit for details.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:



GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:


Application Deadline:

October 10, 2021


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  Sonja Taylor Headshot
Name Sonja Taylor
Phone 703-993-1400

GEO Program Administrator

Name Beth Cauvel
Phone 703-993-2154

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.