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  • Locations: Budapest, Hungary
  • Program Terms: Spring Semester
  • Budget Sheets: Spring Semester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Flat/Apartment Number of Credits Offered: 12-16
Eligible Population: 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Internship
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Political Philosophy, Public Policy and Management, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Social Justice, Sociology, Government and International Policy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Criminology, Law and Society, Anthropology, Global Affairs, Health and Social Policy, History, Immigration Studies, Integrative Studies, International Security, International/Comparative Studies Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0 Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:
Budapest Migration

The Budapest Semester 

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

Application Deadline for Spring 2019 Extended to October 21st, 2018!


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.


Program Details

This semester program is based in Budapest, Hungary, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a perfect location for studying migration and refugee issues. The program includes three academically challenging courses taught by senior Hungarian professors and a professional internship. The internship enables students to work 20 hours per week during the semester at non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with missions related to the program’s academic objectives. Students will be housed in shared, fully furnished apartments in downtown Budapest with all amenities. Housing is in close proximity to public transportation.

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

Hungary is located in the heart of Europe with perfect access to Western and Eastern Europe, convenient for weekend trips and spring break trips.
Internship Credit Course Credit
6 credits (Undergraduate)
3 credits (Graduate)
9 credits


Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

External and Internal Determinants of the Recent Global Migration to Europe. A sociological approach Nationalism and the Politics of National Identity in Europe Minority Conflicts and Inter-Ethnic Relations
3 credits 3 credits 3 credits
Internship course taught in English by Mason Professor Yehuda Lukacs, PhD in Budapest Taught in English by Professor Antal Örkény Taught in English by Dr. Szabolcs Pogonyi Taught in English by Professor Frank Zsigó
Offering credit for the following undergraduate courses:
  • Integrative Studies (INTS) 390 - International Internship in Budapest (6 credits) - default
  • Global Affairs (GLOA) 495 - Internship in Budapest (6 credits)
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF) 370 - Internship in Budapest (6 credits)
  • Government (GOVT) 480 - Internship in Budapest (6 credits)

Offering credit for the following graduate courses:
  • Integrative Studies (INTS) 595 - Internship in Budapest (3 credits) - default
Offering credit for the following undergraduate courses:
  • Anthropology (ANTH) 331 - Refugees 
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF) 397 - Global Migration
  • Global Affairs (GLOA) 480 - Global Migration
  • Government (GOVT) 444 - Global Migration
  • Sociology (SOCI) 395 - Global Migration

Offering credit for the following graduate courses:
  • Integrative Studies (INTS) 595 - Global Migration  - default
  • Sociology (SOCI) 624 - International Migration in the Age of Globalization
Offering credit for the following undergraduate courses:
  • Government (GOVT) 329: Issues in Political Theories/Values
  • Government (GOVT) 339: Issues In Politics of Adv. Industrial Societies
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF) 397 - Global Migration
  • Global Affairs (GLOA) 480: National Identity in Europe

Offering credit for the following graduate courses:
  • Government (GOVT) 741: Adv. Sem in Int'l Politics
  • Anthropology (ANTH) 655: Nationalism, Transnationalism, & States 
Offering credit for the following undergraduate courses:
  • Sociology (SOCI) 395: Minority Conflicts
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF) 397: Minority Conflicts
  • Global Affairs (GLOA) 480: Minority Conflics
  • Government (GOVT) 319: Issues in Govt & Politics
  • Government (GOVT) 337: Ethnic Politics
  • History (HIST) 388: Topics in Euro History

Offering credit for the following graduate courses:
  • Conflict (CONF) 695: Minority Conflicts
  • Integrative Studies (INTS) 595: Minority Conflics

Internship Placement Process

Budapest Semester Internship Application Checklist

The internship component involves students working 20 hours per week for four months at non-governmental, inter-governmental or governmental bodies. Students are individually placed and contribute to the work of these organizations with missions directly related to the program's theme. Students may be placed in organizations that focus on refugee integration, conflict resolution, human rights, housing and medical services, intercultural communication, research, and more. Placements are also available at organizations which focus on helping victims of violence, children, migrants from specific regions (including Middle East and Africa), and other populations. Learn more about the Internship Placement Process.

Past internship sites have included but are not limited to: Center for European Neighborhood StudiesTom Lantos Institute, and Open Society Archives. Students can anticipate being placed in internship sites of similar caliber and directly related to the program's theme and focus while also taking into consideration the individual's personal and professional aspirations. 

Credits Offered

The  semester in Budapest offers students a combination of a 2.5 day per week professional internship, and three high level, academically challenging courses that examine the empirical sociology, legal and humanitarian foundations, and also the philosophical and political underpinnings of the crisis. The three courses are taught by three senior Hungarian professors who are experts in these fields. The program is hosted by Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Social Sciences (ELTE) in Budapest. Established in 1635, ELTE is one of Hungary’s largest and most prestigious public universities.


Undergraduate students take a 6-credit internship course taught by a Mason professor in Budapest. Students should speak to their academic advisor and their undergraduate program director about applying internship credit to their degree. Some undergraduate programs have independent research and special topics credit that may apply to this program. Some departments have specific requirements for receiving internship credit. Students are responsible for initiating the conversation with the academic department and communicating said requirements to Mason Study Abroad. Students must comply with department requirements in order to receive internship credit. Undergraduate students also take three 3-credit courses taught in English by Hungarian professors. See table above for more information.


Graduate students must seek approval from their graduate program advisor prior to applying to the program. Graduate students take a 3-credit internship course taught by a Mason professor in Budapest. Some graduate programs have practicum, independent research, and special topics credit that may apply to this program. Departments are likely to have specific requirements for receiving credit for the international internship; the student is responsible for initiating the conversation with the academic department and communicating said requirements to Mason Study Abroad. Students must comply with department requirements in order to receive internship credit. Graduate students take three 3-credit courses taught in English by Hungarian professors. See table above for more information. 


This program is open to all graduate and undergraduate students who meet the GPA requirement. Undergraduate students should have 45 undergraduate credits completed by the start date of the program. Graduate students should have completed at least one semester of graduate work by the start date of the program. Students from all universities are eligible to participate. 


Student housing for the semester is in shared student apartments in downtown Budapest. Apartments are centrally located and near public transportation, fully furnished, and have wi-fi included. Housing assignments will be made and communicated before the university closes for winter break. During Orientation week, students stay in double rooms at Erzsebet Hotel.

Visa Information

An entry visa is not required for US citizens, but visa requirements may vary for non-US citizens. Learn more about Hungary's visa and entry requirements here. Non-US citizens should speak with the On-Site Director prior to submitting their visa application.

Spring 2019 Calendar 

January 23, 2019                  
  • Arrival in Budapest and check into apartments
January 25-27, 2019             
  • Orientation – presentations by the faculty, “survival” Hungarian mini-course, and sightseeing 
January 27, 2019                    
  • Welcome dinner
January 28, 2019                    
  • First day of classes (10:00-1:00pm, 2:00-5:00pm)
January 29, 2019                    
  • First day of internship
January 30, 2019
  • First day of Wednesday class (9:00-12:00pm)
March 15, 2019
  • National holiday - research day
April 19-28, 2019                    
  • Spring break
May 1, 2019
  • National Holiday
May TBD, 2019                      
  • Field Trip
May 22, 2019
  • Last day of class
May 23, 2019                          
  • Last day of internship
May 27 and 28, 2019                    
  • Final Exams
May 29, 2019                          
  • Final Exams and Farewell dinner
May 31, 2019                          
  • Check out and travel home

Program Cost (Spring 2019): $12,000


  • Tuition (15 credits - undergraduate; 12 credits - graduate)
  • Housing - shared student apartment for the semester.
    ​*Single rooms are available at the request of the student for an additional cost of $2,650. 
  • Internship placement and on-site support
  • Guided sightseeing tours, including entrance fees to museums
  • Guest speakers and professional site visits
  • Hungarian University ID entitling students to significant discounts for public transportation (Eötvös Loránd University)
  • Three-day field trip to visit refugee camps, including guides, transportation, accommodations, and two daily meals
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • International Emergency Insurance

Not Included:

  • International airfare
  • Most meals
  • Visa application fee (if applicable)
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal transportation

Links and Resources

Program Links

Travel & Visa Links

Mason Links

Contact Information

On-Site Director

Yehuda Lukacs, PhD
Associate Professor Emeritus, Global Affairs, George Mason University

Experiential Programs Administrator

Whitney Morgan

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.