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Community Engaged Learning Semester (CEL)




Autumn Semester

In the context of the Community Engaged Learning semester, students are challenged to become real ‘changemakers’. This international semester is aiming at future teachers, social workers or social educational care workers who, with their talents, really want to make a difference in the complex metropolitan reality that characterises the city of Antwerp.


The neighbourhoods and districts around Campus Spoor Noord - the largest campus of AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts Antwerp - form the learning laboratory of the students participating in the Community Engaged Learning semester. The number of learning activities on campus is relatively limited: learning largely takes place in the neighbourhoods and districts themselves. All this, of course, under the intensive coaching of experienced AP teachers who will be your inspirers and guides throughout the semester.

In the context of the Community Engaged Learning semester, 3 teams of 8 to 10 students each are given a project challenge by nearby schools, social organisations and/or care institutions. Characteristic of these student teams is that they are all composed internationally and interdisciplinary.

Since many years, AP has built a solid tradition in the field of international, interdisciplinary and challenge-based education. Another characteristic of the Community Engaged Learning semester is that the projects executed by the student teams all have a significant impact on vulnerable target groups in socially complex neighbourhoods and districts in Antwerp. 

The Community Engaged Learning semester consists of one integrated course (30 ECTS credits) that combines the actual project work with the academic frameworks that will be helpful and necessary to successfully realise the project challenge, (further) training in intercultural communication and supervision moments during which you learn to reflect on your own learning process and that of your student team.

The Community Engaged Learning semester runs during the autumn semester of each academic year.


The Community Engaged Learning semester is aiming at students (Ba & Ma) with a study background in:

  • Social work, social educational care work, social case work, social studies, youth and community work, social pedagogy, social cultural work, etc.
  • Teacher training students from preschool, primary and secondary school teacher education institutions as well as for students from social education institutions.

There is room for maximum 30 students: 24 international students and six AP students will be selected to participate. We strive to keep a balance between the different study disciplines for all projects we run within our Community Engaged Learning semester. Additionally, we consider it equally important that we have a good mixture of different nationalities in each student team. Selection of candidates in case we receive too many applications will be done in function of the ideal balance for the course Project Work.

International and interdisciplinary challenge-based education requires a certain degree of academic maturity, especially given the socially oriented nature of the project challenges. Students should therefore have completed at least 4 semesters prior to the Community Engaged Learning semester. 

Even more important is the intrinsic motivation of students to (further) develop into 'changemakers' during the Community Engaged Learning semester. 

The language of communication in the student teams and with the teachers is English. Students will give several oral presentations, write a final report and develop audio-visual material(s) linked to their project challenge. A good knowledge of English is therefore necessary: a level of B2 is strongly recommended.

Are you an international student and are you motivated to participate in this Community Engaged Learning semester? Please contact the international coordinator of your study program or the international office of your home institution.

Are you an AP student and interested in participating? Please contact the international coordinator of your program and/or the coordinators of the Community Engaged Learning semester.

Projects Autumn 2023

  • Project Information

    In the context of the Community Engaged Learning semester, three projects are developed in parallel by international and multidisciplinary teams of students.

    Although the precise focus of these project challenges will be sharpened in consultation with the external clients (schools, social organisations and/or healthcare institutions in the neighbourhoods around our campuses here in Antwerp) in the coming months, these short descriptions already give an idea about the content and objectives of the three projects.

    In the motivation letter that students who apply for the Community Engaged Learning semester send us, they can indicate which role they see themselves playing in each of these projects. They can also rank the projects and thus indicate which projects seem most interesting to them. Please note, we attach great importance to the flexibility of our students. The three projects are all equally challenging and are all optimally focused on the further development of the competences of the selected students, whether they have a study background in teacher training, or in social work or social educational care work. After all, this interdisciplinary collaboration in each of the internationally composed teams is an important pillar of AP's Community Engaged Learning semester.

    Does all this sound interesting to you? Then definitely apply! We guarantee you a unique international and interdisciplinary experience in the fascinating and socially challenging context of Antwerp.

  • Health Team

    A first team of students - the HEALTH team - focuses on health promotion aimed at socially vulnerable population groups. Because despite the fact that the right to health is enshrined in the Belgian constitution and in numerous international human rights treaties, this right appears to be far from guaranteed, especially for people with a lower social status (educational level, opportunities on the labour market, income level, etc.). In the context of the Community Engaged Learning semester, students develop accessible tools to raise awareness about a healthy lifestyle and organize accessible health initiatives aimed at schools and social organisations. Just one example: in the first edition of the Community Engaged Learning semester, the HEALTH team developed a Kamishibai (Japanese storytelling theatre) about the importance of a healthy lifestyle for a primary school in Antwerp in which socially disadvantaged children are strongly overrepresented.

  • Sports Team

    A second team of students - the SPORTS team - works closely with sports clubs and urban sports services that specifically target children and young people who are in a socially vulnerable position. The students develop educational tools (workshops, manuals, etc.) that support sports clubs in their pursuit of a more inclusive youth academy, organize sporting events aimed at the social emancipation of children and young people experiencing poverty and social exclusion, support children and young people who these social sports initiatives are achieved in their personal growth, etc. For example, the SPORTS team developed a manual & workshop in the first edition of the Community Engaged Learning semester that supports youth academies of sports clubs in the field of social inclusion. The pedagogical competences of the future teachers who were part of this team appeared to be very complementary to the competences of the students with a study background in social work or social educational care work.

  • Care Team

    The third team of students - the CARE team - will also collaborate intensively with Brake-Out, an organisation that focuses on young people with intellectual disabilities in the next edition of the Community Engaged Learning semester ( Based on the competences of these young people with intellectual disabilities, the CARE students develop activities that promote the personal growth of these young people. The students are also looking for internships tailored to the Brake-Out youngsters. These internships can be found in the context of AP's Spoor Noord campus (with the additional positive effect that AP takes further steps towards an inclusive campus), but also at schools, social organisations, care institutions and other stakeholders in the neighbourhoods. around the campus. An innovative project aimed at students with a heart for young people with disabilities.


‘Made by students, for students’

The curriculum for the Community Engaged Learning semester was created in co-design with students from both AP's Social Work study programme and AP's teacher education study programmes.

Among other things, these students developed the so-called 'boost camp', an intensive programme at the very start of the Community Engaged Learning semester. That boost camp introduces the participating students to the neighbourhoods around campus Spoor Noord, familiarizes them with the project challenge that is presented to them, brings them into contact with the client and the target groups of the project, makes them clear what learning outcomes will be achieved in the context of the Community Engaged Learning semester, etc.

These AP students also created a video inviting international students to participate in the Community Engaged Learning semester, you can find this video here

Welcome in Antwerp!

Courses Exchange Students 2024-25

*modeltraject steeds onder voorbehoud van wijzigingen

Timing and Location

Welcome Week

Monday 9th September 2024 -  Thursday 12th September 2024

Welcome day

Friday, 13th September 2024

Start of programme

Monday, 16th September 2024

Official end date

Friday, 24th January 2025*


Autumn Break: Monday 28th October 2024 – Sunday 3rd November 2024 (1 week)
Christmas Holiday: 23rd December 2024 – Sunday 5th January 2025 (2 weeks)
Other free days: 1st November 2024, 11th November 2024


AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts
Campus Spoor Noord – Noorderplaats
Noorderplaats 2
2000 Antwerp, Belgium


The registration deadline for Community Engaged Learning is: 1st May.

AP partner institutions should nominate the student via our registration system Mobility Online. The link to the nomination form will be sent to all partner institutions; If you did not receive it, please contact us at . Once nominated, students will receive an automated mail to complete the application.  You can find the full application procedure here. Our programmes can only accept a limited number of students. After the application deadline, a selection will take place based on motivation/cv, study background, and, if necessary, date of application.

Students will be advised before 15th May of their approval/refusal.

After the selections, additional information will be given, pertaining to:

  • Welcome week and welcome day
  • Accommodation
  • Procedures for registration (residence permit)
  • Entry requirements
  • Activities, integration & facilities
  • Invitation letter, for visa purposes


AP awards 30 credits for one full semester. 30 credits represent the workload for one full semester. Credits are awarded only when the course has been completed and all required examinations have been successfully taken.

AP Grading Scale compared to the ECTS scale:


ECTS grade












FX FAIL (with possible deliberation)


F  FAIL (no deliberation possibility)