For the past week I have had the amazing opportunity to travel with my Master’s program to Brussels, Belgium for an action packed week of lectures, touring, and exploring. During my stay, my classmates and I stayed at the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, which is an Irish college located near the heart of the EU’s decision making institutions. Between lectures from professors and some self-facilitated exploring of the city, my classmates and I also had the opportunity to directly engage with European Commissioner Phil Hogan, a number of MEPs, and top level officials.
The purpose of this trip was to provide a hands on experience in learning about the EU, and conducting research and gather an understanding of the operations of the EU for my group presentation at the end of the week. On behalf of an EU country – my group represented Germany – we had to devise a message and communications strategy that would facilitate more engagement in the EU. As a country, we were competing against other EU countries for funding and had to deliver a presentation outlining our communications plan, and why Germany deserved the EU funding. This has been a very unique learning experience that has challenged me in more ways than one, but has been rewarding.
This has definitely been a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience. Being able to travel and learn about other countries from an educational-oriented perspective, really has shaped my outlook on how traveling and learning can go hand-in-hand. from participating in a practical and hands on experience, all while soaking up as much of the Belgium culture as possible, has been one of my greatest experiences thus far!