In January of 2014, I took part in the “European Union in a Week” intensive intersession course here at Jacobs – and it was really great. We spent roughly 5 days in Brussels – and with a class of 15, we embarked on this trip to Belgium together. Here is a rough progression of events + some photos that are shaky because of all the excitement that I apparently could not contain.
We set off at around 6 AM on a snowy January morning to learn all about the European Union. I get to hold the train tickets. Pretty cool, I know. We sit on the train for quite some time, and it is at this point that I notice my pants have a lot of carpet particles on them. We have a little wait at Cologne = most of us insta-turn into mini-tourists and get a photo with the Cathedral.
A full day of classes inside the European Parliament, learn about the structure and recent policy aims, and I also give my presentation on the Euro-Crisis. Pretty exciting day for learning, but most of us end up very tired from all the walking around. (This course was a mental exercise, sure – it was really quite a workout as well.)
We visit the European Commission – which is a pretty huge setup. We then visit the Council. After about 9 hours of class, we get to visit the Town Square, as well as Manneken Pis. I eat a lot of waffles here. We also decide to pop by to Delirium, a famous cafe with over 3000 beers, and managed to finally find enough seats to have a chill time after a stressful day of work.
On Thursday, we visit the offices for the State Representation in Brussels for Bremen and have a discussion at the European Banking Federation. We also got a little bit lost on Thursday – but eventually managed to make it back to our hotel. Our group also tries to squeeze in a little more sight-seeing and, more importantly, waffle-eating.
We visit the Committee of the Regions and the German Permanent Representation. We spend another couple hours on the train, play some cards, and finally end up back home in Bremen.
So – all in all – the course was an intense workweek but the it was very rewarding and the people of this class – who started out as strangers – all became fast friends and travel compadres.