This past week I had one of the coolest opportunities so far on exchange. My Institutions and Jurisdiction of the European Union class did a fully funded four day field trip to Brussels! We got to visit the European Parliament, Commission and Council, as well as a number of firms and lobby groups. As an exchange student, I was blown away by the generosity of the school to fund me to participate along with their own students. (Thank you Glasgow Uni!!!!)
Brussels is an amazing city. With the European Union and Council of Europe both located there, plus the Hague and European Court of Justice just a short train ride away, it feels like the center of the world! When I came on exchange one of the things I wanted to do was to take a step back from the typical Canadian law student route and see what else was out there. This trip did that for me and more! Meeting the lawyers working at the EU and the various firms has opened my eyes to so many career paths I didn’t even know existed before coming on exchange. (It also reinforced the need for me to actually brush up my french. Nearly every talk began with “So you NEED a second language to work here…”)
Bonus: I randomly found out while I was there that a friend I met backpacking in India a couple years ago is also currently interning at the Parliament. We weren’t able to coordinate a time to meet up but I’ll be seeing her when I’m passing through in January!
But it wasn’t all work and no play! Many fries, waffles and chocolates were consumed, not to mention the mulled wine and Belgium beer! This was aided by the presence of one of the most fabulous Christmas markets I have ever seen. Huge Christmas trees were located everywhere and the squares were full of christmas lights and stalls selling everything from German sausages to fancy cheeses. I had a great time getting to know my classmates. Often times the exchange students feel a bit segregated from the rest of the school community so it was really lovely to be able to spend a few days with them.
Screw New York, Brussels is the place to be!