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Entries in Brussels (1)

Thursday
Aug062009

Brussels by Christine Parcells

After Berlin, I met up with some other EU SPANERs, Liz, and a few extra guests for an introduction to European Union institutions. Not having taken any previous classes on the EU, I learned a lot. We visited the Council of Europe (not to be confused with European Council), the Socialist Bloc party of the EU, European Parliament, the European Commission, and an NGO that lobbies for policies on exiles and refugees in Europe. These meetings gave great context to the diversity that is present in Europe and the successes and challenges which result. I am most in awe of the languages. I knew that many Europeans, especially younger generations, can speak oftentimes at least three languages, but at the European Parliament, the translators and interpreters—we were told—speak 7 languages! It’s almost inconceivable. I’m happy I speak at least one other language besides English, but I wish I could speak more.

 

I have to admit that Brussels is not my favorite city—it was a bit dirty and crowded, but the visits we had and being in the center of the EU hub certainly created a certain energy for the city that made it interesting. Tasting delectable chocolate and ice cream didn’t hurt either! Before moving on to the next city, I had to lighten my bag, as it was already almost unmanageable from all of the brochures and booklets (and German workbooks) given to me by my past interviews. Thankfully, Liz was able to tote many of them back to the US for me!