Speaking the language of Europe
Twelve L6 students from WKGS were thrilled to have the chance to participate in this Euroscola day, an event attended by more than 500 students from all over the EU. We felt unsure of what to expect and somehow unprepared for such a huge opportunity, however we were excited all the same and we all managed to get such a lot out of it. To reach Strasbourg where this event was held, meant leaving Lime Street early on the morning of February 1st and subsequently we travelled on 4 different trains within one day arriving at our hotel after dark, tired and hungry. So as you can imagine, the early start next morning was tough for our team but we made it with much time to spare to socialise with all our peers in the other countries teams.
For those who are still unaware, the Euroscola event is held in one of the European Union’s own debating chambers and is host to all 28 countries attending. Firstly, our day began by splitting off into different teams which were categorised under themes such as Human Rights, The Future of Europe, Youth Unemployment and Education. We were sitting in our groups in the Hemicycle, ready to hear the introductions of all attending countries. However this had a twist to it as each country had to make their introduction in a language other than their native tongue. Most (luckily for us!) chose English, sparing our ears from a long session of wearing those uncomfortable translator headphones, as useful as they may be. Representing the UK, our WKGS team was in luck, having a German native speaker to go up as a nervous wreck speaking in front of roughly 650 people… and surviving! Afterwards, the MEP of S&D, France Edouard Martin held a very insightful question and answer session, giving us a great awareness of a French MEP’s view on topics in the European Union.
After lunch, we went into the most interesting part of the Euroscola day, the discussion and presentation groups. Once again all the groups separated to hold a full discussion on their topic. This session was where our team felt that we gained a lot in terms of information by listening different viewpoints and perspectives in the debates going on around us and eventually adding our own part to it. This all led up to the final event in which two people from each team represented their group with a presentation of ideas and then a question and answer session. Personally, and I’m sure I speak for several other team members, I think that this presentation helped me understand different areas of the European Union so much more and other countries experience with the topics discussed.
Our day then sadly began to come to a close at around 18:00 which was commemorated by a flag ceremony. Now it was also time to say goodbye to the new friends we had made in the day and we returned to our hotel by tram. The following day we visited the Council of Europe and had an interesting tour of the European Court of Human Rights, then in the afternoon we did a lovely sight-seeing tour of Strasbourg by glass-topped boat followed by some free time for gift shopping, which we were all looking forward to! It was a fantastic experience and one that I would thoroughly recommend.
By H Eckl, 12W
Below is a video of a section of the Euroscala debate