Studying away in Brussels has allowed me the opportunity to explore the vast world of Europe and its endless variety of individuals and experiences. As I set out to “the other side of the pond” with my two suitcases and bookbag, I assumed it wouldn’t be much different from the studying in the United States. Studying at a University and working an internship? It sounds simplistic, but as the weeks in Europe grew, I found it very different from my own school and job in the states. The largest difference in Europe is its unique diversity. While attending Vesalius College in Belgium, I noticed the cultural difference of individual thought and backgrounds of the teachers and students. I have met students who had traveled to the EU from countries in Africa to avoid persecution, students from Ukraine, Argentina, and Turkey to gain a coveted European education, and French students to immerse themselves in the capital of the European Union. The teachers had traveled and studied around the world which provided a unique perspective to the international subjects that I studied.
While studying in Brussels, I have had the privilege of interning at the European Parliament for an MEP. Among my many responsibilities, I have written briefs and topical informative papers, as well as attending many meetings concerning controversial issues and committees. The topics of these meetings have involved politics that have graced the front page of every newspaper, specifically the issues of Turkey, Brexit, and trade. I have enjoyed every moment of my time interning and it is such a privilege to contribute to the history being made in the European Parliament.
Over the past few months of living in Belgium, I have gained knowledge of different cultures through my many weekend travels to other member states. Through my travels to Ypres, Brugge, Normandy, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and many others I have soaked up the unending history of Europe. From architecture to cuisine, Europe offers it all. Studying away to Brussels has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I hope other US students make a similar leap into the adventure of Europe. I have and will never regret it.