Week 6 (Parliament, Strasbourg, and More)

My finger has mostly healed, yay, so I can type again, whoohoo! Last post, I mentioned that the program took us to the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France. It was an amazing session to see – the docket was Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, and we got to hear from many representatives about the various issues facing the two parties. Right now, as you may know, the negotiations have been deemed to have had insufficent progress, and the whole process is stalled. The reason for this is debatable. On the one hand, the UK has objections to some of the requirements the EU has placed on them to exit, such as one aspect in the protection of human rights; part of the concern on both sides is ensuring that EU citizens who have settled in the UK and UK citizens who have settled in the EU do not need to move back. In order to protect their abroad citizens, the EU has said they want the European Court of Justice to have oversight in matters concerning said citizens in the UK, as it has no guarentee that UK laws will remain the same and afford EU citizens the same rights they have in the EU. The UK objects to this. So far, definitive compromise has not been offered by either side.

The city of Strasbourg itself is very charming; it’s actually probably my favorite city of the semester so far, besides Freiburg. It is home to the oldest church of the middle Ages, which is stunning and has a giant organ. Overall the trip was a joy!

The day following this trip, the program had its first large scale mock debate. I participated as one of the debaters. It was a really interesting experience – I have never debated like we did, and while I have my issues wit hthe format we used, I learned a lot from the opportunity.

This week was really jam-packed, if you haven’t already gotten that impression – Thursday, I had my first German exam. As I found out today, I did very well, but again, it was a new experience for me, as my previous language studies have been of Latin; being a dead language, learning Latin is different than learning a modern language.

Overall, I was very glad for the weekend. I took a brief day trip through the program to tour some ancient castles in Germany. They were beautiful, and I even got the chance to attend a Renaissance fair!

A shot from the debate, and the organ in the church in Strasbourg