2019 EU field school, one of the largest in Canada

- Amanda Merritt

2019 EU Study Tour students from across North America engage in parliamentary role-play and discuss the activities of European Parliament with Niall O’Neill, Director of HR, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Credit: Sarah Grunert

The University of Victoria is home to one of the largest international field schools in Canada.

In 2018/19, UVic’s European Studies (EUS) program adopted the administrative responsibilities for the EU Study Tour. Growing numbers of UVic students are being offered the opportunity to travel, learn and intern in the European Union.

This year, 42 students from across North America travelled through Brussels, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, touring key sites of European institutions and civil society organisations, and engaging with representatives of the EU’s administrative and political leadership.

Student perspective

For EUS enthusiasts like Alina Sobolik, the opportunity last year to visit the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Court of Justice and Central Bank, along with other European organizations such as NATO, the European Court of Human Rights and the Canadian Mission to the EU, “was the most incredible and inspiring experience in [her] academic career so far.”

For students who are interested in the European Union, there is no better place to be than Brussels. You will absolutely never get the opportunity to speak with so many high-level officials in such a way that you can ask highly specific and in-depth questions. As well, you will engage with other brilliant students and enjoy lively debate.

— Alina Sobolik, EUS participant

Oh, the places they'll go

One study tour was not enough for Sobolik.

It inspired Sobolik to complete her internship at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and experience what it was like to live and work in Brussels. In fact, it was the research on far-right populist parties in Europe that she had conducted while working for the ETUI that led to the drafting of a paper which Sobolik later presented at the Claremont-UC Undergraduate Conference on the EU in California and published in their undergraduate journal.

Through the study tour, I gained a complex and in-depth understanding of the institutional structure and challenges of the EU.

— Sobolik

With topics such as Brexit, the European Parliamentary elections and EU member states’ non-compliance to wrestle with, speakers were impressed with the rigour and depth of our UVic student’s engagement.

They were occupied with questions about the absence of a solidary principle on the issue of migration, about the European Central Banks’ (ECB) decision to keep inflation at 0%, about the ECB’s capacity to form a banking union in an atmosphere of member state non-compliance.

The ensuing dialogues inspired four UVic students and one student from Dalhousie University to write critical reflections on a number of the aforementioned topics, available on the EU-Canada Network website (EUCANET.org).

Funding your travel

Thanks to funding from the Jean Monet EU Centre of Excellence (EUCE), eight UVic students received travel grants to attend this year’s 17th annual tour and, of these students, five were offered prestigious internships in the EU.

In addition to the EU tour, our students also have the opportunity to take part in the fully funded West Coast Model, an annual simulation of a European Council Summit hosted each February at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In addition to participating in the EU Study Tour, Sobolik was also one of four UVic students who attended this years’ Model EU where she worked alongside 50 like-minded students from other universities across the Pacific Northwest.

She credits the hands-on instruction she received during the EU Study Tour in 2018 for enriching her performance as Head of State for Poland, for which she received an honourable mention.

Find out more

This could be you! Read through the EU Study Tour and West Coast Model EU student testimonials to see if these experiential learning opportunities could assist in achieving your academic and career goals.

Applications for the EU Study Tour, the West Coast Model EU and EU Research Grants for Undergraduate students open each fall. Those selected from UVic are eligible for funding through the Jean Monet Centre of Excellence, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Get in touch with eusprog@uvic.ca for further info and to inquire about a Minor in European Studies.



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Keywords: international

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