ICEUS-Exkursion nach Bad Liebenzell und Strassburg 2017

ICEUS Juniors (first-year students) recently had the opportunity to put their EU knowledge into action during a 4-day class trip to Bad Liebenzell, Germany and Strasbourg, France.  The first semester of the master program in Intercultural Communication and European Studies includes courses such as European Law and European Integration. The annual class trip allows students to gain a deeper understanding and application of European Law and the EU Institutions which debate, define and implement these laws into action.

ICEUS Students, along with European Law Professor, Christian Schrader, began their journey to Bad Liebenzell on 12. December 2017. Along the way, students were able to visit Heidelberg, where they made a quick city tour before continuing on the road. Once in Bad Liebenzell, students participated in the seminar “Concrete Experience of European Political Planning” (Europäische Politikgestaltung konkret erleben) conducted by the Internationale Forum Burg Liebenzell - Akademie für politische Bildung und internationales Jugendbegegnung. The seminar deepened students knowledge in areas such as: EU Asylum and Refugee Policy and Politics; European Parliament;  European Decision Making; Current Debates; and European History.

Students were introduced to various seminar methods such as role-playing and expert interviews, which reinforced their knowledge of the historical development of EU institutions and its functionalism. Through the role-play activity, students were able to take on roles as members of the Council of Europe, European Parliament, European Commission and/or the media. This practical role-play activity strengthened students skills in the areas of leadership, critical analysis of issues, and finding consensus. The trending issue of Refugees and Asylum seekers sparked a multifaceted discussion and students were able to bring their personal experience into the role-play discussion and debate.

In addition to the seminar, students visited the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France where they met with staff member, Mr. Schade. Mr. Schade was detailed in his guide through the structure and operations of the Council of Europe. He also presented a thorough overview of the historical and current events of the council. Students also had the opportunity to meet with Barbara Lochbihller, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. This meeting turned out to be a highlight for many of the ICEUS Juniors. Lochbihller engaged students in a rich discussion on how the European Parliament works, her typical work day as a MEP. The discussion opened the door to a rich discussion on the various perspectives and stand points government parties are pushing for and/or supporting.

While the 4-day Class Trip was packed with political debates, presentations, and new knowledge, students still had time to explore on the cities of Bad Liebenzell and Strasbourg, as well as get to know their fellow classmates better. The reinforced knowledge gained through the weekend excursion, will carry the ICEUS Juniors successfully into the second year of the study programm. Putting knowledge into action is a key component of the master program and the annual class trip has proved once more to be a resourceful and enriching experience for all participants!