Politics and International Relations students took part in a virtual field trip where they met and engaged with a range of organisations in Brussels, including the European Commission, in May.

Screenshot from Zoom call for virtual field trip with organisations in Brussels

The trip was organised by Dr Frands Pedersen, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, for undergraduate and postgraduate students who are studying on Politics and International Relations courses at Westminster. 

Following previous years’ successful field trips to international organisations in Brussels and Paris, this year  Dr Pedersen organised a virtual field trip for students to meet with a variety of organisations and NGOs in Brussels, including the European Commission, NATO and International Crisis Group. Students also had an opportunity to discuss possible career options with Westminster alumni Giulia Bondi, working in advocacy in Brussels for Global Witness, and Claudio Fattoretto, European Commission. 

The trip aimed to help students to familiarise themselves of the roles and functions of different organisations in the field of international affairs and closely engage with these organisations and their employees to further enhance their knowledge and studies in these areas. It also allowed students to understand the different employment routes available to them, and how these different organisations run.

The virtual trip included discussions with a range of different organisations in Brussels including the European External Action Service, where students heard about the role of the organisation and the EU’s Diplomatic service. They also heard from Deputy Head of Division Partnerships and Agreements, Security and Defence Policy Directorate Stefan Tressing, who spoke about EU security and defence.

Students also had the opportunity to meet with Dr Giulio Venneri and colleagues from the European Commission, where they heard more about the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), whose mission is to take forward the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement policies. They also visited the NATO Defence college, and closed the field trip with a discussion from the International Crisis Group, an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organisation who are committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

Talking about the trip, organiser Dr Frands Pedersen said: “COVID-19 restrictions prevented us from visiting the international organisations in Brussels this year.  Fortunately, we were able to arrange virtual visits, including discussions with officials, for students to gain first-hand knowledge of the EU’s, NATO’s, and Crisis Group’s work, and to learn from Westminster Alumni how it is to work for international institutions. The students seemed inspired!”

Gaia, one of the students who attended the virtual field trip to Brussels added: “I deeply enjoyed the virtual field trip because, despite the ongoing pandemic situation, it has enabled me and my colleagues to expand our network. We got to know pivotal exponents of these institutions and organisations, altogether deepening our knowledge on the resolution of multilateral issues.”

Find out more about Politics and International Relations courses at the University of Westminster.

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