35 students and four staff members from the Department of Politics and International Relations recently visited Brussels-based international organisations to gain a first-hand encounter with the institutions they are studying about.

The three-day trip consisted of visits to NATO; European Union institutions including the Commission, the Council and the Parliament; International Crisis Group and Save the Children. Each of the institutions introduced their organisational roles, followed by lively Q&A sessions with the students.

A student said: “The choice of institutions was pretty fantastic since I acquired a practical knowledge and experience that added value to my academic understanding. Moreover, our hosts at all the institutions we visited were very welcoming, charming and indeed knowledgeable to the extent that they responded to our questions beyond my expectations.”

Another student added: “The trip was helpful for my further studies: for example, there was an opportunity of getting contact details from NATO, which is helpful for my dissertation topic, giving an opportunity to carry out interviews.”

Inspired by the talks and the discussions that they had with NATO officers, European Union officials and NGO officers, students took the opportunity to carry on their discussions over dinner with invited Westminster alumni who now work in Brussels.  This led to numerous questions on how to apply for and gain an internship or a job in Brussels with a non-governmental organisation or a think-tank. The students received valuable insights and plenty of food for thought.

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