Building bridges in Brussels

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Earlier this month De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) took just under 100 De Montfort University (DMU) students to the European city of Brussels along with DMU Global.

Students packed their bags and celebrated the end of the academic year, with a jam-packed trip to the bustling city of Brussels.

The trip, led by our very own Deputy President of Education, Mollie Footitt, took place over 5 days between Thursday 6 June and Monday 10 June and gave students the opportunity to visit Brussels, find out more about the culture and see more of Europe.  

The overall theme of the trip was to explore building bridges, in the light of Brexit. With that in mind, the students had the opportunity to visit the University of Kent’s, Brussels School of International Studies, to learn about migration in Europe.

Students were given a lecture at the University of Kent's Brussels Centre, which gave them insight into the complexities of migration.

Students had a lecture by Dr. Amanda Klekowski Von Koppenfels, who shared her expertise on migration and explained how the media can often exaggerate the so-called ‘migrant crisis’.

Second year student, Merfia Mantey said: “A lot of us don’t realise what actually goes on behind the scenes.

“Unless you are someone who goes out and looks for things about refugees and how we can help them, all we see is what the media shows us. So, this lecture was an amazing eye-opener for me.”

After the lecture, Mollie led a workshop whereby students could raise their concerns about Brexit and discuss what we can do as a Union to ensure we create a welcoming environment for our diverse campus at DMU.

Mollie said: "We had a great in-depth conversation about making positive changes on campus and how we can be more open to other cultures.

"There were some insightful conversations about celebrating other holidays on campus too. I learnt so much about different holidays - particularly lots about China!"

"The lecture was great because it really highlighted the importance of being welcoming. It raised the importance of understanding that everybody deserves to have a home and how we can become more active in helping those who don't."

The discussion raised interesting points and will feedback into future campaigns, that will be led by our Officer Team, with the help of students.

As part of the trip, students were also invited to the House of European History to learn about the origins of European Parliament.

Students were given the chance to visit the House of European History to learn about the beginings of the European Union. 

The museum also had a temporary exhibition titled ‘Restless Youth’ which reflected on young people growing up in Europe from 1945 to present day. This exhibition looked at key experiences of young people from education to employment and creating an identity.

Students also had the opportunity to explore the historical city of Brugge, an hour’s drive from Belgium’s capital. From picturesque parks, buildings and museums, the city really had a lot for students to explore.

The main attraction of the trip had to be the local cuisine. Brugge was home to an enormous amount of waffle shops – so of course we had to give them a try!

We can confirm no-one does waffles like Belgium does!

Keep your eyes peeled for future campaigns led by DSU's Executive Officer team that champion the importance of building bridges. If any students are looking to be involved in future campaigns, please also get in touch with our Executive Support Coordinator, Gladys Wakatama.

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