Building bridges in Brussels

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De Montfort Students’ Union took just under 100 De Montfort University (DMU) students to the European city of Brussels.

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.

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 were given 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.

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

Mollie said: "We had a great in-depth discussion about making positive change on campus. There was a lot of discussions about being open to other cultures and the importance of celebrating other holidays.

"I learnt about so many new holidays - particuarly ones in China! We also got a deeper understanding of migration and how important it is to realise that everyone deserves and needs a home." 

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 now. The exhibition looked at key experiences of young people from education to employment and creating an identity.

 

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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 from our Executive Officer team, focussed on the importance of building bridges and creating a welcoming campus. If students are wanting to get involved with this campaign, or any future campaigns, please contact our Executive Support Coordinator, Gladys Wakatama.

 

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