Travels around the EU!

Since my last post we’ve have traveled to Luxembourg, Paris, and Brussels, gone to the Swiss Alps, Lucerne, little towns in northern France, castle ruins in southern Germany, Munich, Strasbourg, studied the inner workings of the EU by visiting the institutions, conversed over problems in the Middle East and the way immigrants are integrated (or failed to be integrated) into each member state, all the while having a full course load, midterms, papers, trying to be part of the community in our living space, and enjoying all that Freiburg has to offer. It has been quite an experience to say the least- one that at the moment, has left me struggling to make sense of all that I have absorbed and left feeling a bit overwhelmed by the grand immensity of our world’s problems.

Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne, Switzerland
10541872_10152859465863083_5374792021183872309_n
Lucerne, Switzerland
10350416_10152859465868083_7195143820966560787_n
Lucerne, Switzerland
Heidelberg
Heidelberg
Heidelberg
Heidelberg
Castle
Castle
Castle
Castle
Castle
Castle
Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
10353569_10152880799593083_8425338215294451579_n
Swiss Alps

 

I have finally settled into a routine, just in time before the program does our last big trip together to different member states to study political stability. In the last week of November, I will be going to Budapest, Athens and Bucharest to get a better perspective on the stability of these newer EU member states along with a third of IES EU. In early October, the whole program went to Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris by bus to visit the institutions, think tanks, a Foreign Ministry etc. Each of the courses available to students in the program had individual meetings as well, each focused on a certain theme. We visited the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and on that same day we drove to Brussels. My favorite meeting in this city was with the European Network against Racism where they gave us their perspective on immigration policies. Their passion was contagious! Other meetings in our visit included a Turkish Embassy, a progressive left-wing think tank, and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies. As a group we traveled to the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, and the French Foreign Ministry. Most of the week that we spent traveling was taken up by our meetings, which only made our free time that much more valued in terms of sight seeing. IES set up a river tour and a trip to Versailles during our stay in Paris so we could do something relaxing as a group! While our time was a bit rushed as we all tried to eat as many national delicacies like macaroons, chips and mussels, and chocolate as possible, all while sight seeing such beautiful cities, it was a perfect trip!

 

Luxembourg
Luxembourg
ECJ
ECJ
Luxembourg
Luxembourg

 

Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels

 

Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels

10418943_10152926055733083_9017873273537532895_n

Paris
Paris
Versailles
Versailles
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Saint-Avoid, the largest US Military Cementery in Europe
Saint-Avoid, the largest US Military Cemetery in Europe
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris

On a Wednesday we took a day trip to Strasbourg and had a first hand perspective on how decisions are administered in the European Parliament and even sat in to a session! There, each meeting is translated live in all of the member’s languages, which was incredibly fascinating to see in person! After studying how member countries are becoming more hesitant on the supranational power growing, we could see the effects of such notions by Great Britain having miniature state flags on their desks representing that they will be putting their state’s interests first, for example.

10444565_10152926059513083_3332763925571258921_n10671335_10152926059528083_6399336767590125229_n 10730134_10152926059538083_2129407385543407182_n

One of my favorite weekend trips so far has been to Munich where I met up with a Hope Alumni, dear friend and Fulbright Scholar. Susan graduated last year and is currently teaching English in Perpignan, France. It worked out that she was in her fall break and was able to meet up for the weekend. After she came back to Freiburg for three days! Although I had wanted to visit this city when the famous Oktoberfest was occurring, I was thankful to be able to see Munich without the chaos. We had a lovely time visiting the English Gardens, Lenbach House, Marienplatz, its New Town Hall, St. Peter’s Church, and Nymphenburg Palace. This city is large yet manageable and has such a strong Bavarian splendor. While I haven’t really experienced homesickness while I’ve been here, it was so nice to be able to talk with someone that has shared the same environment and show her my new community.

Susan and I
Susan and I

10814_10152934637688083_4968967209068799046_n1743543_10152934637703083_2216685749686621593_n10644681_10152934638548083_4925805300285754735_n10644671_10152934637953083_5567068635292957672_n63746_10153350581683136_5728113835741702232_n

Published by

Regina Sanchez-Gonzalez

Hallo from Deutschland! My name is Regina and I am from Birmingham, Michigan. For the fall of my senior year, I will be studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany through the IES European Union program. I am an international studies and Spanish double major with a minor in political science, and the program is focused on exactly those interests! Since studying abroad in Seville, Spain my sophomore year (spring 2013), my passion for interacting with different cultures and exploring the unfamiliar has guided me to travel any chance I have. I’m looking forward to understanding different issues that confront the European Union today through all of the traveling we will be doing as a program, which range from Greece and Romania to Luxembourg and France (& many more!). It’ll be a fun and enriching semester and the perfect way to start my senior year!

Leave a Reply