Rashid – We left at 6:25pm on Tuesday for Brussels via the high speed Inter-city express (the German version of the Bullet train) The ride lasted for three hours, but the breathtaking scenery along the way ensured that it was far from mundane. There were lush green meadows and farmhouses, and each city married modern, cutting edge architecture with stately, historical architecture that showed national pride. For example, Cologne had glass and steel buildings on one side of the track and had the gigantic gothic Cathedral of Cologne that was built over a hundred years ago.
We would be in Brussels for three days, courtesy of the Rogge foundation, and will be going to the European commission and European council buildings during our stay here. However, our first event in Belgium happened to be in Brugge at the College of Europe where we would be lectured about the EMU (European Monetary Union).
The college of europe is a graduate school which is designed to help educate people about the policies and structures that exist within the EU. The school is not only open to EU citizens and openly welcomes students from other regions in the world. We arrived at the institution about an hour and thirty minutes before the scheduled time. This gave us a few minutes to familiarize ourselves with the town, enjoy the city briefly and make sure that we do not get lost on the way out!
The City of Brugge is very culturally rich and beautiful settlement. There was a waterway that swept through the town’s medieval looking brick houses, horses drawing carriages through the city’s brick-tiled streets and, of course, chocolate and waffle shops at every corner. There were boat tours on the waterways that started from one end and ran down to the other end of the town. The college was right in the middle of the town, overlooking the waterway.
Our event started with a brief history of the European college and is objectives, and then moved on to a lecture on the EMU. We had discussed the EMU in class and the lecture summarized (and confirmed) all what Dr. Mikek and Dr. Hollander had been teaching in class. The lecture also spoke about Europe’s current sovereign debt crisis and how further European integration would go long way to help solve the issue.
The lecture ended at 1 pm and we had about two hours to explore the city. We got to Brussels at 6pm and we are now preparing for our trips to EU commission and the EU council.