MIR Brussels Trip: Day 3
Day 3 in Brussels:
Today has been an incredibly long but interesting day. We started off at 9 am today by walking to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to meet some of the staff. The IOM has offices worldwide with regional offices in Manila, Panama, and Brussels. It works quite closely with the UN on migration matters and has ongoing projects all over the world. What struck me as the most interesting was the fact that one of the speakers and employees there was an American and not a European. I think for the North Americans (including myself), it made us think about the potential opportunities for us in Brussels. Due to the time constraint, we were unable to go more in depth about certain issues such as the humanitarian projects, human trafficking, and other nitty gritty issues, but we left with an overall idea of the goals and work of the organization.
Soon after, we had a lunch break before having to reconvene for our EU Parliament visit. For lunch, a few of us went to a restaurant called the Grape Vine with the intention of just drinking hot chocolate or coffee and talking. Upon arriving, we found an incredibly reasonably priced Indian lunch buffet for only 16 euros. After stuffing ourselves silly, we regrouped with everyone to head to the EU Parliament. The most interesting speaker was a quick Q and A with one of the Spanish parliamentarians. After learning “seminar style,” we went and actually were able to observe a plenary session. Most of us were really entertained to see how parliamentary procedures were debated and carried out. We had to use headphones and could change to different channels to hear the debates translated live. It was interesting gauging the performance of the translators as well. It was clear that some translators were much more adept at their job than others.
Afterwards, we had a two hour break before our next event. A few of us decided to finally head to central Brussels to explore what the city had to offer. We indulged in delicious Belgian waffles and chocolates and also explored the Grand Plaza area, including the famous fountain of the peeing little boy. With chocolates in our bellies, we raced back to the hotel to meet the rest of the group for our scheduled young professionals networking event at an Irish Pub. I was able to talk to a few young professionals and learn about what brought them to Brussels which was quite interesting.
I better get to bed because we have to meet tomorrow at 7:30am for our much anticipated NATO visit. Until then!
This is part of a series where current Master in International Relations (MIR) student Calvin Nguyen will share with us updates about the MIR program´s yearly trip to Brussels.