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Europe in winter: Students travel to Belgium for Model EU summit

Model EUThe Center for International Programs and the Department of Political Science and International Relations sponsored a Winter Session study abroad opportunity that brought 11 SUNY New Paltz students to Brussels, Belgium.

Over the course of about two weeks, these students, led by Associate Professor Kathleen Dowley, earned three credits through their participation in the SUNY Model European Union (EU) summit and an additional series of briefings at EU and Belgian political institutions, designed to offer opportunities to witness the EU policymaking process first-hand.

That they did so at a time when the eyes of the world were on Belgium in the wake of the November 2015 attacks on Paris, France, speaks to the passion of the students and faculty to see new places and better know the workings of foreign governments and organizations in a city widely considered the de facto capital of the EU.

“There was a time after the Paris bombings and the subsequent hunt for terror suspects in Brussels, that the trip was in jeopardy, but I am so glad we went, and I know the students had an amazing experience,” Dowley said. “We could not have done it without the support of Dean Bruce Sillner, Christian Wilwohl, Christian Speedling and the rest of the staff at the Center for International Programs.”

The New Paltz cohort joined with more than 140 students from across the SUNY system and from a number of European partner schools to conduct a transatlantic simulation of EU proceedings. In addition to participating in the EU and policy events, they enjoyed an amazing opportunity to get an insider’s tour through one of Europe’s most beloved cities.

“I’ve always wanted to see Belgium, and Brussels is such a beautiful, historic city” said Emma Mont ’18 (Political Science). “Once I got there I was blown away. The architecture is unlike anything you see in the U.S., the food was amazing and it was such a fun experience getting to see a cool city with my friends from New Paltz.”

About SUNY Model European Union
The primary purpose of the Model EU program is to educate American students about the European Union while giving them an opportunity to interact with students from EU member and candidate states. Working with Belgian partner institution Vesalius College, and supported by funding from the Institute of European Union Studies in the SUNY Office of Global Affairs, students from across the SUNY system spend time at their home universities preparing to assume roles as representative of EU delegations, and eventually take part in the Study Mission in Brussels.

Students with an interest in learning more about the Gilman Scholarship and about study abroad can visit theCenter for International Programs – Study Abroad online.