In December Transition Year students entered a European Studies Programme Competition under the guidance of Mrs Gaffney (European Studies Teacher). The competition involved the production of a brochure to inform our peers about one of the Millenium Development Goals and to propose a future development goal and explain the need for such a goal. A short time later our school was informed that eight students had won the competition and the prize was a trip to attend Euroscola in Strasbourg.
On Wednesday 4th Of February 2015, eight Transition Year students travelled to Strasbourg to attend the Euroscola Conference at the European Parliament Headquarters. We travelled with students from Colaiste Chiarain Croom, St. Paul’s Secondary School Monasterevin, St. Killian’s College Garron Tower, St. Mary’s Grammar Magherafelt and The Rainey Endowed School Magherafelt. We travelled from Dublin to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Strasbourg and arrived late on Wednesday night.
We had an early start on Thursday morning February 5th and made our 30 minute journey by bus from our hotel to the European Parliament buildings. Many photographs were taken before entering the building. When we went inside we were given the opportunity to meet other students over breakfast, students from each of the twenty eight different countries in the EU. After breakfast we took our seats in the Hemicycle, the plenary chamber of the parliament. Each seat had an electronic voting system and headphones. Language Interpretors were present to provide all information in many differnet languages allowing students to choose which ever language they wished to listen to on their headphones. Students in turn introduced their schools, this was a great chance to learn about student life and learning in other european countries. Following this we had an opportunity to deliver questions to a number of members of the European parliament. We felt privileged to be part of this session as it was a great chance to voice our opinion about the future of the European Union and mostly importantly, to have our questions answered.
Over lunch each student teamed up with other European students and participated in a multi-lingual quiz. This allowed students of all different nationalities to communicate together in a fun easy going manner. After lunch we were placed into smaller committee groups of eighty students where each group discussed at length, various issues and topics in relation to the European Community and the future of the European Union. A chairperson and racconteur were nominated for each committee.When we returned to the hemicycle, each committee in turn delivered their opinions and ideas. This led to further questioning and debate from the student audience. Following this, the topics and resolutions were debated among all of the committees. The final closing ceremony of the day involved one student from each country with their flag joining the twenty seven other students with their flags for a procession through the centre of the chamber.
The following day, Friday February 6th we took part in a walking tour of Strasbourg along with a tour guide who educated us on the interesting history surrounding the city. We visited Cathedral Notre-Dame where we experienced the workings of its impressive astronomical clock. We then made our way to Strasbourg airport to make our journay home to Cavan after a thoroughly enjoyable and educational trip of a lifetime.