From 22 to 28 April 2023, the students of the College of Europe in Natolin took part in one of three study trips to a variety of destinations within the European Union and its neighbouring countries.
The study trips are an integral part of the academic programme of the Master of Arts in European Interdisciplinary Studies. The second semester study trips offered students the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in the first and second semesters and to carry out research for their Master's theses.
Watch the photo gallery below and as well as the YouTube video detailing the events of the study trips through the thoughts of our travelling students!
More on the detailed programmes of each study trip, can be found below:
European Institutions in Brussels
During the study trip to Brussels, the Natolin students explored the following themes:
- Hard security and defence have become firm priorities in the EU after years of negligence
- Transitions for energy security have accelerated but taken unexpected directions
- The EU has moved further towards establishing itself as a geopolitical actor in the international arena
The visit included meetings with high-level administrative and political figures on security and defence, energy transition, enlargement, and international policy, discussions on the EU as a global actor - including its geopolitical ambitions, and the challenge of post-colonial ideas and Eurocentrism - and visits and meetings at the European External Action Service (EEAS), NATO, European Commission, and European Parliament. It featured also networking events with College alumni working in the EU institutions.
Western Balkans - Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro
During the study trip to the Western Balkans, the Natolin students explored the following themes:
- The process of European integration and its effects on neighbourly relations
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the security agenda in the Balkans
- Jeux de mémoire et gisements mémoriels in the Balkans: from war to reconciliation ?
- Infrastructure, religion and disinformation: the influence of non-Western actors in the Balkans.
This visit included meetings with high-level administrative and political figures involved in the process of European Integration, and discussions with representatives of the civil society about contemporary political issues. Other highlights featured an exploration of the Ottoman and Yugoslav heritage of the region, visits of Sarajevo, Mostar and Podgorica, a visit of Kotor Bay and discussions about its strategic importance, and an inquiry into ethnoreligious diversity and coexistence in the Balkans.
The trip was an extraordinary chance for students to discover the region of the Western Balkans in a deep and comprehensive manner, to exchange with a diversity of speakers including diplomats, governmental officials, activists and representatives of the civil society which allowed our students to understand the different perceptions of social and ethnical groups.
Nordic-Baltic Area - Estonia, Finland and Sweden
The Nordic Baltic Study Trip entitled "Deterrence and (in)Security" focused upon the following themes:
- Security of the NATO's Eastern flank
- Hard, soft, and hybrid security threats in the region and defence policies addressing them
- NATO membership (Estonia) and enlargement (Finland+Sweden)
- National and local identity facing imperialism of Putin's Russia
- Situation of the Russophone population
The study trip saw participating students take part in discussions on European and regional defence cooperation with key experts, and visits to think-tanks and NATO's COEs working on strategic security threats. Other elements included meetings with military personnel on hard power in the region, a visit to Estonian National Museum in Tartu, and Oodi Central Library in Helsinki, a conference at the University of Tartu on language and identity in EU-Russia relations, and a particular feature was a ferry trip from Tallinn to Helsinki and from Helsinki to Stockholm.
To learn more about the different destinations and topics of the previous study trips organized for Natolin students, click here.
Here are the video highlights from the study trips: