The start of the two days trip to Brussels, was probably the only challenge we had to take. 40 of us, found their way to the bus in the early morning hours, slightly sleepy and not yet fully aware of what was happening around us. After a few hours of driving, we arrived in at our hostel in the middle of the city. From here on, the atmosphere changed: we had our first meeting straight away, with Raphaël Lepot, a representative from the House of Provinces. Next to telling us about his work, lobbying the views of his region to the EU, he also answered all sorts of questions concerning his personal experiences working for the European Union.
Our next stop was the EU Comission. Warmly welcomed in one of the big meeting rooms for the House of Regions, Ludo Tegenbosch held an presentation, concerning relevant and interesting points like the future of the EU and the challenges it is facing!
Another, quite unexpected event, occurred on our way home: The first snowfall of that year, presenting the capital of Belgium from its best side.
In the evening, we all enjoyed a couple of hours at an Italian restaurant, before everyone spread out, exploring the city by night and the cosy bars with traditional Belgian beer.The next morning started right away, with an informative and interactive presentation about the functions and structures of the World Bank by Malika Baymatova, from the foreign affairs department.
Our last stop was truly a great finale. We visited the Dutch Embassy and got greeted by a former SPIL-board member, Tristan Schyns. We enjoyed several, diverse talks about the Belgian political system, lobbying and trade negotiations, while enjoying coffee and tea. Afterwards, we had the fantastic opportunity to mingle with the employees oft he Embassy, being able to ask all sorts of questions in a comfortable and fun environment.
After these exciting and interesting days, we all headed back again, chatting on the bus on the way to Leiden and The Hague.