NS3B's Political Weekend in France
(Image: Bob Karlsson, seen on a large screen TV, representing his group.)
The class of NS3B spent four days in Strasbourg exploring the cultural, political and social side of France. It included a whole day visit in the European Parliament and a whole lot of sightseeing.
The journey started October 23rd, when NS3B jumped on a flight to Paris, France together with Ms. Pope and Dr. Quested. The tight schedule and distance made it impossible to explore the famous capital city. Instead the class headed east to the destination Strasbourg, one of a number of European centers of politics.
The main goal of this trip was to spend a whole day at the European Parliament, participating in an event called Euroscola day. Classes from all over Europe gathered to discuss current political topics within the European Union. The opportunity arose as a result of NS3B’s previous participation in an environmental project week with the organisation Wake Up Call.
During the first day, NS3B had the chance to freely explore the city of Strasbourg. Some students visited the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, others took a boat ride around the city center and entered the old Strasbourg Cathedral. In the evening, students gathered in a conference room at their hostel to prepare their presentations before the European Parliament visit.
On the big day, students woke up early to take the tramway to the European Parliament and participate in the Euroscola Day. The day started off with a small breakfast where students from different countries got the chance to get to know each other. Later, a student plenary session was held in the Louise Weiss plenary hall, together with representatives from both Euroscola Day and European Parliament.
Students got the opportunity to ask questions to a European Parliament representative and later also to a member of Parliament, Bernd Posselt of Germany.
During the afternoon, students split up into small debate groups in which they all discussed group specific topics, such as environmental issues and how to increase voter turnout in the 2014 EU election.
This intense day was concluded with a big debate where previously discussed topics were raised and later voted on with help of an electronic voting system. Every discussion group had chosen two spokespersons for this debate. Claes Karlsson from NS3B was one of these courageous persons who volunteered to represent his group in front of about 500 students, teachers, parliament members and visitors from all around Europe.
After four tiring but interesting days, the class once again took the TGV (Train Grande Vitesse), French express train, back to Paris. We asked Ms. Pope and Dr. Quested how they experienced this trip:
“Getting to know NS3B outside of school was a real pleasure. I saw new sides of each student. So many took on a new challenge, whether it was reading French bus timetables, navigating public transport to get us to our destination on time, or asking difficult questions of an MEP in front of a full parliament chamber,” said Dr. Quested.
Ms. Pope added, “I felt very proud of you all and I also saw that some students who are more reserved in the classroom showed considerable confidence and assurance using English in this very public and demanding international situation - I saw that everyone is very well prepared to function in English in an academic and professional context when they leave school. I sat in the audience of 400 or so, thinking 'these people will go on to do very well.”
[Authored by Mimmi Eriksson & David Antolak]