Debating goes Strasburg
GK goes Strasbourg
Visiting the heart of Debating in Europe
Cn and Lo, November 2019
From Saturday, 23rd from Wednesday, 27th November, the 140 m2 flat in the Rue Veronèse was the home of this year‘s Q3 Debating trip to Strasbourg, the other home of the European Parliament.
The five days were filled with geographical and linguistic challenges (Excuse my French!), very successful trials of the new presentation format Pecha Kucha, a self-made culinary trip around the world, heated debates even about frequent killings in Düsterwald and – the absolute highlight – another breathtaking encounter with MEP Dr. Christian Ehler – an evening the students are unlikely to ever forget.
Dr. Ehlers, Member of the European Parliament
Saturday, 23rd Nov
We – Artjom, Cara, Flo, Julian, Melina and Niels plus Cn and Lo – bascially spent the whole day on trains. After unpacking and making ourselves comfy in our huge Debating headquarters for the next five days, Melina and Cara magically turned normal pasta into a delicious gourmet meal. Meanwhile, last preparations were made for the upcoming Pecha Kucha presentations preceding the debate with the European-related motion „This house would support Scottish Independence.“
In order to relax from a strenuous day on the road, the evening ended in fun discussions and accusations concerning the murders in the beautiful town of Düsterwald.
Sunday, 24th Nov
Sunday started off with a fantastic French crêpes breakfast prepared with much love by Cn and Lo. Now the group was ready and set to explore the city. The students found volunteers to tell them about historical events, to exchange goods for a German teabag and to have a picture with them when they were outed as having being born in Strasbourg. Creative pictures were taken, the main attractions of the cathedral were discovered and the heart of the city and its freshly opened Chirstmas market were discovered in full.
Back home, Flo and Julian delighted our tastebuds with home-made chicken curry – easy peasy once you found the rice ;). After that, Cara, Julian and Flo informed us about Scottish history, major milestones concerning Scottish-English rivalry and Scotland‘s position regarding the Brexit in impressive Pecha Kucha presentations. Last but not least, another evening ended with new conspiracies in Düsterwald.
Monday, 25th Nov
Since the motions, teams and times were set for this day‘s debate, the morning was largely spent prepping. Niels and Artjom prepared the most savoury burgers which gave everyone the much needed energy for a zealous debate on Scottish independence. To calm down, we headed off for the Christmas market and spent a few hours enjoying the festive atmosphere in the beautiful town of Strasbourg. Fortunately, noone was killed in Düsterwald this night. There were, however, serious fights about the rules of the highly complex game of UNO.
Tuesday, 26th Nov
The smell of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast welcomed us into our most important day of the trip. After a few final preparations, Niels, Artjom and Melina filled us in on the maze of European institutions, the history of the Union itself and the currently discussed issues.
We then set sail for the visit of the European Parliament. And somehow, Dr. Ehler did it again. Not only did he give an awe-inspiring insight into the importance of Europe today, but also linked it to each of the individual lives of our students. What we took for a joke at first became true a few hours later: Dr. Ehler joined us for our last meal of the trip – tartes flambées in the historic center of Strasbourg. While we were enjoying the most traditional pieces of Alsacian cuisine, he blew our minds with more incredible stories about how his political past shaped his personality and again connected with the students by underlining their importance in a future Europe. The impact of his words could already be felt on the way home and will definitely reverberate.
Wednesday, 27th Nov
Although the town of Düsterwald lost another few members the night before, our last morning started with a delicious baguette breakfast. After packing, cleaning and vacuuming, we left the apartment for another few hours in the city before entering the train home.
Additional to the above said:
We couldn‘t be more grateful for having spent the last days with these extra-ordinary, diligent and humorous young people. Thank you for taking part in this adventure.
Moreover, we cannot thank Mr Ehler enough for again finding a huge slot in his busy schedule and of course, Ms Hoffmann for making sure everything went as smooth as possible, coordinating the itinerary from Brussels.
Cn and Lo
Let‘s hear the students:
The whole debating trip was so wonderful and interesting. I really enjoyed the whole time in Strasbourg, in which we were able to go to the European Parlament as well as talking to a member of the European Parlament, Dr. Ehler. This showed to me the importance of the EU and their decisions and helped me to understand the importance of debating for my future career, because it builds up skills which are so diverse to use and I am very grateful to finally understand this. Furthermore, it was brilliant that we managed to have a debate with only one day of preparation and a presentation. Overall, the experiences, the city and the great people made this trip unforgettable.
Knowing Ms Lose and Ms Cornelis, expectations were high. Nevertheless I couldn’t imagine that this trip would be as educational and enjoyable as it turned out to be. Not only did we explore the beautiful city center of Strasbourg and had fun evenings filled with games and laughter, we also got to meet the remarkable Mr. Ehler, a prominent member of the European Parliament. On the one hand he gave us insight concerning the European Parliament and his job as a member. On the other hand, he he reminded us in his eloquent way of our personal responsibility not only in life but also in politics. This among other things made that trip something we hopefully remember for a lifetime.
Our Strasbourg debating trip already started fantastic when we had a delicious dinner in our rented flat, which was superb. During the next days we visited Strasbourg‘s famous Christmas market and competed in a „City-Rally”. We also had a debate about Scottish independence, which we connected to the ongoing Brexit.
On the last day we used the opportunity given by a powerful politician to visit the EU parliarment and have an interesting talk about himself „climbing up the ladder” and the „art of politics” as well as the importance of the European Union. And most importantly a motivation speech for us to be open-minded, curious and somehow ready to take risks to have a fulfilled life.
This debating trip has not only been just a simple school trip as might be expected, but created many memories and experiences, that hopefully will help us find our path in the future. Being in a wonderful flat we used that opportunity to give terrific Petcha Kutcha presentations about Scotland and the European Union as well as a debate.
The rest of the time we explored the city of Strasbourg and visited the European Parliament. We also got to know the admirable Dr. Ehler, a politician who told us about politics from a different perspective, indicating the relevance of the European Union for our future.
I really enjoyed being on this trip, the teachers really did a wonderful job and the company in general was perfect.
As someone who participated on last years debating trip I can say that Ms. Lose and Ms. Cornelis have surpassed themselves with this year‘s trip.
Not only did we get to know Strasbourg and its famous Christmas Market, through a city-rallye. We also got the opportunity to visit the European parliament and to meet with Mr. Ehler. He gave us an insight in the European political system and gave a very inspiring speech about the importance of the European Union and about work life.
I want to thank Ms. Lose and Ms. Cornelis for making this fantastic class trip, which I will never forget, possible.
With the debating trip to Strasbourg Ms. Lose and Ms.Cornelis surpassed all of my expectations. The combination of getting to know the city, e.g. through a fun city-rallye, and having an exciting debate + Petcha-Kutcha presentation about current topics, really appealed to me. The icing on the cake was the visit to the European Parliament. Especially getting to know Mr. Ehler, a politician, was very interesting and inspiring. His speech showed me how relevant the EU is for us and our future.
All in all, this trip left so many beautiful memories to remember for a lifetime. I also want to thank our teachers for doing such an incredible job.