Mathias Qickert, first-year European Public Administration (EPA) student, took part in the excellence programme of his study where he followed a project called “EuroSIM”. For him and his fellow-students this included the participation in an international conference at the University of Twente. In this article he tells about his experience.
“For a moment, I did not feel like a student anymore.”
From the 4th until the 7th of January Enschede was the temporary administrative centre of Europe. Why? For these four days about 200 students got together at the campus to simulate the decision-making process of the European Union. EPA student Mathias Quickert slipped into the role of the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. “For a moment, I did not feel like a student anymore.”
The excellence programme EuroSim is a role play in which European and North American students slip for a few days into the role of a member of the EU. Simulated debates and introductions to guest speakers gave students an insight into European decision-making. Excursions included in the four days led to a friendly, informal atmosphere.
Speaking for Greece
“I had influence for a few days. I was important, I felt like a VIP”, Matthias says, looking back to the conference. Together with Simone van Have and Lukas Spielberger, he represented the Greek delegation, which struggled with the European social- and income policies. “The participating students followed the real-life example of speaking to each other by country names, which illustrated the formal setting”, Matthias says.
Satisfied, he looks back. “In the role of Prime Minister Samaras of Greece I often took the chance to say something. In the real European congress Greece probably cannot express their opinion too much owing to the financial support it gets from the other countries.”
The students representing Greece got a big applaud from the other representatives when suggesting the support of the social security systems of the poorest member states.
Further, they decided to implement social subsidiary programme for the weakest regions. “It was not our business who is going to pay.” Matthias qualifies his statement.
Make sure you know how to sell your ideas
„The participation in EuroSIM taught me that how you present yourself and your ideas is at least as important as your message itself. In the first session the presenter called me student of the UT, so I told him that I want to be addressed as Antonis Samaras. That joke made me known by everyone.”
„It was a great time. Not only because we discussed about European affairs, but also because we met students from other universities on an informal level via the excursions to the Kröller-Muller museum and the Grolsch Brewery. I talked to many students from other countries. Networking works by you exchange opinions with each other or have a beer together”, Mathias summarizes.