GMIT Business students visit EU institutions as part of their studies

Monday, March 06, 2017 Press Office
Press Release

Students offered options to study a European language, work placement or academic placement abroad

According to the Greek poet & playwright Euripides “Experience, Travel – they are an education in themselves”. Throughout the centuries students have travelled as part of their education. The Grand Tour of Europe served as an educational rite of passage in the 1800s, in as much as today’s students have experienced school tours, Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht and the American J1 summer programme as part of their education. 

As part of a wider learning curriculum, GMIT offers students the option of studying a European Language, work placement or an academic placement abroad. Earlier this year, with funding from the EU, the School of Business brought sixty business students ranging from first to fourth year on a European trip to the major EU Institutions, thus flipping the lecturer rooms and reversing the traditional learning environment by delivering content outside of the lecture room.

The trip covered visits to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg and the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. It supplemented and brought to reality the students’ learning in subject areas such as Irish Legal System, European Union Law, Finance, Economics and Management.

Second year students Michael Fallon, Kevin Folan and Aisling Lawless, who had won a competition to present  at the European Parliament did so to MEPs Luke Ming Flanagan, Marian Harkin, Vice President of the EU Parliament Mairead McGuinness and Commissioner Phil Hogan. This was an opportunity for the students to meet with their European representatives and afterwards engage in a lively questions & answers session. The students received a very complimentary Tweet from Commissioner Phil Hogan afterwards ‘lovely to meet the group earlier, a very engaged, informed and intelligent group of young Europeans’.

The trip was recorded live via the GMIT Website and on Twitter as updates were relayed daily through photographs and blogs from the students. On recommendation from one of the speakers on the trip, Mr Kevin Cardiff, Irish member of the European Court of Auditors, the GMIT Business Students visited the American World War II Cemetery located just outside Luxembourg, the site of one of the fiercest battles of WW ll; and also the resting place of General Patton. 

Upon visiting the War Memorial, first year student bloggers Sarah Ryan, Shannon Brady, Lorraine Hardiman and Tara O’Reilly wrote ”…we found great insight and meaning as to why the European Union was formed. This realisation links greatly to our visits to the EU institutions over our trip as it emphasizes the real significance of the EU – to assure peace and never allow such tragedy to occur again. Despite our cultural differences we should unite as one with one common ground and protect our citizens. As young prosperous students with our whole lives ahead of us, visiting the cemetery full of people the same age as us was both saddening and insightful as it gave great perspective as to how fortunate we really are. This sense of relief and comfort is somewhat taken for granted today as the only thing that differentiates us and the people buried there is the protection and our membership of the EU. The opportunities granted to us by the EU today are endless. The privilege of attending and obtaining a college degree and the freedom to then travel and experience the world and everything it has to offer is something we have realised we should never take for granted.”

Lorna Moynihan, lecturer, says “The students had the learning experience of a lifetime on this trip. For further information on our courses in the School of Business, and the various options we offer such as studying a language as part of your degree and/or working and studying abroad, visit our website”.