CCA – HTL Anichstrasse, Innsbruck, Austria – Brussels – an Experience
by Alexander Schwaighofer
It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Innsbruck, Austria. On May 21 at 7 a.m., six students of CCA HTL Anichstrasse accompanied by their teacher Martin Huber were heading to platform five at Innsbruck main station. The desired destination: the capital of the European Union, Brussels. First by train, then by plane, they made their way to the destination’s airport. Although slightly confused by the unpredictability of the public transport ticket machines, in the end, all of them managed to get a seat on the underground to the MEININGER Bruxelles City Centre youth hostel. Not long after, having successfully navigated their luggage over the many bumpy cobblestones, which seemed to be lurking around each and every corner, they finally arrived at their accommodation.
Upon entering the building, they were welcomed by a group of lovely students from the ITT Buonarroti and IIS Galilei schools in Trento and Bolzano, respectively. Together with CCA HTL Anichstrasse, the two Italian schools collaborated on this international project to visit Brussels. Students were given the chance to explore what role the European Union plays in ensuring peace, justice and a supporting commonality within Europe. The second goal of the programme was the exchange of culture and education among pupils. With the entire programme held in English, students of all three schools could finally demonstrate what they had learned during the past eight years of their school careers.
The schedule also allowed for some sightseeing, therefore, they mutually agreed on using this opportunity to spend the following day visiting Bruges in Flanders, which is located in the upper Flemish-speaking half of Belgium. It is well-known for its beautiful city centre and the many sights found within. Students split into groups and explored what Bruges had in store for them. In the late afternoon, with a minimum of 20,000 steps on the fitness tracker, they decided to call it a day and head back to the hostel, just in time for dinner.
Already having collected unforgettable memories during the past two days in Belgium, the most exciting part was still ahead of them. On Monday, May 23, a visit to the European Council was on the agenda. Greeted by the remarkably helpful guides Vesna, Katharina, Andriana and Alessandra, all of whom working for the Representation of the European Region Tyrol, South-Tyrol and Trentino, they found themselves standing in the middle of Rue de la Loi. They were surrounded by astonishing pieces of architectural engineering including the European Council and Council of the European Union as well as the uniquely shaped Berlaymont housing the European Parliament. And not to forget the famous Schuman metro station. Inside the main building of the Council of the EU, students were able to listen to a speech given by a legal advisor, talking them through the building blocks of what makes up EU legislation and explaining in detail the role that the institutions take in the process.
In the days that followed the students learned all there is to know about the European Institutions based in Brussels, their history, assigned tasks and the power they hold, but also their responsibility to act based on justice and in accordance with European Law. Additionally, they were able to get exclusive insight into the workings of the Representation of the European Region Tyrol, South-Tyrol and Trentino. Not to mention all the stunning places they could visit such as the Atomium, the Grand Place and the Chocolate Museum.
All in all, the project participants had a wonderful time in Brussels. Getting to know foreign students abroad, spending time together and even learning a bit of Italian turned out to be super exciting for them. "We are extremely thankful to our teachers Regina Standún, who organised the joint-venture project, and Martin Huber, who accompanied us, and to the very supportive people at the Representation of the Regions for giving us the chance to make this experience!" – is what the students have to say about the journey.
A warm-hearted thank you to the HTL Anichstraße Elternverein, the principal and his administrative team and the Land Tirol for supporting us so generously!