The Brussels Workplace Study Tour is just one of the many global opportunities offered at Queen’s.
After a competitive selection process, I was one of the 24 students from the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) faculty, who was selected for the Brussels Workplace Study Tour. It was a good mix of undergraduates, post-graduates as well as PhDs. The tour introduced me to a lot of organisations, and learning opportunities not only within Brussels but also worldwide. Here are my top favourite moments of the tour and why I would recommend AHSS students to explore this opportunity.
Visiting the European Union (EU) Parliament and the EU Commission
The event which stood out from the rest of the planned activities for me was the trip to the EU Parliament. As a non-EU citizen, the tour was the perfect opportunity to not only visit the EU Parliament, the EU Commission and other EU institutions, but also to discover traineeship programmes for non-EU citizens, which I may not have otherwise known about!
Exploring career opportunities in different sectors
The tour consisted of visits to various organisations such as lobbying firms like IBEC and Hume Brophy, to Baker-McKenzie, one of the largest law firms in the world and to AB InBev, one of the biggest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) organisations in the world! These visits showcased different job profiles and provided me with the platform to explore future opportunities in different sectors.
Developing various skills for personal and professional growth
The tour was the perfect opportunity to develop and hone certain specific skills like networking and communication. The tour made it explicitly clear that Brussels, and Europe as a whole, has a big emphasis on networking. The networking event on the first day of the tour at the Northern Ireland (NI) Executive office was my first proper experience of networking. I did not know a single person in the room beforehand and therefore was forced to step out of my comfort zone and engage with different people, both students as well as employers.
Another skill that is crucial in the workplace and that was given a lot of focus was communication, be it verbal or written. The ability to communicate effectively, by assessing the crowd and keeping their interests into the picture, is the key. One of the keynote speakers from the Council of the European Union, Mr Kaenas O’Connor’s storytelling skills were the perfect example that reinstated the importance of communication.
The trip focused on the importance of personal branding. In Brussels, a huge emphasis was put on learning languages. Since I have the basic knowledge of German language, this tour motivated me to learn and explore further.
Exploring Brussels Centraal with great company!
And finally, the tour concluded with some leisure time to explore the city centre of Brussels, called the Brussels Centraal. It was a fun-packed day, where we explored the tourist spots of Royal Palace of Brussels, had delicious food and obviously, the Belgian waffles and had a great time with a great bunch of people.
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International MBA candidate (2017-18) | India
I am currently in my final semester, working on my dissertation for the course. My experience at Queen’s University Belfast has been truly enriching and I am using this platform of blogs as a means to share my experiences with the potential candidates, to showcase the opportunities available at QUB and life in Belfast! I hope my blogs can answer some of the many questions an international student may have of the university and the city, which is now one of my homes.