Tuesday, April 12, 2016

EUC WASHINGTON DC TRIP 2016: PART FOUR

Photo by Maxime Larivé
By Ilias Bolaris

As a part of the professional development of our MAEUS students, the European Union Center offers students the opportunity for a trip to Washington D.C. in the Spring semester. This year's trip happened from March 21 to the 24. This article is Part Four of a series of posts written by different MAEUS students. In this article, Ilias Bolaris writes about the third day of the trip, March 23. Previous entries in this series can be found here.

The Washington D.C. trip organized by the European Union Center was an opportunity to meet with people that work in respected agencies and institutions and to discuss with them and collect information about their work and life in Washington D.C. All the meetings were productive and valuable. They encouraged us to apply for internships/jobs that we like and have a strategy in order to move forward.

Photo by Maxime Larivé
On the third day of our trip in Washington D.C. we had the opportunity to visit the Pew Research Center which is located in L Street. The Pew Research Center does not propose policies it is not a think tank but a fact tank. Its aim is to inform the people about public opinion and issues from various countries around the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and collects information about all the issues that a young researcher would be interested in. Throughout the year the Center works with an amazing network in the multiple countries under study in order to conduct its research and after a work of many months they receive all the data and they start to analyze them. A researcher working for the Center told us that this is the time that they all wait for, and it is something that shows how excited and passionate they are about their research. Our host presented the Center’s function, and explained in detail the methods they use, how they cooperate with their partners and the different stages that they divide their work into from the beginning to the end of the year when they finish. He was willing to present as many surveys as possible, to analyze the data and discuss with us by asking questions about our opinion and our thoughts. I was impressed by the professionalism and the passion for research at Pew, which is a great source for researchers that need data for their projects.

The Pentagon was amazing as well. We met with a University of Illinois alumna who guided us trough the building. It was like being in a museum. There were pictures, paintings, maps, objects, and flags presenting the missions that have been undertaken throughout all these years. It was exciting to walk there and someone could spend the whole day discussing with others about history, battles, humanitarian disasters and people that served in the US army in the past. It was a very interesting meeting as we had the opportunity to see how someone working in the Pentagon sees Europe and how they work and prepare their reports with analysis about the EU and the region.

The D.C. trip was a great experience for all the students and something that I will remember for a long time.

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