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13-03-2009

Winners of Graduate.ie competition

By Yvonne Kelly and Anne O'Keeffe

The 'Graduate Online Youth Quiz' is a free on-line educational Quiz for primary and post primary students throughout Ireland. 30 winners from schools throughout Ireland participated in the European Parliament's Euroscola programme in Strasbourg on 16 March 2009.  Read the report of their experiences written by Yvonne Kelly and Anne O'Keeffe from Coláiste Eoin in Hacketstown.

'On 13 March we travelled with a group of 28 other students to the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg.  This was a trip organised by Graduate.ie, our sponsors were the Office of the Ombudsman and the Public Appointment Service.  The group arrived by coach to the EP at 8.30.  We were greeted by one of the EP's staff who gave us the itinerary for the day.  We were also put in groups for the debates which were carried out later in the day.  At 9 o'clock we were given seats in the canteen where we enjoyed a continental breakfast.

We then went to the Louis Weiss building where we were seated in MEP seats.  All participating countries gave a two minute introduction in a language that was not their native tongue.  The EP staff gave us an introduction to the EP and the way it is operated.  We were then given a chance to ask any questions we had about the EU which included topics such as the Lisbon Treaty and the global economic downturn.

We were then treated to lunch in the canteen, where we also played a game called 'Eurogame'.  This game included multilingual questions which we had to answer.  This gave us an opportunity to meet some of the other students from Europe.

After lunch we were split into our groups and we prepared a debate on global issues including globalization and Europe's future.  We were given a chance to voice our opinion on such issues and elected a President and Reporter on our behalf.

We then went back to the Louis Weiss building and debated these topics.  We also played the final of 'Eurogame' which we really enjoyed.

This day in the EP gave us an insight into the running of the EU and taught us a lot about European issues.  The day was of great benefit to us and was a very memorable experience.  We are truly grateful towards Graduate.ie for organising this trip and giving us such a wonderful opportunity which not very many young people will have.  We really appreciate the significance of this trip and would like to give our sincere thanks to everyone involved.'

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