This year, the University of Washington’s Center for West European Studies, the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, and the World Affairs Council will host the regional competition of the Euro-Challenge. The program, developed by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, aims to increase students’ knowledge of the Euro Area and its single currency, the euro, through a unique learning experience that moves students out of the classroom and into the real world.
We recently sat down with tenth-grader Emily from Inglemoor High School to see what brought her into the competition and how it’s changing her perspective on politics, economics, and Europe.
Q: What excited you the most about participating in the Euro Challenge?
A: I think the best part is that I get to work with a group of people that are really driven; they care about learning about this topic. That’s what’s been the most fun – working as a team toward something. It’s great, because I doubt we’d be such good friends without this. These opportunities, especially through school, can be hard to come by. Another great part is that even though I’ve done Model UN before, and spent time learning about international affairs, the Euro-Challenge is really giving me an opportunity to research way more in depth. I’m learning things and beginning to understand things in a way I never could have before.
Q: What’s been the most exciting thing you’ve learned?
A: Well, we still have a bunch of research to do, but the most interesting thing about our topic, high unemployment, is learning how different unemployment benefits actually change unemployment rates. Some countries, like in Cyprus, have these really great unemployment benefits, and people can actually earn more than they would working a labor job, and so we are learning that may be helping drive higher unemployment rates. Anyways, it’s just really interesting to see how different policies make an impact directly on a country. This is really the first time I’ve gotten to dive into something current. In school we always learn about the past. It’s really nice to learn about what’s happening now.
Q: Do you plan on continuing to study economics or the EU?
A: The economics of it all has been really interesting, because I feel like it’s something I really need to understand. I like learning how everything functions, and why things are the way they are. I mean, economics is really the driving force, the backbone, of society today. In regards to continuing to study the EU, I mean, the way it intersect with the Euro Zone and the UN, I think of course I will continue to study it! It’s fascinating how it’s all tied together. All this work we are doing, it’s all in an extracurricular vein, so you have to be interested in it to keep going. This isn’t day-to-day stuff.
Q: Okay, onto the fun question! If you could go anywhere in the EU, where would you go and why?
A: I think it’s a tie, between Cyprus and Spain. Spain because I’ve been taking Spanish for so long, and all of my teachers keep telling me that in order to really learn the language, you’ve got to go to a country that speaks it. You’ve got to go in depth. And Cyprus because, well, I’ve just learned so much about it from The Challenge, and now I want to see it in real life. I want to see what’s going on, how it works, more than just some report I read online. It would be amazing, to go to a place and know the reasons behind why I’m seeing what I’m seeing. I think either would be a dream.
Emily and her team will be coming to the University of Washington on March 11th to compete in the regional competition. Stay tuned to see the results of the competition and find out more about last year’s National Champions here.
Update: As of 3/16/2017, Inglemoor was announced the winner of the Regional Competition! Find out more here.