Name: Alex Baldwin
Minor: Education, Learning, and Society
Graduation: March 2015
How the EUC impacted your academic career at UW
With my studies primarily focusing on the French language, culture, and francophone world, I looked for experiences outside the classroom that would expand my knowledge of contemporary France and its role as part of a functioning and evolving European Union. After returning from a trip to Normandy in June of 2014, where I participated in the European Youth Parliament’s D-Day Youth Forum, I reached out to the EUC with the hope of finding ways to continue learning about the EU through hands-on experiences. Through the EUC, I served as Co-President of the West Coast Model European Union, presented a paper at the Claremont-UC Undergraduate Research Conference on the EU, and traveled to Brussels for the EU Visit Program. As a French major, these programs expanded upon and enhanced my coursework while allowing me to learn about France from a new perspective.
How the programs you participated in (MEU, Claremont, Brussels) impacted your professional career path:
When I chose to major in French I hoped that it would lead to a career with an international focus, but I was open to a variety of fields and roles. Hoping to narrow my professional goals, I looked for French and EU related opportunities offered by the UW and in the area. It was my involvement in EUC programs along with studying abroad that pushed me towards the field of international education. I cannot imagine a better way to learn about the European Union than traveling to Brussels and visiting the institutions directly, or a better way to improve my French language skills than interacting with native speakers in France. With that in mind, I hope to pursue a graduate degree in international education after gaining more experience in the field so that I can encourage students to step outside of their comfort zones and pursue academically enriching experiences abroad.
Favorite memory from any of the programs:
While in Brussels for the EU Visit Program, a group of us decided to take a day trip to Bruges. I knew very little about the city but was excited to photograph the beautiful Gothic architecture and hoped to use the day to cross “eat a Belgian waffle” off my bucket list. I have come to realize that day in Bruges provided me with some of my favorite moments of the trip. One standout experience included an informative boat tour of the canals that give Bruges the nickname “Venice of the North.” Our charismatic and multi-lingual tour guide surprised us all with his ability to deliver a fun and fast-paced tour in all the languages spoken on the boat. It’s my favorite memory from that day in Bruges, and I loved witnessing such a clear representation of the linguistic diversity within Belgium and the European Union.