Colgate Abroad: Students Take on EuroSim Conference

Richie Rosen , Staff Writer

Over winter break, a dedicated group of Colgate University students took a trip across the pond to Cardiff, Wales, to attend EuroSim, a conference that models the European Union (EU). Students collaborated with and competed against students from universities all around the world to simulate the EU’s response to an issue.

“Basically, EuroSim is a type of Model UN approach for the European Union,” senior Erin Flannery, who attended the conference, said. “You represent a country or parliamentary leader for the European parliament, and you negotiate a slew of pressing issues. I was on the main European Council debating the Green New Deal, which is a huge issue right now in Europe.”

EuroSim participants do not have an exact choice of which party to represent or which delegate to serve. The randomness adds an extra layer of difficulty that keeps the savvy conference-goers on their toes.

Sophomore Alba Martinez Angoitia debated on the Environmental Commission (ENVI) representing Simona Baldassarre, the Italian member of the party of Identity and Democracy. Her party assignment was not necessarily the most familiar to her, but, in keeping with the nature of the conference, she took her assignment in stride and made the most of it.

“I had to represent a member of a far-right party, [of which] there were only three in the commission,” Martinez Agoitia explained. “[But it] was fun seeing how the tables would turn in debates as soon as one of the members of the far-right parties criticized the amendments or any of the new points the other parties were trying to add.” 

The challenges for the participating students didn’t stop there. As Flannery explained, one of the trickiest aspects of EuroSim was navigating the web of complex politics that arose from the different needs of each country on the commission. She gave the example of how Hungary and Russia’s alliance was at odds with the goals of the coalition of western European countries like France and Germany.

“The goal was to find ways to make Europe more [environmentally] integrated as a collective, but [it was] obviously very difficult when you have to deal with some countries being more closely aligned than others,” Flannery said. 

Going beyond the substance of the conference itself, both Martinez Angoitia and Flannery spoke very highly about their experience on the trip. Though not a stranger to the United Kingdom, Flannery enjoyed the sights and sounds of her time abroad.

“I had been to the UK before because my cousin lives there, but it was my first time being in Wales, which was very interesting [and] completely different from the rest of the UK. It was beautiful,” Flannery said. “We also stayed in London for a couple days and [Associate Professor of Political Science Ed] Fogarty organized a tour of London, and we did a lot of historic sightseeing. Being in good company, as well, was great.”

Martinez Angoitia, similarly, had nothing but positive things to say about her time at EuroSim. She specifically praised the people she met over the course of the trip.

“We were able to spend time with other delegates and many of us became friends by the time the simulation ended,” Martinez Angoitia explained. “Overall, [it] was a really unique experience that I hope I get the chance to participate in again!” 

Another participant, senior Emma Hubbard, also reflected upon her time in Cardiff. 

“The conference was a great experience to meet and collaborate with international students who have shared interests,” Hubbard said.

These three students highly recommended the trip to underclassmen who want to have an experience abroad during their time at Colgate. Flannery described it as a great way for students to step out of their comfort zone and do something extraordinary.

“I would definitely encourage anyone who is interested in [international relations] or political science to take this trip, but also anybody who is interested in meeting people from different countries and cultures,” Flannery said. “It was a great opportunity to have conversations with students and make friendships from abroad. I really enjoyed that part. And it’s definitely something that’s great to get involved in, especially if you would like to travel in the next couple of years with Colgate.”