• Abby

Traineeship trip to Brussels

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

Our next traineeship trip was to Brussels, where the European Parliament has its second seat. Unlike the Strasbourg trip, this was only a day trip – a three hour journey there and back again in the evening. I decided that the early start this would entail would be too depressing, so decided to travel to Brussels on the Sunday, take the Monday off work and meet up with the group on Tuesday for the actual visit. 

This decision, born out of laziness, turned out to be an excellent one. The Parliament buildings are a bit out of the way from the centre, and had I only spent Tuesday there I would have missed out on all the city has to offer. I have always loved exploring new places, spending a day alone wandering and finding the best coffee shops, reading a book and taking in the new sights and sounds. It seemed like such a long time since I had taken the time to do that, and Brussels is a brilliant city to explore by foot, so I was grateful for the train strike on Monday which had resulted in me staying an extra night in Belgium. I met up with a friend from my Masters course who is now working in Brussels; it was so great to catch up but we realised it had already been a year and a half since we last saw each other. It’s scary how fast time goes!

In Grand Place, Brussels’ main square, there was a spectacular light show, with the main buildings lit up in different colours to exciting music. I took some photos, but it was hard to capture it with a camera:


On Tuesday we visited the Parliamentarium, the European Parliament’s visitor centre, which is a good way to learn more about Europe’s history and how Parliament works. In the afternoon we sat in on a Committee Meeting – probably not quite as exciting as the plenary chamber had been at Strasbourg, but again, it was good to learn more about the process to give our translations a context. 

On Wednesday it was back to work in the translation unit, since my first three-week placement in the editing unit had come to an end the Friday before. I’m enjoying being back in the translation office with two other trainees, and I am happy with how the editing placement went. I think (or at least I hope!) that is has had a positive effect on my translations, since I’ve noticed that I’m looking at them from a slightly different angle when I’m revising the first draft. Time will tell! 

Abby x

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