Each fall and spring, students in the European Union Policy Studies graduate program make academic study trips to European Union institutions, in the framework of the annual practitioners' seminar held by European Parliament officials Silvio Gonzato and Alexandre Stutzmann. Academic visits allow students to observe EU policy-making dynamics at close range. The trips introduce students to important EU decision makers and give them the opportunity to build up professional networks.
Each fall, students are hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels for the Altiero Spinelli study trip. Named after the influential Italian federalist thinker and member of the European Parliament, this trip gives students access to various European institutions, including the European Parliament and its Committee on Foreign Affairs, the European Commission, and the Council of the EU, among others. Students get a 360-degree view of EU decision making, learning the intricacies of various legislative procedures, work cultures, and contemporary issues and controversies.
Each spring, students visit Strasbourg, the historic location of the Council of Europe and the formal seat of the European Parliament. The Louise Weiss study trip (named after the pathbreaking French author and politician) includes visits to EP committee metings and the EP plenary. Additionally, students meet with members of the European Parliament, EP staffers, Council of Europe officials, and personnel from the City of Strasbourg. In addition to deepening insights into the dynamics of EU policymaking, students also learn about the significance of the City of Strasbourg, the Alsace region, and the wider historical and geopolitical contexts of European integration.
Students also return to Brussels during the spring semester. This Jean Monnet study trip, which is named after the French businessman who became a founding father of European integration, focuses on "extra-institutional" actors in the EU policy process and on actors relevant to the EU's common foreign and security policy. Students meet with lobbyists, NGOs, and officials from the US diplomatic mission and NATO. They discuss how these actors work within and shape the European Union. This visit also has an explicit career development focus addressing how students can use their master's-degree training in the months and years to come.