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'Le Trip' to Brussels

By Dominik Rech and Klaas Bischoff

The Start of It All

During the first weeks of this semester, when the whole CEMS universe was still very new to me (Klaas), I heard about some cool events like the DACH Forum that rotates between the DACH countries or the Nordic Forum that rotates between Scandinavian countries. In total, there are actually five of those regional forums that combine corporate, alumni and social events over a course of a few days (DACH, Nordic, Marenostrum, V4, and Asia Pacific) and Rotterdam is not included in any of them. That made me think about alternatives.

When I got invited to the CEMS Club Conference in Istanbul, where most of the CEMS Club presidents came together, I thought that it would be great to sit together with the presidents of the Clubs at HEC (Pranav) and LSM (Héloïse) to discuss options of having an alternative event that rotates between our three cities. We all loved the idea right away and we decided that it would be easiest to start small, with mainly social events, and with having it in Brussels due to its conveniently central location. At that very moment, the initiative was born.

The Actual Trip

Our trip started on a chilly morning from Rotterdam, with all of us looking forward to having a fun weekend in Brussels and to taking a nap on the bus. Having arrived there, it was time to get the luggage sorted out and we met the president of the CEMS Club Belgium (Héloïse) and our second tour guide for the day, Elise. We ventured together around the town visiting the Delirium Café and the Manneken Pis and stopping by to get a waffle or two. This tour was crowned with the Van Gogh exhibition, where we got taken back to the 19th century with gorgeous light shows.

United: HEC, LSM & RSM students in Brussel

In the evening we got to mingle with members of the CEMS Clubs of Belgium and Paris after a few presentations of alumni, who told us about their post-CEMS experience. Throughout the evening we celebrated our culture with beer, wine and cheese from our respective countries.

At a later stage, it was time for some CCR magic, putting on a song or two and singing along, celebrating our cohort. Before we knew it, we were on our way to Delirium Café, continuing our festivities. The night ended at one of the local clubs as any proper student night-out should end: dancing and singing arm in arm.

On the following day, our discovery of Brussels continued by visiting the European institutions residing there, even though we mostly only got to see them from the outside. However, the Parlamentarium was open, enabling us to better get to know the European Union, from its foundation to its current challenges. The museum was unexpectedly nice and extremely interesting with all its interactive elements that allowed us to really explore what we found most relevant for ourselves – even though the alcohol from our last night and the little sleep did not bring us there in our best shape. We finally left Brussels in the late afternoon with our bus ride back to Rotterdam, during which most people caught up on some much needed-sleep.

Some fresh looking (but very tired) RSM CEMSies exploring Brussels in the cold

What Next?

After the success of our first event, the question is: what next? How can this be formed into a tradition that brings the regional CEMS schools closer together and allows the respective students to fully embrace the CEMS spirit on some fun trips abroad? We will need to make sure to pass on our learnings from the organization of “Le Trip” to the next boards and we should aim to improve the organization of the event every time. This is easier said than done. Events like this one have been organized before and many boards have tried to establish such a tradition. Many have failed as the event was either too complex or the transition from one bard to the next not done well enough.

Will it work this time? The short answer is that we don’t know. But we will for sure try our best to learn from previous mistakes and pass on this new tradition to the next board. And if it works out like we planned, all the RSM home students among you, should be able to join another edition of “Le Trip” in Fall 2019!

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