LSE represented at the European Student Assembly

Over 200 students gathered in Strasbourg to draft policy proposals on the future of Europe

Taking part in the European Student Assembly in Strasbourg was everything I expected and more! It is a rare opportunity to contribute directly to policy ideas that you think should be implemented.


What is the European Universities Community?

The European Universities Community (EUC) is a grassroots initiative gathering student representatives from European University Alliances to empower students and give them a say in the future of Europe. It gathers students, faculty and staff from 13 universities and supporting organisations.

From March to May 2023, the selected students worked remotely to deepen their understanding of a chosen topic and produce a collection of recommendations before meeting with their peers for a 3-day event in Strasbourg which took place from 31 May to 2 June. 

LSE sent four representatives Zoe, Palmyre, Samuel, and Héloïse to the European Student Assembly to exchange and work with students from across Europe. ESA podiumTo know more about this opportunity, read Zoe's interview below. 

Zoe Swanwick graduated from Cambridge University in 2021, and she is currently studying for an MSc in International Relations.

Why did you decide to take part in the European Student Assembly?

I took part in the Assembly as I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet other European students that were interested in politics and policymaking as well as to visit Strasbourg! 

How did you find this experience and what did you enjoy the most?

It was everything I expected and more - it was a very intense 3 days of meeting people, finalising policy recommendations and debating which ones we thought were best. It was incredibly fun, interesting and exhausting. I most enjoyed chatting to other participants not only about the policies we were trying to formulate, but about their own experiences and their research interests. Beyond this, coming from a very UK-focused background, it was fun to be part of such a "European" group, and to hear what the main political priorities of the EU are. It's a complex set of organisations and there's something about sitting inside Parliament that makes understanding what it's about and how it functions a bit easier. 

What was the most interesting and revealing part of this experience?

Consensus-building is difficult, politics is difficult, but everyone who was there, from students to MEPs believed whole-heartedly that the point of the European project is as alive now as it ever was. It is much easier and more tangible to imagine a better future when you talk about it out loud. 

How does it fit in with your broader objectives and your degree at LSE?

ESA was an excellent opportunity to discover how policymaking works in practice and to consider the various roles that are required in this context. The experience shed light on the political dynamics to it and how much negotiation, compromise and collaboration is necessary for a whole political system to work. These are all skills I know will be useful for any future career- but especially in international politics. 

What is your main takeaway from attending the European Student Assembly? 

There are many ways of tackling issues, and getting insights from different groups - in this case students - is an important way of ensuring that the vision of the future that politics is contributing to is for everybody. 

If you had the opportunity, would you participate again? 

Absolutely I would do it again - it was an immersive and intense experience where you're exposed to hundreds of students from across Europe, you hear from MEPs, and it is a rare opportunity to contribute directly to policy ideas that you think should be implemented. As this was the only second year of ESA, it really has a lot of potential that future students can shape if they wish to.  

ESA Group

© Zoe Swanwick and Héloïse De Montgolfier