povecyeh0neFor ordinary tourists Belgium is a country famous for its Manneken Pis statue, Belgian wafers and chocolate and for its comics. However, Belgium means more to MA students of the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation. This is the place where administration of all the European Union are located!
This year the study visit to the EU institutions was a bit different from others, because our Master Students went there not from Russia, but from Italy where they are studying within the framework of the exchange student program between Astrakhan State University and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Alina Budaeva and Ekaterina Natkhina joined the group of the Italian students from Forlì Branch of the University of Bologna to study the activities of one of the leading interpreters in the world.  The visit lasted for three days, but the schedule was extremely busy. On the first day, students visited European Commission Directorate General for Interpretation. There they listened to the presentations about various EU structures and its institutions and interpreters’ work at them. Then students were offered an independent visit to the Parliamentarium, an interactive museum of the history of EU integration. Indeed, there is a lot of information inside the museum: photos, virtual maps, audio and video records.
The active training at the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation yielded its fruits and the students noted that they have already known the most of information provided in the museum. However, now, due to using the multimedia information technologies every piece of information is perceived in an absolutely new light!
The second and third days were completely devoted to the interpretation practice at different meetings. During these meetings, master students made a simultaneous interpreting in so-called dummy booths. They had a chance to practice interpreting on the most various topics. The first meeting was devoted to Donald Trump’s election as the U.S. President; the second one was devoted to success stories of a number of the projects financed by the EU. By the way, students managed to hear the native language as representatives of Ukraine and Georgia were given the floor.
p_20161205_141039On the third day master students had to plunge into the highly specialized area and interpret reports on disease control issues, such diseases as aphtha and bird flu. The last meeting was devoted to social issues, namely, to xenophobia and racism.
During this visit, master students got acquainted with many professional interpreters who shared first-hand experience with them and gave practical “survival” advice. Moreover, students were given an opportunity to meet Susanna Mattila who is responsible for interpreters’ recruitment to the European parliament. She told about the selection process of interpreters for each meeting and about the accreditation process of full-time interpreters and freelancers. And on one of the last days, master students had a chance to see a familiar face. In corridors of the European Commission, they met no other than Paolo Torrigiani, who had given such fascinating and useful classes to MA students of the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation last spring that all the students remembered them.  In conclusion, master students would like to note that, certainly, such kind of practice is a huge motivation to achieve the goals within the framework of interpreter’s professional career. As for the wafers, they were very tasty indeed!