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EuroSim

EuroSim LSS

Lecturing Team: Dr Helena Farrand Carrapico and Dr Patrycja Rozbicka

Aims

The Aston EuroSim Module has two main aims: 

  1. Provide students with negotiation and rhetorical skills, as well as in-depth knowledge of the functioning of European Union (EU) institutions. It does so through the usage of negotiation simulations, based on the development of a unique community of learning (this module mixes final year undergraduate students and MA students) and a professionalising ‘learning by doing’ approach; 

  2. Select and train students to take part in the largest and longest running EU negotiation simulation in the world, which is also called EuroSim. The latter has gathered annually, for the past 30 years, 250 students from 22 universities in Europe and in the US. As the only UK participant team in this highly competitive event, Aston University selects the 10 best students in the module to represent the country by providing them with its best expertise in negotiation, diplomacy and European affairs. As a result, students undergo a transformative experience enabling them to improve their self-esteem, social abilities and professional skills.

Teaching approach

The teaching approach at the basis of EuroSim: EuroSim distances itself from traditional teaching and learning methods and proposes a ‘learning by doing’ approach based on negotiation simulations. Instead of simply reading about negotiation skills, students develop and implement them in a specific negotiation scenario. This ‘learning by doing’ approach is based on the growing academic literature about the effectiveness of simulations in conveying complex knowledge thanks to its problem- based perspective. The same skills are still provided, but the role-playing element leads to the emergence of a new community of learning: the learning environment is entirely based on real life situations and documents, which promotes a more professionalising environment, as well as greater student involvement. The simulations are also recorded on video to allow students to learn from reviewing their performance. The learning strategy is complemented by high levels of student engagement through social media. The lecturers encouraged students to establish a Facebook page, as well as a Twitter account, which are used as part of communication and negotiation strategies.


Why EuroSim?

Why fund the Aston EuroSim Module at a time when the UK’s relation with the EU is changing? Following the triggering of Art. 50, which officially kick-starts the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK has embarked on a complex and possibly long negotiation process to establish the basis for its future relation with the EU. Given the EU’s weight as a trade block and its geographical proximity, it is likely that the UK Government and UK- based companies will want to maintain an important level of exchanges with it. In order to do so, the UK will need a very large number of EU trained negotiators, working in the context of the civil service and of companies, who will be able to shape the new relation and ensure that national economic, political, cultural and social interests are safeguarded. 


Funding Needs: Given Aston University’s strong support for widening participation in Higher Education, it is striving to ensure that its best students can take part in opportunities such as EuroSim. An important part of this effort is related to attracting the necessary funding to cover the travel and accommodation of students taking part in the international simulation.