Banbridge Academy pupil Nicole Parkinson-Kelly has recently returned from a trip to the European Parliament, Strasbourg after being selected by the Rotary Club Ireland to take part in the Euroscola event.
One of just 23 young people selected to go, Nicole said: “Initially, I was scared. I was worried that being no expert in politics, I was going to be surrounded in people who knew every legislation of every level of politics.
“I was pleasantly surprised to meet young people, much like myself, who had a keen interest in politics but were also confused by our own political system.
“The first day of the trip was known as the ‘Belfast Day’ in which we were able to visit the European Commission offices in Belfast followed by a visit to Stormont where we got the chance to question a representative from each political party.
“The second day involved a visit to the Irish Parliament in Dublin.
“The third day was the highlight for me. We went to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. My stomach was in knots at the thought of having to speak to 600 young people in a chamber!
“We were able to question the President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Junker. There were six topics that were debated that day. We also got to take part in an exercise in which involved translating questions in lesser known European languages.
“It was a thrilling experience and I felt enlightened with understanding of local, national and european politics.”