From an STSM to BSIS: When Brussels becomes your campus

Dr. Ioanna Bantouna from the University of Piraeus, Greece, sent us impressions from her STSM to Brussels:

I arrived in Brussels within the framework of my post-doctoral research in the interdisciplinary field of international relations and international law (IR/IL), as an appointed Visiting Researcher of the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS), to conduct my short-term scientific mission (STSM) focusing on the EU negotiation dynamics and foreign policy. I was warmly welcomed by the amazingly friendly BSIS team of faculty, administrative staff, lecturers, researchers and students and I was strongly supported to become a member of the BSIS family, being provided with access to a research office and introduced to the EU contacts and broader network of BSIS. Given this favorable work environment, I was enthusiastically encouraged to present and discuss my institutional perspective in the field and to experience the magic of academia inside and outside the Brussels bubble. Such productive and fruitful BSIS research hospitality has been the result of diverse interactions with the Brussels policy community, think tanks and international students serving as national diplomats or officers posted at the EU, along with opportunities for interviews and exchange of ideas with EU officials and policy officers of the EU institutions, active participation to BSIS modules taught in the semester, as well as, relevant conversations with IR/IL members of the academia and PhD researchers concerning areas of common interest. None of these could have been realized without the vital contribution of my academic host, Dr. Tom Casier, that kindly helped me to feel myself at home shaping my BSIS home within my Brussels home, for which I am extremely thankful.