What is the best thing about studying PPE at York?
Hands down, I would say that it is the people I study with. I don’t know of a course, at any university, where there is more of a sense of community than PEP at York. This is largely due to the Club of PEP, which is a student-run organisation that represents all students within the School of PEP.
The club organises events, parties and trips, both academic and social. These include the PEP Freshers’ Week, the 12-hour Spring Ball and a study trip abroad after exams in January. These events allow you to really get to know your course mates, creating friendship groups, which will enhance your university experience, in and out of the classroom.
I currently live with two other PPE students and my best friends at university, almost without exception, have also been on my course.
I have found that PEP students in general are incredibly driven and passionate people. It’s a huge pleasure to hang out with them every day. Here is a little video about the Club of PEP:
I have been lucky enough to make it onto both PEP study trips during my time here at York. There are 35 places on the trip. On both occasions, the tickets have sold out in under a minute. In my first year, we went to Berlin. For those who haven’t been there, it is out of this world. We had an incredible time. So incredible in fact, that two of the guys on our trip stayed for another three days!
In this blog, I am going to talk about the trip a few weeks ago to Vienna.
Vienna is famous for being a city of bureaucrats and students with the highest standard of living of any city in the world. It’s a pretty unique and wonderful place. As I’m sure I don’t need to explain, January 2017 was a pretty interesting time for both Politics and Economics.
In Austria we were lucky enough to meet top diplomats and politicians who gave us a fascinating insight into the agenda for the future of the Eurozone, as well as on the world stage.
During our five days in Vienna we visited:
- The United Nations for a lecture on the UN’s new sustainable development strategy
- The British Embassy to meet Sian MacLeod, the British Ambassador to the OSCE
- The Austrian Foreign Ministry to meet Michael Linhart, the General Secretary
- The Austrian Federal Chancellory to meet Stefan Imhof, the Head of the Policy Division
My favourite thing about diplomats is how upfront and honest they are. They are used to being asked difficult questions and instead of skirting around controversial issues, they tackle them head on and give their genuine opinion. This is very refreshing and provides a unique insight into what is going on.
All of the officials that we met fit this bill and the insight that we acquired into the issues and interests of a power at the heart of the EU have provided us with a new view on how the coming Brexit negotiations are going to turn out and also the future of the EU as a whole.
Don’t tell my lecturers, but my highlights of the Vienna trip were not academic. Checking out a cool city with 34 of your friends. How could you not have fun? The highlight of the trip for me was definitely hanging out in all the amazing cafes, bars and restaurants that we found. It was great to have a chance to just relax after a crazy couple weeks of revision and exams. There’s no need to think about work. You can just chill and be with your friends.
So, here are my top 5 spots for taking it easy in Vienna:
(1) Café Central
This cafe has been open since 1876 and has been frequented by Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. It’s pretty touristy, but it’s a real piece of history and a beautiful building. The pastries are pretty amazing, so take out a mortgage and go and try one.
Each of the federal ministries in Vienna have their own cafeterias which are open to the public. The cafeteria in the Justice Ministry is hands down the best. It’s on the top floor of one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, with a great view of the Vienna skyline. You’d be hard pressed to find authentic Wiener Schnitzel anywhere else in Vienna at a better price. Don’t be put off by the security guards and metal detectors, just tell them where you want to go and they’ll let you through.
Cool scene, delicious Ramen and Pho at a great price. There won’t be a person in there over the age of 35. I first went here a couple of years ago and I just had to go back. So if you’re into that kind of thing, you’ve got to check it out.
(4) Brot und Spiele
We heard about a bar which contains over 100 board games. We thought that sounded a bit nerdy, but trust me, you have to check it out. When we first went there we were recommended the game ‘SpyFall’. We were pretty sceptical, but we ended up having the best evening. Cheap drinks and awesome games. You can’t go wrong.
(6) Loco Bar
This is one of the most popular student bars in the city. When it opens at 7pm, every cocktail on the menu is 50 cents! Every hour the price goes up by €1, until it reaches €3.50. As I’m sure I don’t need to explain, this lead to a pretty crazy night.
I had an awesome time in Vienna. I would like to say that I came back refreshed and ready to get back to work. But unfortunately, I came back with the worst flu I’ve ever had. It took me out of action for about 5 days. Regardless, I hope I’ll be able to pull off 3/3 and get onto the trip next year, wherever that might be.
I hope I’ll see you there!