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A college for the worldly student with big plans

The international make-up of the College of Europe represents a world of possibility.

Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat party leader who became Britain's deputy prime minister after the elections in May, is himself a former student and went on to work as an EU trade official and was later elected into the European Parliament. Clegg met his wife, Spanish lawyer Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, during their time at the college. International love matches are not uncommon in Bruges where there's emphasis on cross-cultural socializing.

"Students are not only here to study but also to have a European experience at a human level," Demaret said. "That is as important as the academic program."

Former student Constant Brand recalls that national groups are tasked to organize elaborate parties for their fellow students. Stand outs include Austro-Hungarian balls, Italian gastronomic extravaganzas, Balkan banquets or a NAFTA party organized by North American students that involved line dancing and a Mariachi band supplied by the Mexican embassy.

"You are thrown into a group of very different nationalities and backgrounds, none of the students will ever experience that again to that intensity," said Brand, a Dutch-Canadian journalist. "Being 24/7 with so many people of other cultures and nationalities, that is the big plus of the college."