Westholme School in Blackburn have always celebrated the European Day of Languages and this year Sajjad was delighted to be asked to join teachers and students by Head of Languages, Clare Saunders.
In the morning Sajjad met with two groups of students, telling them about his role as a Member of the European Parliament, his early career, how and why he became an MEP and the workings of the European institutions.
The students asked some very pertinent questions and Sajjad briefed them on some of the benefits of EU membership, including new legislation that has forced mobile providers to reduce call and data charges within European countries and from July 2017 we will pay the same charge for data when in an EU country as we do at home in the UK.
Former Westholme student, Fiona Kinloch, returned to school to talk to students about her experiences since going on to study languages at the University of Warwick. She has recently returned from her year working abroad as part of her degree. Her talk gave many of our students a good insight into the world of languages at university. The EU’s Eramus+ programme enables students from the UK to undertake their studies at institutions across Europe.
At lunch time the catering staff put on a fantastic spread of foods from many European countries, including paella, moussaka and French pastries. Saj joined staff and pupils who all enjoyed this special gastronomic treat.
After lunch, Sajjad spent time in the Careers Room for a 'drop in' session with students when he told them about his career and opportunities in the European institutions and how important it is to be able to speak a different language.
Also during the day pupils joined in a languages department quiz on greetings in different European languages and an 'A-Z of Languages' game where each square on the board represented a country; whatever country they landed on, they had to say "hello" in that language.
Commenting during his visit Sajjad said:
“Nowadays we all take the freedom to travel across Europe for granted. But it wasn’t always like that. As a youngster I remember watching on TV the Berlin Wall literally being pulled down and this is one of the things that made me want to be an MEP.
“Being in the EU means being part of a family, for the betterment of all citizens. Sometimes there are family disputes that have to be sorted out but overall we are stronger together.
“The EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. Being part of this gives the UK real clout, being outside as an individual nation we would not have the same influence but would still be bound by legislation when we had no part in the decision making.