Experience Europe – Without the Jet Lag

Last week, I invited you to take a one-day “tour” of the world, and hope some of you had the chance to participate in “Passport D.C.” and experience the culture of faraway countries.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I am very excited to be working and living in the United States as a Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellow, and I am enjoying the opportunity to explore America and its culture. Today, I want to invite you for a day “trip” to Europe, during which you can “visit” my home country, the Czech Republic.

You can stop by the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. this Saturday, May 9, which the European Union (EU) marks as Europe Day, an occasion to celebrate peace and unity.  At the Czech Embassy, you will see a vintage motorcycle show and trained police dogs and hear live music while enjoying delicious food and the world-famous Pilsner Urquell beer. You can listen to readings from the works of Karel Čapek, the writer who introduced the word “robot” to the languages of the world. And you can learn how to travel to the Czech Republic and one of its many beautiful cities, Pilsen -- the Culture Capital of Europe in 2015.

But the Czech Embassy is hardly the only place you should visit on May 9!  From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, all of the EU member countries' embassies and the EU Delegation to the United States will open their doors to the public for the annual EU Embassies' Open House: a day of family fun, food, culture, and more!  EU Embassies’ Open House day gives you a rare look inside diplomatic missions and invites you to experience the cultural heritage and national traditions of the 28 member countries.

If you were ever wondering how 28 different countries work together, then the EU Delegation is the place to start! Learn more about the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, and Europol.  Explore Europe’s mythology, complete a scavenger hunt to win prizes, or just enjoy a chocolate Euro coin!

By visiting the EU Delegation, you can also begin to explore the countries of the other Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellows serving at the U.S. Department of State this year. The Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellowship, an exchange program, allows mid-level diplomats from EU member states and NATO allies to spend a year working at the State Department, and American diplomats to serve at foreign ministries of participating countries and institutions.  After you stop by the EU Delegation, be sure to visit the diplomatic missions of the individual member countries.

So, if you will be in Washington D.C. this Saturday, use this opportunity to taste traditional Cypriot Halloumi cheese, take a selfie in front of images of your favorite German and French attractions, join Hungarian dances, listen to Latvian folk music, discover Romania’s traditions, taste typical Slovak drinks, and much more at all of the other embassies!  For more information and updates, follow #EUOpenHouse on social media and visit the official page of the event at www.euopenhouse.org.

About the Author: Lenka Schropferova is a diplomat from the Czech Republic participating in the Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellowship in the State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs.

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The flags of European Union nations are mirrored in the windows of the EU Council headquarters in Brussels
May 8, 2015

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