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The European Summer University caters
for the requirements of local government

By Gregor Gosciniak

27 April 2005: The European Summer University (ESU) held annually in Birmingham, England’s second largest city, is a three-week programme, which offers, in addition to intensive English-language courses, specialist classes in a variety of urban subjects. Students have the option of two or three-week combined study programmes.

Weekday mornings are dedicated to English-language learning. The ESU offers five levels of skill, ranging from intermediate to advanced. Professional, qualified and experienced teachers (all native speakers) hold the language courses. In the afternoons, students are able to attend a variety of specialist courses including:

-The Global Environment - urban challenges and local solutions
-The Entrepreneurial Economy
-Europe and the Wider World
-Culture, Creativity and City-making
-Making Sense of the Media
-The Intercultural City: Identity and Difference
-Unravelling the Mysteries of European Funding
-Urban Planning and Regeneration
-Additional English

The specialist courses take place at various locations in and around the city centre, including the Universities of Aston, Birmingham and Central England. Seminar discussions are combined with workshops and site visits. ESU participants have the option to attend official plenary sessions of Birmingham City Council. These sessions are topical public debates where participants can share their views with members of the public and guest speakers from politics, industry, education and the arts.

To round of the programme, the ESU organises social events for all participants. These include visits to places of interest in Birmingham and surrounding areas, for example a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Other social activities involve an evening at a typical English club on Broad Street as well as visits to theatre and concerts. The program ends with a farewell party in Birmingham’s City Hall.

During the five years since the ESU has been held, it has attracted many people of different nationalities, backgrounds and age groups. The ESU has been attended by mayors, regional politicians and local councillors from cities across Europe.

No specific qualifications are required and there is no upper age limit, but participants have to be at least eighteen years old. After finishing the ESU course, participants receive a certificate of completion from the Universities of Aston, Birmingham and Central England as well as from Birmingham City Council. They also receive a certificate from the Brasshouse Language Institute.

A two-week course at the ESU costs £590 (€855) including ensuite facilities (£510 (€740) if shared facilities are chosen). The three-week course costs £810 (€1,175) including ensuite facilities or £690 (€1,000) with shared facilities. These prices include the specialist courses, the English courses, the plenary session and the social programme. In many European countries the ESU fees are tax deductible.

Mayor Monitor allows you to rate the performance of your mayor More

How good is
your mayor?

City Mayors provides Mayor Monitor (MM) to allow residents and non-residents to rate the performance of mayors from across the world as well as highlight their ‘best’ and ‘worst’ decisions. Mayor Monitor uses the widely understood one-to-ten rating system, where '1' signifies an extremely poor performance and '10' ‘an outstanding one. In addition to rating mayors’ performances, citizens are invited to highlight the best and worst decisions by city leaders.

Over time, Mayor Monitor will provide a valuable track record of mayors’ successes and failures as well as their popularity among residents and a wider public. The results will be published on the City Mayors website and updated monthly.

Please rate your mayor now.

The ratings will become a contributory factor of World Mayor 2010.