Seminars incl. simulation game for Master of European Studies (MES)

Lecture at European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Science does not have to be dry and theoretical! Since 2008, planpolitik have shown that there is a different way. The four-day block seminars at European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) combine academic teaching with interactive methods such as simulation games, negotiation training and future workshops. Since 2014, a two-week online simulation game is integrated. Thus students experience European policy-making by becoming actors themselves.

In the winter semester of 2014 the block seminar concerned itself with the topic of “The EU and its Eastern neighbours”, an area rich with problems for EU foreign policy: The crisis in Ukraine, the dictatorship in Belarus, separatism in Transnistria, tensions in Georgia. What are the causes of these developments and what are the EU’s possible options for action?

The seminar uses two fictional simulation games to explore these questions. The part of the seminar dealing with the pre-negotiations about the simulated summit takes place online, using our interactive simulation game platform (the demo version provides a sense of the experience). By contrast, traditional forms of teaching such as lectures and presentations are largely absent.

Topics in past years have ranged from asylum policy to climate negotiations, from the EU crisis to “future of the EU”. Usually, the students will research their simulation game roles themselves, and a negotiation training is integrated into the seminar as preparation for the games. Results and insights will be discussed in small groups or in a future workshop. A journalistic essay provides room for reflection and – finally back to traditional teaching styles – is marked.

Facts + Figures

Target group

Master's students of European Studies at European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

  • Understanding and using theory in order to scrutinise European policy-making and interaction of relevant actors

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)


4 days

Number of participants



Frankfurt (Oder)





  • I liked this seminar format very much. They should offer this type of thing more often at uni. You clearly learn a lot more than in more theoretical seminars!

    participant, summer semester 2013

  • Differentiating between formal and informal negotiations in the simulation game and realising that informal negotiations take up more space and time during the simulation game was very informative: particularly because these informal aspects are only briefly mentioned – or not at all – in many seminars and other simulation games such (MUN, POLIS, SIMEP et al.), despite the fact that the crucial decisions tend to be made outside the official procedure in Parliament and the Commission.

    participant, winter semester 2012

  • Not only was the simulation game a lot of fun, it was also very interesting. Before taking part in the seminar, I had never paid much attention to the topic, now I'm increasingly interested in it. What's more, the exercises during the game were very illuminating and not only gave us closer insights into the topic of asylum policy but also gave us the opportunity to’play’ procedures and structures within the European institutions, leading to a much better understanding of the way institutions work. I would definitely take part in more simulation games anytime, it has given me a lot.

    participant, summer semester 2013

  • It was well-organised, well-structured and well thought out. The online phase was very useful and exciting. The actual block seminar was even more exciting and informative.

    participant, winter semester 2014

  • Finally something practical! I have learnt a lot, discussed a lot. There were a lot of new incentives.

    participant, winter semester 2014