Bonjour, it’s Emma speaking. Physiotherapy student doing a three-month practical training in Brussels. So far, my stay here has been interesting. There have been different kind of moments, very good ones but sadly very bad ones as well. However, altogether I am more than happy to be here right now.
During the past two months, I’ve done two different internships and still have a third one to come. My first internship was in a local universital hospital in cardio-vascular service. I learned a lot of different kind of heart operations and had the opportunity to go follow a heart surgery. That was an experience that I won’t forget. Second internship was in a neurological rehabilitation centre for post-traumatic patients. It is probably the rehabilitation centre where the victims of the terrorist attack in Brussels will go to recover. Rehabilitation was very intense, most of the patients had physiotherapy sessions from two to four times a day. In both internships I’ve got a lot of responsability and worked independently. This was nice, but I would have wanted to get more feedback on my physiotherapy treatments.
Here in Brussels I work in French. I have studied French for a bit more than three years, and my language skills are far from perfect. I struggle a lot, but it’s getting easier all the time. Most of the locals are understanding and can speak a bit slower if needed, or even translate the most difficult words in English. Several locals have told me that compared to France, here it is much easier to learn French, as the locals are used to the multiculturalism and do not judge you for not speaking the language perfectly.
During my spare time I have got to know Brussels, spent time with my international friends, done sports and enjoyed the waffels and speculoos! I’ve also discovered seven other citys and villages in Belgium, the smaller towns are gorgeous. From here it is also very easy and quite affordable to visit almost the whole Europe. I know I will go to Amsterdam, but after this exchange I’ve got some quite big travelling plans outside Europe, so I need to careful not to overspend my money.
For me, Brussels seems safe and peaceful, even after the tragedy on 22th March. That day was devastating, as the attacks occured close to where I live. Few days after the atmosphere in the city was clearly different, sad but also defiant. Belgian flags hung from every other window and people carried on living their normal lives. The local university offered crisis support for those who needed it. The fact that I had already started to feel like home here before the attacks was probably one of the reasons I seemed to recover from the shock so quickly.
All in all, my stay here has been successful. Belgium has impressed me and I certainly will come back one day.