Tag Archives: Belgium

Waffels with sandstorms

Greetings from Belgium

When I was in Belgium or in other countries during my Erasmus, people kept asking why I chose Belgium. I think that most of time I had different answer for everyone, but nro 1 answer were that I wanted to get to know what kind of country is the capital country of EU. Also Belgium was a sole country which I hadn’t clue about at all, what kind of people there lives, what they usually eat etc.

After a few weeks I noticed that Belgium doesn’t different too much from Finland. Inhabitants looks little bit like Finns and both are really shy with meeting new people. My university is called Hogeschool VIVES Oostende and there is only students which study sciences and technology like electricians like me. Teaching methods in Belgium were so similar to Finland that sometimes I felt like I am in Finland except teaching was conducted in English.

Traditional foods in Belgium are waffles, beers, mussels and French fries. You can really find fries joint at almost in every corner in the big cities. Fries, fries and fries everywhere, I don’t really know could I eat them anymore. Waffles were really cheap and tasty and must to have if you like sweets like that. My favorite was waffle with strawberries and chocolate.

After all Belgium was good country to live, because price level in markets wasn’t too high and travelling possibilities were way too good when comparing to Finland. Weather in Belgium is really something what you can’t prepare in advance, because it changes like every 15 min and at near coast line wind is really strong. Sandstorms at Oostende is almost everyday thing.

Groeten van Mechelen

Hello from Belgium! I’ve been living here for four months now and I only have a few days left. Mechelen is a quite small city 15 minutes away from Brussels and Antwerp, and I’ve really enjoyed living here, although the Dutch language is not really my favorite.

brussels

Grote Markt Brussels

I’m studying in Thomas More Mechelen in business department and my courses have been about HR and management. Studying in Belgium is not that different from Finland and people in Flanders (the flemish speaking area) speak very good English.

These months have been full of experiences and I have grown and became even more independent, since living alone abroad is definitely not as easy and pleasant as you would think. Belgium is even more bureaucratic country than Finland, and even all the simple things are made difficult. Also the bomb threats and terrorist attacks close to where I live and soldiers guarding in everywhere have made my exchange somewhat interesting and not in a good way. Mostly all the experiences have been positive though. I’ve had a chance to travel a lot around the Europe, I’ve met so many amazing people from different countries and made friends for life.

Going to an exchange was the best decision of my life, and now I will enjoy my last days before heading back home.

Coucou, tout le monde!

 

20160403_154834

20160415_181433

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.

Emma

Life in Brygge, Belgium

Greetings from Brugge!

I have been studying in Brugge, Belgium now three months and I have only 7 weeks to go. In Finland I study hospitality management and here in Brugge I am joining the business class. I have learned something about different leadership styles, international strategic management, intercultural awareness and comparative constitutional law for example.

Not all the courses here are actually my piece of cake or cup of tea but at least I have had a chance to learn some new skills what I can not learn in Finland. Studying seems to be a bit harder here than in my home university college in Finland sometimes. The most important things I have learned are the differences between the cultures. Especially the differences in communication. People from Finland are mostly direct with what we say and that might be shocking for somebody from the southern Europe. That is something you can not learn in your  home university. My eyes has opened by many new things.

What are the things I like the most during my exchange in Belgium?  Obviously I have enjoyed the things Belgium is famous about, like all the nice beers, the chocolates and the waffels. Belgium is a small country and the distances are short, so it is easy to travel to other cities and to see new places.  Brugge is a romantic small city and the coast is only 20 km far from my city.  But for me the best thing in Belgium is the perfect location in the Europe. I love travelling and it has been so much easier and cheaper to take a flight from Brussels than from Helsinki to other cities in the Europe. I visited already Copenhagen, London, Luxemburg, Paris and Berlin. I still have a bit time left and a few euros in my wallet so maybe I still have a chance to see some places I have never seen.

-Niina

12899604_10209087130603731_617394832_o (2)

Postcard from Oostende

Hello from windy Oostende!

When I first came to Oostende, I liked because its small and next to the coast. There are not so many students so its just you and local peoples. Studying is really independent in here which is actually refreshing. I have finnish roommate and we are only finnish students here. Next city is Brugge, where is couple finnish students. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Belgium location is very good for traveling. Sometimes traveling is cheap, sometimes not. We are in flanders area (Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium) so locals don’t usually speak good english.

Couple things what is must to see in Belgium; Tyne Cot commonwealth war graves cemetery, Atlantic wall museum, Brugge and Brussels europarlament.

Tyne cot 1atlantic wall

brussels europarlament2

Bruges – The Venice of the North

Greetings from Belgium! I have already spend two months in this beautiful city called Bruges. Bruges is located in West-Flanders in Belgium and it is approximately same size as Tampere. The city is known for its medieval architecture and canals, that pass through the city. Who wouldn’t enjoy spending time in this kind of scenery?SAM_4124IMG_20160227_131337IMG_20160130_174038Everything has gone well in school as well. In Bruges I study International business management in Howest University of applied sciences. I have taken four different modules that all consist two courses, but the courses that I have found most interesting have been innovation management and courses related to social media marketing. Like in TAMK, we also have a lot of group assignment in the lessons here. What I like about the lessons is that there is also local students attending the same lessons, so we are not all the time with only international students.

Another good thing about school here is that we have a lot of free time. We just had two weeks long Easter holiday, so I had time to do what I enjoy most; Travel. I have been traveling inside the Belgium. I have visited in Oostende, Ghent, Brussel and Antwerp. In addition, I have had time to travel some other countries in Europe. Cities I have visited so far are Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Paris, Madrid and Zürich. I still hope I have time to travel few other places before coming back to Finland.

IMG_20160327_130151 IMG_20160313_160412

SAM_4241

All in all, I have enjoyed my exchange period so far. I have got so many friends all over the world and learn so much about different cultures!

Greeting from the city of four towers

IMAG0515 IMAG0517Hello everyone! Here in Ghent everything is pretty much in order. Days go by quickly. For my first three weeks, I have been working in the university hospital with brain lesion patients. Physical therapy here is arranged a bit differently than in Finland. All patients and therapists (at least in my department) are in the same big room. Hospitals facilities and equipment are more than I can imagine.
My free time is mostly spent working with my thesis and other school work. I´ve still had some time to go out with other erasmus students here. I have to say, the beer is pretty good here. A week ago we made a weekend trip to Paris and I´ve made plans to travel to Netherlands in a couple of weeks. I don´t think I have much more to say. I hope everyone is doing ok. See you in June!

Best regards,

Taneli Rimpiläinen

Hoi! How to survive in the dutch part of Belgium!

I arrive in Brussels more or less a month ago ready to start my erasmus exchange in Genk. I visited Brussels two years ago for the first time and got enchanted by the beautiful architecture, the food and the friendly Belgians!

The Grote Markt in Brussels
The Grote Markt Grand Plaza in Brussels

My exchange program is based on Media and Communication subjects including as well studies in Game interfaces and Play mobile. Last week we had a game day in Brussels, we got to play what they called a social interactive urban game in the city center.

The game is based on the story of Freddy, who is a happy gnome that lives in Brussels. He will bring you to the most exciting places around the city where you have to complete quests and challenges in order to get points. So as a newcomer you get a cellphone with a gps and a map, you have to find the locations within the time limit and shoot your opponents!

Our team photo!
Our team photo!
Our gift to the Gnome. (tiny shoes)
Our gift to the Gnome. (tiny shoes)
Play Mobile group from Luca school of arts
Play Mobile group from Luca school of arts

 

Location in Belgium
Location in Belgium

Genk is the city where my school is located.  It is an hour away from Brussels but really close to the border with Netherlands, which makes it accesible for travelling between the countries.

 

 

 

Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

Train ride view
Train ride view

Genk was known for it’s mines 40 years ago, but then they closed and the city had to changed their most known landmark. My campus is located in one of the mine areas, and to this day you can still see the enormous mine towers that use to be active during the mining work.

C-mine Campus
C-mine Campus
View from the inside of C-mine.
View from the inside of C-mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belgium is known also because of the good beers, waffles and fries! And there’s no lie in the rumours, that is all truth! Here is the proof!

Just another waffle
Just another waffle

The Heart of Europe

It was a dark and rainy night when I arrived in Brussels. Journey from the airport to my to-be apartment was somewhat an adventure itself since navigation in an unfamiliar city was rather challenging. Also I didn’t know that my apartment would be in the middle of Turkish/Moroccan neighbourhood which btw. offered some great ethnic food stores!

At first, Brussels might seem a bit grey all business type of a city, but when you roam around and take a few alleyways (or just simply get lost), you can really feel the diversity and strong subcultures of the city! Personally I happen to love going to “underground” places and seeing life beyond the facade.

Graffiti in the centre of Brussels

The School and especially schoolmates have been awesome too! I found out that I’m not going to attend a lot of lectures and “basic school”, but instead I’m going to do a lot of projects! I was super excited, because I love film making and I think that’s the best way of learning about culture and Belgian way of film making. Even though I’m the only exchange student in the whole building (the film and television unit is separated from the main campus) I haven’t felt lonely. I’ve made a lot of friends and hope that they will last even after my exchange 🙂

 

 

 

Greetings from Antwerp!

Greetings from Antwerp, Belgium!

Already four months in this diverse Flemish city have passed. Time flies when you spend your days studying, travelling, drinking beer, eating fries and chocolate and exploring this beautiful port city with new friends.

IMG_2941

Antwerp is the second biggest city in Belgium and is located on the river Scheldt.  With the population over 500 000 inhabitants and over 170 different nationalities, Antwerp is truly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

Since Antwerp is the city with most pubs/ bars per inhabitant, you can never get thirsty in here. Pubs selling excellent Belgian beers are in every street corner. And so are Frituurs, typical restaurants selling Fries with mayonnaise and all other delicious sauces I just have to try!

IMG_3085

 

 

Besides good beers and food, Belgium is also a nice country because of its central location within Europe. So far I have traveled to the Netherlands, Italy and Spain besides traveling inside Belgium. During my last month I’m still going to see Germany, Luxembourg and England.

IMG_5474

 

Since the rainy and windy Antwerp weather is finally turning into summer, I’m going to enjoy my last weeks here by chilling and spending a lot of time outside with friends.