Oh Antwerp, you son of a gun. What can I say, I loved my time there.
Antwerp is a city in northern Belgium. A local proverb states “Antwerp is the city and the rest is parking”. Apparently the rest of Belgium isn’t too happy about that, but as a fresh citizen of Antwerp that sounded promising. It’s a city of diamonds, fashion and is home to one of the biggest ports in the world. You could definitely see this walking down the street or next to the river, but as the most usual destination was a terrace of some bar, me and some of my exchange buddies missed a few cultural aspects due to tunnel vision.
I chose Antwerp since they offered a comprehensive marketing-central course load, and while I was optimistic about my studies, the courses in digital-, content-, and data-driven marketing exceeded my expectations. I felt that I achieved a comprehensive understanding of marketing in the modern digital space, although I had already completed all my marketing studies in TAMK. Big up for the marketing studies offered at the Artesis Plantijn University College of Antwerp.
Apart from the studies there’s a lot to do. The city is booming every weekend and there’s a lot of events during the week held by student organisations or other entities. There’s a lot of culture to see if you happen to be a fan of the arts; and if you’re not, there’s a lot of beer to drink, since Belgium has one of the most prominent beer cultures in the world. Belgium itself is a relatively small country so you can see most of what it has to offer by buying a train pass for around 55€, with which you get ten domestic train rides.
There wasn’t a significant difference as to how studying / working is in Belgium in relation to Finland. The Flemish people are pretty similar to Finnish people in a lot of ways.
If you go to Antwerp on exchange, here’s a list of tips:
The ESN Membership is probably not that worthwhile to get.
Do NOT take the European Project option (EPS). People who had it were pulling their hair out for 5 months.
If you want to travel in Belgium, do it rathersooner than later. I only really saw three cities during my time there. Oops.
Bolleke & Triple D’Anvers (made by De Koninck) are local beers specific to Antwerp. At least try them.
The beer is stronger in Belgium and you usually can’t tell that by taste. It will get you by surprise.
Stay clear of a bar called “De Prof”. Or don’t if you’re curious, but you’ll agree eventually.
Most exchange students I got to know during that five months really came to like Antwerp and its atmosphere. Go out, go to events and activities even though you might not feel like going, it’ll all be worth it at the end of the day. Five months is a short time, but I’m happy to have spent it in Antwerp.
My friend sporting a Triple D’Anvers on a chill street in Antwerp