An unforgettable experience in the Capital of Europe. Past Review

By (Political Science, Economics, Vesalius College) - abroad from 08/18/2013 to 12/13/2013 with

CIEE: Brussels - Business, Communications and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be more independent and confident in myself than I thought possible. I realized that there is such a big world out there waiting to be further explored. I met people from all walks of life and all over the world. I came to realize that meeting new people is so beneficial to oneself and it's easy to find something in common with anyone.

Review Photos

CIEE: Brussels - Buisness, Communications and Culture Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The professors were all very willing to help. The small class size was beneficial to class discussion and the overall learning process.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The CIEE staff in Brussels were absolutely wonderful! Michelangelo was genuinely interested in ensuring each and every student had the best possible experience. Chloe was so nice and easy to talk to about anything and everything. Yamina was so outgoing and understanding about housing situations. The intern, Kim, was super easy to get along with and bonded with each of us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was in a homestay initially, however found that it wasn't quite what I wanted for the four month stay. The shared housing was perfect! I had my own living space. The house was located in the nicest area of Brussels!

* Food:

I always looked forward to the meals provided by CIEE. They did an excellent job of finding great restaurants with options that anyone could enjoy!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because Vesalius is an international school I didn't feel quite as integrated as I was hoping to. The tandem program put on by CIEE certainly helped.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues that needed to be addressed.

* Safety:

Although I was often catcalled by men in Brussels and throughout Europe, I never felt unsafe in Brussels. In fact, I felt perfectly safe traveling alone at any time of day or night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I tried to get the most out of the experience and travel as much as possible, so my budget was a little higher than necessary. However, even if I had chosen to live more frivolously I would have spent at least $100 per week. The exchange rate makes it a little harder to budget in USD.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $250-300
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Money-saving definitely depends on the kind of experience a student is trying to have. If you have a very tight budget I would suggest cooking at home as much as possible and traveling throughout Belgium on the weekends, rather than other countries. I would suggest bringing a refillable water bottle from home. Water is often very expensive in Europe. I could have saved $50+ had I carried around a water bottle. Also, I recommend checking with your US bank to see if there's a way to avoid ATM fees and international transaction fees. I paid over $100 in ATM and transaction fees.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

It was not a requirement to know a language, so we always communicated in English. The program encouraged learning French by hosting the tandem program.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I recommend taking a year of French or Dutch before attending. Knowing a bit of the language before studying abroad makes it much easier to use it and improve while abroad.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Easy access to other countries
  • CIEE staff
  • The city of Brussels
* What could be improved?
  • Number of classes offered to study abroad students
  • Estimation of money needed for necessities, such as bus pass and books
  • More planned CIEE gatherings (study tables, movie outings, etc.)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had been more prepared with items I packed and more about the city and what exactly to expect.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.