Loved Brussels, Hated the Program January 01, 2019

By (Winona State University) - abroad from 08/20/2018 to 12/16/2018 with

CIEE: Brussels - Business, Communications and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I loved studying abroad here. I learned so much and really grew as a person.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses taught at the school are unimpressive to say the least. The coursework is not needed, the tests were more difficult than what I was expecting, and the professors are unhelpful with any questions/concerns. I would not recommend the NATO class to anyone. The professor canceled class for 1.5months without warning and wouldn't reply to anyone's emails. He would only tell one student things through texting her and then the student would inform everyone in the class through Facebook.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

While the administrators are nice, they were difficult to talk to about issues and weren't as responsive as I would have hoped. There were many problems before, during, and after the program and it was difficult to get any answers.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did a shared housing but it was essentially a homestay because I stayed in a man's house with him, his girlfriend, and sometimes his kids.

* Food:

The food and drinks in Belgium are GREAT.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I loved Brussels, Belgium! However, I feel like the program was run poorly and the school was horrible. I think I would choose the same location but a different program.

Finances

* 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 like to go out and do things and so I found it difficult to stick to minimal expenses, especially while traveling.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go grocery shopping for basics and eat that instead of going out. Buy a coffee maker with your roommates and split the cost if where you are living does not have one.

Language

* 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

You did not need to use French or Dutch if you did not sign up for the classes/apply yourself.

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
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Weekend Outings
  • Other Students
  • Brussels
* What could be improved?
  • Communication
  • Vesalius University
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Save more than you think you will need just incase.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'