Belgium: A Lingual and Culinary Education With A Dash of Design Past Review

By (Architecture., Oklahoma State University - Stillwater) for

Université catholique de Louvain: Louvain-La-Neuve - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, I had an amazing time and met such incredible people. The OSU Study Abroad Office was invaluable, and I owe much of my success there to all the people who work there. I couldn't have done it without there support. I learned french, worked in a team with students, and toured parts of Europe that meant a lot to me. I feel that my eyes have been opened to many design styles and architectural possibilities. And better yet, I saw how varied our cultures really are. When you live in America, you are often insulated against contact with the realities of life in other continents, and it's a real wake up when you realize that the democracy in America is not the same as the democracy in another country. I will never forget meeting an Israeli student traveling in Rotterdam, the Australians I met in Utrecht, the parties and public spaces of Brussels, the towering castles in Germany, and the Louvre in Paris. I have made friends for life in the world, and I would never trade that. I am now interested in working in Europe at some point, and I am continuing to study french and including Spanish now as well.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was very little, but there was little to no guidance for most assignments. For architecture students, it is particularly difficult to work in a group setting with little grasp of the language, but everyone was very accommodating. The biggest challenge is the difference in workload. It appears now also that students will be able to study with the other Belgian Universities, so it is possible that students will get a more varied and architectural education. The choices at the school are very limited, and are not on the same track as those at OSU in terms of studio requirements, organization, or skill level.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is helpful, but they have terrible office hours. Anyone who is not good at time management will have problems. They were very accommodating for me when I had trouble getting my visa on time, but it was well managed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It wasn't the most beautiful, but we had a shared kitchen and common room and a separate room each. There were eight students, most Belgian, and we shared dinners and had parties. We also organized events for the campus, and met many other students in Kot-A-Projets.

* Food:

Belgian food is delicious, and having a kitchen means you can make very healthy food and learn new cuisine from your friends!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are many parties, school organized and student organized to meet people. Sadly, the most interesting cultural and social places are in Brussels and other cities, and you have to take a train to get there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city is very safe, but there is limited availability of doctors on site, and if you have a major problem you will have to take a train to get it seen in Brussels. But the school did provide insurance for those who wanted it.

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


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

The foreign language course was very helpful, but I learned the most from living in a Kot-A-Projet. All students going here should live in one!! It's the best for learning a language and for making friends.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Students interested in engineering, french language, business, or marketing would do well here. Architecture students should probably look elsewhere unless they are very interested in engineering.