Summer at KU Leuven for Research Past Review

By (Physics, Stevens Institute of Technology) - abroad from 05/25/2015 to 08/01/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had the chance to go to Belgium and explore all of Western Europe entirely on my own. I hiked near the Matterhorn, tried the Belgian Ales and chocolates, touched the Berlin Wall, and more. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I also had the chance to work in a top-notch laboratory and get critical experience for graduate studies next year.

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.

I did research, which had the perfect amount of involvement. More than enough to keep me busy but not so much that I was overwhelmed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

No complaints at all, they were extremely helpful and ready to assist me with anything that I needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing itself was great- but I had to find it entirely on my own. Knowing where I was living before I left would have been a bit better.

* Food:

I cooked for myself, no complaints. I actually prefer that to a dining hall anyway.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was entirely alone. My choice was either to integrate or be alone for two months, so I was forced to go out and be a part of the community, which was great for me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt safer in Leuven than I do in Hoboken, my home city during the year.

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 went to the supermarket which was fairly cheap.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $400
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use the supermarkets! Also, certain banks don't charge foreign transaction fees, like TD.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • Other
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?
  • Freedom
  • Independence
  • Research
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Contacts in Belgium
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The language in my region of Belgium was Dutch/Flemmish, not French. It didn't end up being a huge deal. I also would have liked to know more about the specific rail and air travel plans, although that was simply a lack of planning on my part.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.