Brussels: The Capital of Europe Past Review

By (International Relations, Chinese Studies, Austin College) - abroad from 01/15/2012 to 05/18/2012 with

Vesalius College: Brussels - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I grew a lot as a person. I certainly had a lot of independence and improved on my time management and responsibility.

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.

Classes met one to two times per week for relatively long time periods. Tests, assignments, etc were challenging, but compared to AC I still found them easier. I dropped the French language class after the midterm because I found it useless to meet once a week. I wasn't learning anything at all from the class, and felt like it should have met daily like the previous semester's program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* 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? 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 usually spent about one to two hundred euros a week on food. I loved my homestay, but it was rather far out and a public transportation subscription for 50 euros a month was necessary. Once you have everything, costs become lower, but the initial buying school stuff, sim cards and phones, and other personal expenses, the costs are more stable. By eating two meals a day of sandwiches it's possible to eat reasonably, but then one tires of sandwiches very quickly. Belgium has fantastic food, and the cost is worth it, but it is a bit pricey.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? one to two hundred euros depending
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn to like sandwiches or cheap soup for lunch.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? They placed me into intermediate both at AC and the program, though I took 4 years of French previously
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? A homestay family is the best. I dropped French class because it met for 3 hours once a week, which is not helpful. But I spoke French every day with my homestay family and I learned the most that way.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • There was also a lot of personal attention. I was left more to myself though than in China, it was looser in terms of what you could put into it, which I feel let me get more out of it. Brussels was much smaller than Shanghai, and I liked that it wasn't so overwhelming.The program was a lot of work, but it was a good experience. In all, I think the program director herself did make all the difference to the program.
* What could be improved?
  • While Brussels is bilingual, I think that the language courses could be improved and the languages promoted more.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It may have been nice to know that the internship was going to make me so busy. I was constantly busy all semester.