A unique experience that helped me grow in so many ways Past Review

By (Bethany Lutheran College) - abroad from 08/23/2017 to 12/15/2017 with

Vesalius College: Brussels - Internship

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot more confidence in myself in multiple areas. I gain more confidence in myself in traveling, in being more independent, and in a working environment since I had an internship. I am so glad I decided to study abroad, it was more than worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

For the most part my classes were pretty interesting. One thing I did not enjoy was that a professor assigned us group projects but informed us it was not going to be graded. This made it difficult because then some people decided they had more important homework to work on. Otherwise I thought I learned a lot of very interesting information that I still apply to my life today and believe will be useful in a future job.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It took me awhile to be able to get into contact with anyone from Vesalius because my email must have ended up in their junk mail. After she finally found my email she was very helpful throughout every step. The internship coordinator, and housing coordinator were also very helpful giving me information and even giving me extensions on days certain payments or applications were due. Once I arrived they did not seem to be quite as helpful as they were leading up to me arriving. I was worried about if I needed to register in my commune and I went to the head study abroad coordinator at Vesalius to ask her opinion on what I should do. It was something that was really stressing me out at the time and she did not help me out very much. A couple of my professors were actually able to help me out on the subject instead.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a host family which was really nice. The family was very nice and always tried to help me when they could. The host mom spoke better English but they did their best to communicate with me. Although my host family was awesome part of me feels like the housing coordinator could have someone that fit their wants in a host student and my wants in a host family a little better.

* Food:

My host dad is the one who made all of the meals and the were all very delicious. I enjoyed coming to diner every night to find a new interesting and tasty meal.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I tries my best to make Brussel my home and I felt like for the most part it truly was. As I was taking a French class I did not feel like my communication skills were as good as they should have been. I has an internship while there which I felt really helped integrate me and helped me see Brussels from a unique perspective. Most host family also helped in integrating me into the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Likely I stayed very healthy while abroad but I was nervous something would happen to me because I was not sure how healthcare would work there.

* Safety:

For the most part I felt very safe in Brussels. there were several nights I would have to walk at least 20 minutes to get back to my host family's house and I would not encounter anyone. Just like any big city however I definitely made sure to be aware of my surroundings and keep my valuables safe and protected. During the Christmas markets I know of several people who got their phones stolen so that is just something to be aware of.

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

Even though there were a few things that were frustrating about the program there were a lot of really great things too. My experience abroad shaped who I am today and I would not change it for anything.


* 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)

It definitely depended on the week and if I traveled or not but for the most part I was able to spend a limited amount of food each week. Which was mainly because I lived with a host family who I has breakfast and Diner with pretty much everyday.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50 on maximum on food for a normal week. About $300 whenver I would take a weekend trip to a diffent country.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It is okay to splurge on food but try to do in only in special occasions. When it comes to traveling try to find the cheapest flight through Sky scanner and the cheapest/ nicest hostel on Hostelworld.com! Those places work wonders!


* 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

The class did a good job at teaching us different areas that would help us communicate in a foreign setting. I struggled with the pace of the class. Probably because I was frustrated I was not able to communicate with my host family as much as I wanted to.

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 in French
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? Start studying before you go there even if you plan on taking a language class, it will help a lot!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Their internship program
  • good choice of international business classes
  • The ability to stay wiht a host family
* What could be improved?
  • continued support from facultly throught entire time abroad
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I knew the college would be small but I had not idea it would be as small as it was.

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.'