5 Months In Belgium

Why I haven’t been writing here in some time:

Hello everyone.

Something really bad happened me, something that I didn’t even know to expect and now I’m trying to get myself back together.
The thing that happened is too personal to discuss here, but I wanted you to know that it has affected everything I have been capable of doing: My school, my free time, home works, music – and so on. At this moment I am trying to see the light in the end but it is really hard.

Good thing is that I will be going to Finland back tomorrow to hopefully turn things better within time. I still hope to get my credits and everything done in time because otherwise I will be in deep trouble with bank and student loan and Erasmus funding as well.

I will come back to Belgium for 3 days to do the exams. Until then I will be back in Finland trying to get better.

Love you all, take care
Rudolf

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About eating and about Gym: Depressed?!?!

I committed a tryout in my gym, Jimm’s here in Kortrijk:
About twenty minutes before I started to work out, I purchased and ate about 1000 calories or more. One energy drink 0,5 liters, one bad of vine gums, and Jaffa cookies.  Why did I do it? Because I was pissed. And I wanted to see, how much will this affect on my workout.

in the mornings I have been getting up exceptionally late and started to skip classes, my motivation has been going downhill steadily, and I have been longing more and more back to my country.  This has been affecting on my diet as well.  About two weeks before this I would every morning eat either porridge with milk or kwark, and banana, and in the school bread, after that tortillas, and after that, more kwark. I have been going to the gym like 3 or 4 days a week because I have needed something to fill my head with.  I dropped my fat percentage and my abs showed up more, but then I decided to go out once with my friends here. I usually skip it because I do not have particularly a lot of money, or interest of getting fat and loosing all the gains. I drank about 6 ciders and on the next day everything I worked for was gone.

Bro Science says that one night of drinking can send your progress back about 2 weeks that you’ve gained in the gym. That really hit me hard and affected on the way I got sad and depressed because here I don’t have too many ways to implement myself and do what I love – except for working for my body. It has been the only thing I have been developing with a success, and the only visible results I’ve ever gotten. All of these things I would love to do – I don’t have patience for them nor possibilities.
I love to sing, dance, fool around and play drums, but here none of that is possible. I don’t have my of space, I don’t have my privacy, my freedom that usually encourages me to work better. I feel a lot of negative feelings and am more down than up – and this is unlikely to me.

Now I have been considering getting back eating more food I consider to be unhealthy for me, because this healthy eating has been keeping me sick for 6 days straight, and hasn’t been getting any better.  Maybe it’s just the lack of food that has an effect on me?


Traveling in Erasmus – Italy Pt. 2.

On second day we traveled to the city Vienna, and there observed many tourist attractions as well.
All the bigger places that were the mos famous like the House of Romeo and Julia and he great Athena had a ticket sales, but because we were there on Sunday, everything cost only one euro instead of the regular six. Talk about luck, eh?

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During the whole time we spent in Italy, it rained and there was no sunshine, and the moment that we got ourselves to the airport, the sunlight came back.

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Traveling in Erasmus

Hola!

My trip to Italy went…Well, different.

I’ll start the story: There were two blond-dyed Polish girls reserving the hostels and working as my guides through my trip, and their level of English was.. well, about lower than the level of native five-year old.

The first surprises came when we got to the Italy, that we needed to travel five hours to get to our accommodation, and we we got there:
*it wasn’t a hostel, it was a camping site
*the toilets and showers were outdoors
*the receptionist seemed to have problem with us, and all of us had to give our ID’s to her during the time of our stay
*our rooms were in caravan, and they’re condition was-wait for it – not planned to use after the summer.
*there was a Wi-Fi, but it cost 5€/24h to use.

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When we had received our ‘room’, I found out that closest city to visit would be Venice, but we could only get there by rift. Luckily the rifts were going for 6 hours still, so we could get to Venice and come back with the last rift.

IN VENICE:

First thing that caught my attention wasn’t the typical scenery, buildings or boats – it was the amount of people trying to sell you all kinds of unnecessary stuff: souvenirs, handbags, umbrellas, green flashing led lights and so on. You couldn’t move forward without seeing at least one in every street ahead. All doing the same shouts and trying to get people to talk to them and then to seduce them to use their money on their equipments.

One particularly lovely place we discovered was in the core of Venice  – an old style fashioned take away pizzeria. I took one big pizza 12€ half with my friend, and we both got ourselves full. I really enjoyed that.

After spending a lot of time in Venice and heading back to our accommodation, we went to sleep and on the next day, continued our trip to other city! I shall tell you more about that on the next post.

Tot Ziens!

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Traveling all around

Hey you!

I started to make the most of my student loan so I have been traveling more – and I have to say, that is one good thing about Belgium, that it is in the middle of Europe. The prices aren’t too high to go with a plane or with a train.

I just came from the Nederlands where I was saying hello to my other Finnish and Russian Erasmus students, and I have to say – Nederlands is a way better place to be, at least from the two days that I was there.

For the beginning, there_was_cider.

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For a guy like me, that is an advantage, that Belgium just does not have. I am already getting tired of hearing how much the local Belgian’s own wannabe cherry flavored beer ‘Kriek’ is only for pussies and for girls, and let me tell you something. I_hate_beer. It makes you fat, tastes awful, and one more thing about it that everyone I know tells me all the time; “it’s bad in the beginning, but you just have to get used to it” – WHY should I get ‘used to’ something that I do not like in the beginning that does not have any advantages that I could enjoy? At latest I want to be known as ‘that beer drinking guy’.

Second thing that I liked was that people in Breda where I was had different styles and more diversity amongst them. I didn’t feel like an alien with my beard, moustache and long hair – I felt normal as I have in Finland.
In Kotrjik, people do not have any facial hair and dying your hair is unusual for a guy, having a long hair and such is something that the locals aren’t just used to see in their daily life.

Then we come to the overall feel and the more European atmosphere in Breda. The prices in food were about the same but eating in a restaurant  was cheaper, as in was eating in fast food places. What I consulted my friend, he told that the people are usually more open and have good manners, and that he feels a lot better living in there, than he was when living in Finland.

After coming from the Breda, I came back to my apartment, slept one night and now I’m ready to go to the Italy – going there and back by the plane costs me 35€ altogether, so I am really curious to see, how will I like it!

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For a new beginning

I’ve gotten a tad better now and decided that I just have to take what’s coming. I’ve counted so far that my time here is at its maximum, twelve weeks and I can do this.
My school is still hard and very demanding especially when compared to other countries, example in Holland one of my friends only has school once or twice a week, and most of his time goes by taking things easy and experiencing the culture and the country.

Oh! About last time: Our land lord came and called in for a meeting to all of us. We went there on a chosen day, and he brought the kitchen table full of beers and sparkling wine. He came in with his partner in associate and wife and two daughters, and said that he believes that we got a tad bad start in the beginning, and that he wishes for us to have a fresh start now. He offered everyone a drink and said that he wants to believe that things will go better from now on, and promised that all of us will have a toast with him again, and that he wants to know more about us and about our culture. I felt really confused about thins sort of behavior – rewarding people who wronged against him and his property, but he told to me that Finns and Scandinavian people take things too seriously.
Now that the people got a new beginning, they have been continuing the every night party, but they cut it more quick and are more sensitive about letting too much noise out – after 23. 00 – that is.

So, it’s a new beginning now. We’ll see how long it will last!

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Things are going to hell

My accommodation has taken a turn for the worse, and I just sent a letter to my school’s responsible personnel about my situation:

Dear Mr xxxxx,
I feel strongly, that all of these police interruptions and people breaking objects and causing noise and havoc all the time, and extra trouble to the landlord, are making living here very, very hard for me, and not only for me, but for other inhabitants as well. I am a person who does not drink too often, I like to be on my own, and I actually came here to Belgium and to Vives, to study as my first qualification when choosing a place. This amount of havoc that happens here in the ‘terrorist dormitory’ is a lot to stand for. Even though I am only 25, I am starting to feel very old compared to other inhabitants who like to party and to cause a lot of noise every night.

When would you have the time to have a chat with me about living conditions in the xxxxx xx?
Kind Regards, Rudolf

So here’s the situation and things that happened just during one night and morning;

Police came second time yesterday because people were partying too much, and breaking objects.
They told that people in other houses have given so many complains, that they will put an end to all of this, and that this party is finally over. (I was happy, because I have only wanted to be in my room in peace and quiet. To live and sleep well.)  When police left, some people got mad and took food, chicken eggs and glass they could find, and  threw everything on the ground. Now the floor was covered with everything.

Then the morning arose, and the policemen walked into our apartments and started to shout in Dutch and told that they have put police patrol, everyone out- and if they will hear something, they are going to give everyone a fine or several hundred euros. While the policemen were keeping their lecture, the landlord came in and saw the policemen AND the floor covered with eggs and glass and dirt. The landlord lost his mind and shouted that he’s going to make everyone homeless AND expelled from the school, if this continues, and that they have to clean everything right away.

I really want to stress that I have no part at this.  I’m just so tired of this because I enjoy peace and solitude. These people here however party every night. I have gotten a two nights of decent amount of sleep for the whole time that I have been here.

I really hope that My school’s responsible will take care of things, but I doubt it greatly.

This morning  someone broke our kitchen’s window, and now cold breeze is blowing everywhere.

I just want a way out.

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Problems with accommodation.

I made a letter to my school’s teacher, and call to my landlord tomorrow. I want to show you the letter that I wrote, and that I really want this thing to end.
Besides this problem, I have had decent time in here, although I really want to highlight one thing: NEVER SIGN IN FOR SCHOOL’S DORMITORY. You will not get to live like human should, and you will feel like you have lesser rights, and things are NOT done in time, nor it feels like you are taken seriously – more like you are student who is less important than adults, and your problems mean less because you are foreigner.

“Problem with room; MOLD ON MATTRESS!

Dear Mr. XXXXX, I would like to make a complaint about my room because it has a mold problem. I have informed this issue to you before as well, and even though you contacted the landlord about this issue and he promised to do something about it, he never did anything about it.

I have been living more than one month here, and I’m constantly sneezing, my eyes are hurting and my throat is sore – these are allergic reactions.
Yesterday I wanted to check my mattress’s condition – and I was shocked. It is full of mold from the backside, and the topside too.

I will contact the landlord on Monday because I heard that he doesn’t answer his phone on Sundays, but to me this problem with mold is a serious health concern because I am allergic to it. I do not wish to get my condition any worse, or have developed asthma during my exchange time, so please help me out with this issue, like the contract states as well.

I added some pictures about the condition of my room as well, so that you will have some proof that my room is not just in ‘okay’ condition. I want to state as well, that these issues have been existing from the beginning.

Thank you in advance for taking this issue seriously. Other than my room, I have been enjoying your lovely school with pleasure.

Kind Regards, Rudolf Westerholm, Finland, Hantal.”

I hope that they truly do something about this. Otherwise I will contact some health department authorities, or my own school because this_is_ridiculous.


Introduction to student life, prices and accommodation in Belgium

Considering going exchange to Belgium?

First, watch this video: It explains about Belgium’s political situation. Since you are going to be
here, it’s really important to see and to understand why things are so confusing and weird in here.

Then, to know more about the promotional side of Belgium, I suggest to watch this video. After that I’m going to speak and explain about few things that matter when living here.

The School’s former name is Katho but now it’s called Vives because of changes in the schooling system. One thing that makes applying to schools possible, is the fact that Erasmus changes the schools and contracts all the time. All the possible schools and countries you’ve thinked about visiting, will change. Only the certain countries are staying the same.

If you will have same countries, the selection should be picked from International business side, or any possible side that has similar courses that you can get credits for. In the end, that’s all that matters. 30 credits.

The school I’m in offers same sort of courses that are with my learning agreement, but I have to remake the learning agreement here. Time passes by and courses and their teachers change, so it doesn’t really matter what you are choosing in your own country. Most of the things you want to do, are things that people do not help you with because they don’t know either.

In the selection of dorms there were two different options where to choose from: The ones that the school owns, or the private ones. Now that I’ve been living in the one that school owns, I really would recommend a private one. Here you surely get to know people from different cultures and make friends faster – but you will not have privacy or peace for a moment. Yesterday about 04.00 in the morning couple of students decided to wake everyone in the dorm up by pressing a fire alarm because they thought that it was a time to party.

The apartments that school owns are maintained poorly, they don’t have a lot of even basic equipments that you would require, and for example in my room I have or have had a problem with a water leakage which you can see by just watching the floor, roof or ceilings corners. There are big mosqitoes and spiders and the internet works very poorly because it is shared between 20 people. If someone will download something – a movie example, you will loose all the connection you had for that time. It really, really sucks.

At first I thought that moving within Belgium would be easy and cheap, and that sort of is correct. if You purchase GoPass for 50€, you get a ten trips in everywhere inside Belgium in one direction, so the cost for example to the capital and back costs you only 10€, where without the GoPass it would cost you 9 to 18 € per direction. (the prices tend to differ a lot.) Other costs that you have here come from apartment (260-360€/month, depends on what you’re looking for), food (the products that we’ve gotten used to are bit more expensive than in Finland and healthy food is hard to find), and the alcohol (by its cheapest form, a beer costs like 0,30€ a can.)

When in whatever city you are in, you really should lend a bicycle. It costs you 40€ deposit fee, and you will, as well, choose whether you want to take the insurance for 20€ if your bike gets damaged or stolen. You still need to pay for it, but less than without the insurance. The bike rental is 5€ for a month. I have been happy with it even though I don’t have the insurance.

Because Belgium is mostly bi-lingual, the most of the people, even some older ones can speak better English than people in the Finland do. However we have a lot wider vocabulary and grammar than locals, and you can hear it whether you are listening to people from the street, your dormitory or your teachers.

Some people only speak french but they are quite rare here in West Vlaanderen where I’m in, because this is a Dutch speaking side of the Belgium.

I am currently studying in Kortrijk, and it is a small town with a lot of immigrants. I think that there are more immigrants here than original inhabitants, and one reason to that is that Belgium is in the middle of everything. Mostly in this area there are students, African and Arabs and it is not uncommon to see Arabic signs out when you’re walking.

Overall, it seems like a nice place but I’m not sure whether I’d enjoy my time more somewhere else. Somewhere more advanced and cleaner. Like in Singapore or Japan for exhange. Then again, after this my home country must feel like the cradle of education and technology. 😀


This is from our trip in Brugg. That was a beautiful, but a very small city as well.

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Thougts of the lazy student

I am very happy and am smiling still when I’m writing this. I get happy for small things and notifications in life and thoughts of people who care for me and think about me.  But this time I became happy because of many things.

I have had it a hard in this country. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly because the food that I’ve been able to eat has mostly been unhealthy for me such as chocolate milk, chocolate bars, white bread and a_lot_of freezer pizzas, and my sleeping habits – well, the heating system doesn’t work on daytime, and on night time it was 35 Degrees in my room, which, to a Finn resembles being in HELL. My room is full of mosquitoes as well to worse the situation. Even worse is, that they carry different bacteria than in Finland, so I’m getting a big allergic reactions. rash all over the bites and areas that are swollen and red.

Even though my Dutch course has taken a turn for the worse (I spoke with the teacher today and He is clueless what to do with me because I simply can’t seem to get on the same level as all the others) and I’ve failed so far two exams already, I believe that things will turn better if I just try my best, and I believe that all the hardships come in cycles and after those life will eventually set things straight again.

I have to take better care of myself. Eat better food. Sleep well and be active in school I thought myself- so I went to see this really amazing Dutch supermarket which served all my needs: The prize, the products and the quality.  I purchased healthier food, I will go to the gym and use my time more wisely.

After just three days of realizing this, my Dutch course test results are getting better because I try harder, my body is starting to resemble more like mine again instead of a swollen tourist – and I feel more confident because I am putting more effort into myself and things I need to put effort into. Instead of just getting depressed and going to a shelter – I am healing myself mentally and physically.

I used to think that I have a concentration skill problem that can be helped only with drugs, but now I’m starting to think that I have been lazy all along and never really pushed myself to commit things I like thoroughly.  I don’t know the straight line in things yet, because I have only just started to understand how immature I have been. How easy it is to just live and go by without ever aiming or actually trying anything because I have had fear that WHAT IF I CAN’T MAKE IT?

Now I’m starting to faintly for the first time feel that maybe…just maybe I can. It is but a faint feeling but it’s gaining hope for the first time in ages. This Erasmus exchange might very well be one of the best things in my life that will strenghten me, and give me a second change in study/school life.

Tot Ziens!

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