It has been close to seven weeks since we first arrived on Belgian soil, and a month since the last post in this blog. After the busy and very experience rich first weeks, the life we are living here has become much more casual. The new people we met have become friends, and the new and unknown places have become familiar. Our day-to-day life hasn’t been very stressful since our college isn’t giving us any lectures that we could attend, because of the limited resources and the lack of other English speaking students.
Currently Lauri and i are following just one active course, in which we are working in separate groups that consists of local students. In these groups we are doing our part in writing a report on a building project, in which each group has their own kind of facility to design. This has been a good opportunity to get to know some of the local students, and we have bonded with a few. This also gave us the opportunity to attend local student parties, and therefore meeting more people.
One of the most significant things on this course for now, has been a visit to a big construction company. First we went to see a site, a big warehouse building project of which the company was responsible of. They were finishing the big steel structure installations and were starting to place wall elements. There was also a local television crew filming the presentation of the construction site, even though they said that we might get interviewed, that never happened (Thank god). Then we drove to the construction company’s steel elements manufacturing facility, where were also their offices. Inside the whole group of students was split to two separate groups, one of them would take a tour inside the facility and the other group would stay inside the office premises and have a presentation by one of the senior officers of the company. We didn’t understand anything in both of these presentations obviously since they were held in Dutch, but our teachers were translating it to us. Overall this was a useful day since we got to have a peek at the Belgian industry, but also a long one with little informational value because of the language barrier.
The best part of this for me is still having fun with the other Erasmus students, we’ve been spending some time in Brugge almost every weekend. Going to house parties, to the bars or just hanging out during the day. The fact that most of the people are from different cultures spices things up a bit, and everyone has their own unique cultural personality to bring to the table.
I could hang out there every day since it’s such a pretty little town with a relaxed atmosphere, but the thing that limits it, is the fifteen painful kilometers that separates Oostende and Brugge. Even though the distance is not a long one, it’s always a hassle to get there and back. So to be honest, i think both of us would rather live in Brugge where all the action is. I’ve also gotten very familiar with the guest mattresses and even floors of my fellow Erasmus students because after a night out in Brugge that’s usually the only option besides sleeping on the park bench. For now i have succeeded in avoiding the latter option (The nights here are still pretty freezing).
I would also like to point out the fact that living in central Europe is really a blessing for traveling. For example i just recently returned from a three day long trip on Malta, the flight tickets were under 50€ and it’s relatively easy to get to the Brussels airport. Also many of the major cities like Paris or Amsterdam are just few hour train trip away.
This concludes my post for now, here’s also a few pictures from the past weeks.