Jussi vaihtoon

Waffles and fries in Antwerp, Belgium

Tag Archives: Karel de Grote-Hogeschool

Language course finished, ready for IBC

I am proud to announce that I received grade A from Dutch course, which is the best possible. I did not really do so much studying at home, since we already had so much to do at school. In fact, the originally four-week course was made in three weeks this year. In my opinion that was a good way to learn a new language, since the atmosphere was all the time so intense and you were all the time in touch with the words and phrases. To sum up, the course was short, heavy, but teachful enough to give some tools for living in a Dutch-speaking city where everybody speaks English. I totally recommend the course for every exchange student.

In addition to the language course, I also attended the course ”Belgian culture and economy” which turned out to be very interesting, but requires too much work on your freetime. We visited interesting places such as the EU headquarters in Brussels and the Port of Antwerp. The big minus from a student point-of-view is that all the visits need to be reported with a 500-word document. There are now 11 reports that I have to write about things we already know, so with my Finnish studying background and culture this feels very furstrating. It feels more like copying a finished book than writing a new one. Anyway I still have time to write those and I’m really looking forward to the beginning of the real spring semester and our Erasmus-tailored International Business Course!

That’s about school for now, let’s move on to the life itself. At first I have to say I miss home more than I could have ever imagined. My family, my friends, my flat, the winter sun.. This is probably something you always feel when you leave home for a longer period, right? My dad has been telling me not to worry, after all it’s just two-hours away from Helsinki airport ūüôā I’m really waiting to get some of my friends to visit me. I’ve also ran out of money so I cannot even travel anywhere. The good thing is that riding my bike is free, so that’s how I like spending my freetime here. I’d also like to share some photography here, greetings from Bruges and the last Dutch lesson!

Bruges

Bruges

De laatste Nederlandse les!

De laatste Nederlandse les!

First week at school

I was standing in the entrance hall of Karel de Grote-Hogeschool on Tuesday. I saw students entering the building. I looked at them and tried to find people like me. Foreign people. People in the corner, alone, also looking for someone. Some of them looked like they would be in this place for the first time, but after a while their friends stepped in from the street and together they walked away. ’Goeiemorgen’ just polishing my assumptions incorrect. It was 10 AM and I was waiting for someone to break the ice – calling for people like me. The exchange students.

Finnish people often tend to lie foreigners about our ability of being always on time. Well, this time the story was actually proven to be true, since the same time I saw my watch taking the last step towards the H-hour, I heard a Finnish guy asking someone next to him if he was about to attend the Dutch language course today. I turned around and saw a bald guy – very Finnish looking guy actually. He introduced himself using the name Mikko. ’A Finnish name’ I thought and decided to move closer. The icebreaker resulted a chain reaction mobilizing the people to leave the corners behind, and suspiciously approach towards the two talking boys. Unfortunately my camera was out of reach, since the approaching students looked quite similar to zombies. Reaching the target slowly, but conscius of having the right direction. Next thing I actually realized was series of handshakes and names everyone knew they wouldn’t remember. Then a man came and took us into a lounge room with free coffee and more students. The first school day was full of new faces with different nationalities and dialects of English. It was no big deal for me, since I’ve already studied almost three years with people from all over the world. The main point was that with these people we would share a semester of our lives. Something we will never forget.

The word to describe the start of our Dutch course is ’explosive’. The first week has been very busy with studying and arranging things. I am very overreactive when it comes to making sure everything goes well, which has had a negative effect on my sleeping during the week. The positive side of our tight schedule is of course the fact that the more we study the more we learn. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have imagined how much one can learn in four days when it comes to Dutch language. Hard work requires of course some celebration, and I guess the whole Erasmus reputation is more or less dominated by this theme. The first party was on the second day of our studies, and after that some of us has been celebrating every day. Even though the beer is very good in Belgium (even the cheapest ones beat the Finnish reindeer pee), I still try to keep my drinking under control. Training on my bike is so solid part of my rituals that since I’ve put a huge effort on getting my dear peace of aluminium here, I try to go ’fietsen’ every time it’s not raining like Amazon. On thursday I took a ride to the Dutch town of Bergen op Zoom. The idea was to follow the same route home, since I didn’t want to get lost in a new territory. All the way to my destination was very enjoyable and especially DRY. Riding home was quite nice too, even though it started raining right after turning back. Tomorrow will be another day for fresh air and rotating legs. Our Dutch teacher is also a cyclist and she told me where to find nice cycling routes around here. I like these people, I like these students, I like the language, I like the beer, I haven’t had any waffles yet but I know they’re good, I don’t like the instant coffee at school but I like the crema from espresso.

Last but not least a photo from a visit to the city hall. This is hospitality, but something that should not be carried out in the presence of Erasmus students.

Antwerp city hall

Antwerp city hall

Arrangements before going

Hello,

As you may have noticed, this is my first post in this blog. I am going to write about how I handled all the necessary arrangements before going the exchange. At first I had some problems with my application, since there was some dilemma with the departments of¬†my university and KdG. You see,¬†in my university Logistics is set to be as part of the¬†Technical department, and in KdG Logistics is under the Business department.¬†My department had an exchange contract with the Technical department of KdG, so there were some misunderstandings about the courses I’m about to have. Fortunately the administration in KdG handled the situation well and¬†sent me an email about my acceptance to the department I applied to, and that an information package has been sent to me by mail.

After receiving the information package,¬†the¬†first¬†task was to find myself a place to stay. I wanted to have a studio, since I’ve got used to live alone aready in Finland.¬†I sent a huge number of applications to different landlords whose contact information was given in the package, but only message I got was that contracts are usually made for one year, not six months, or everything¬†was already booked. Finally I¬†logged in to¬†http://www.studentkotweb.be (password given in the information package). Living in a student room wouldn’t have been a problem for me, but since I finally found a studio from Studentkotweb, I decided to take it.

The information package included a map, some info about studying in Antwerp and of course¬†an arrival document and information about required certificates etc. My flight to Brussels will depart on January 5th, so before that I should have taken care of all the paperwork and arrangements. Last week I filled in all the necessary documents for financial Erasmus support and the student grant from Finnish government. KdG requires a document guaranteeing that my financial support will cover my studies there. I also had to get a third-party insurance (also covering possible health-care). Now I’m just looking forward to leaving Finland. Today it was as cold as -20 celcius here, so I wish my winter here was already over!

Student guide

Student guide