I have only been here a week and I already feel exhausted- they say New York never sleeps, but apparently neither do study abroad students. I got in early last Sunday morning and we had 3 days of orientation before moving into our housing for the semester. In those three days we went on 3 walking tours, had Dutch and French lessons, went out to dinner every night, had information sessions on phones and public transit and history and culture. Finally we had orientation to our host institution (Vesalius College) and then a weekend break and classes began!
I moved in with my host family on Wednesday and it is going really well! I live with a woman, Judith, and her two daughters who are 12 (Valentine) and 9 (Angelique) and her boyfriend, Aldo. They all speak French at home and so far I am doing decently with understanding but I can for sure understand a lot more than I can speak. But there’s no better way to improve a language than to practice!
Today is only the second full day of classes but I think I will be taking Introduction to Dutch, Mergers & Acquisitions and a Belgian history/culture class we are required to take with the study abroad program I am on. The Mergers & Acquisitions class doesn’t start until next week and it is actually on the Boston University campus that they have in Brussels, so that will be another great way to get around and see the city! I am also doing an internship at Aspect Consulting (http://www.aspectconsulting.eu/) which I am really excited about! I will be working just under 20 hours a week, and I will begin next Monday- I am super anxious for it. The office is in what my friends and I call “Chocolate Square,” where all the ritzy chocolate shops are and in a really cute area for shopping and antiques- totally ideal for taking walks around on break or meeting people after work!
This weekend a small group of us plan on going to Antwerp (where there is 1 of 3 Starbucks in the country- the other two are inside the national airport terminals). It’s only 7.50 euro for a round trip and we want to hit the shopping capital before the sales end; in Belgium stores are only allowed to have sales in January and July to protect smaller businesses, so for me that simply means better to do the majority of my shopping now!
Brussels and Belgium definitely have their quirks (like having no government, for example), but so far I’m really enjoying getting to know the city and everyone who calls it home.
Au revoir/ Dag!