I was first going to study in Sweden. It was very difficult to find housing in Sweden so at the last moment I switched to study in Belgium. I have been visited Bruges before so I know I liked the place a lot. I was really exciting to spend 5 months of studying in the beautiful Bruges.
Xaverianenstraat 10, 8200 Brugge
+32 50 30 51 00
Contact Erasmus office
coordinator internationalisation area Education campus Brugge, Tielt and Torhout
special needs education - education in big cities campus Tielt
VIVES university college Teacher training and education campus Brugge, Tielt and Torhout
Xaverianenstraat 10 B-8000 Brugge , Beernegemstraat 10 B-8700 Tielt and Sint-Jozefstraat 1 B-8820 Torhout
mobile 0032 485 400 119
The university College
Vives is an University College in the city Bruges in West-Flanders. Vives has 13.000 students and 1250 staff members spread over 6 campuses. I already knew the school because of the exchange with Bruges 1 year ago with the KPZ. You can choose between 6 fields of studies. I study teacher training. The school focus on three important things within the school: drive (being the best you), connection (learn from each other, practice), innovation (newest form of education). Vives is an Catholic school. But everyone is allowed to go to the school no matter your religion.
The name of the school, VIVES, referring to Juan Luis VIVES (Valencia, 1492 or 1493 – Bruges, 1540). Vives is considered the largest Spanish scholar of the 16th century and after Erasmus, the main representative of humanism in the Netherlands. Vives especially known as an educational expert. His ideas lay at the basis of modern ideas about education, psychology and pedagogy, he also was an advocate of a united Europe.
So the next step was to arrange my learning agreement. Because I was late in the program because of my switch from Sweden to Belgium I couldn’t choose my own learning agreement. I had to do the courses they gave me.
1. Global issues and focus on Flanders and Europe (5 EC) - make a task every week after the course.
2. Social and intercultural competences (5 EC) – Reflection task about yourself, after every course make a part of your own reflection on yourself.
3. A broad view on education in Flanders and Europe (4 EC) – Group work about special needs children, presentation, individual task.
4. Diversity in/and education (3 EC) – Individual task.
5. Science (3 EC) – Task about growing seeds, presentation STEM activity and research in two pairs.
6. Science research(4 EC) – Research task about STEM activity.
7. English (4 EC) – Presentation, listening task, writing task, speaking task.
Travel: gas (my parents brought me by car so I could bring a lot of stuff, nice!)
House: €2050,- (5 months)
Live/ food/ going out/ having dinner: +/- €400,- (1 month)
Bike: €6,- (1 month)
Trips in Belgium: By train, it is cheaper than the Netherlands.
Review of the school practice.
I didn’t do practice because I liked the idea of ‘studying’ more. I wanted to focus on myself and find out how I could live on my own. I wanted to see how independent I am. During the 5 months I learned that I can perfectly be on my own without parents. I didn’t miss them one second. I loved the time I had for myself and to do whatever I want. Cleaning the house and cooking was also really easy, I thought it would be more work and work I didn’t like.
Review of your stay abroad in academic terms
I wanted to study abroad for a long time. It is the perfect way to find out about yourself. Can I speak good enough English? Can I manage everything on my own? These are all questions before going abroad.
The study in Belgium was easy. I had courses 3 days a week and sometimes 4 and also some weeks with only 1 day course. I feel way more relaxed than in the Netherlands because than I have school all the time and a lot of homework. Understanding English was not difficult for me, also the speaking went well. I wasn’t shy to speak English so I talked with everybody about everything and that’s how a made contact with everybody so fast. The tasks were easy and in the first week I already knew that in the end I would get all the points I needed without stressing. When I look back at the 5 months ‘studying’ it felt like a vacation for me.
Review of the stay abroad in cultural terms
Dutch people are open in the communication, the Belgium people have a more closed personality. I prefer an open communication more. I grew up in an environment where it is very important that you get an high education level, good work, earn enough of money. I experienced that they focus too much on work and money and not focusing enough on doing what you love to do or what makes you happy. Enjoy the life you live now and not starting to enjoy when you are 65+ and done with working. I learned that I want to enjoy life from the moment and do the things that makes me happy instead of looking at a job which earns the most money. People in Belgium are more relaxed and enjoying life a bit more I think. They do everything a bit slower and in the Netherlands the people are more stressed sometimes.
Review of the stay abroad in social terms
Do I make easily contact with others students? Can I live without my parents and friends? Will I miss the Netherlands? Do I like Belgium and the people?
During the 5 months I didn’t miss my friends and family at all. I get in contact with people from Belgium and from my Erasmus class very easy. I had a lot of fun things to do. I loved to have my own room, kitchen and bathroom. I cooked every night so I proved myself that I can take care of myself. I manage my own business and I don’t need anyone from home. I felt so lucky that I had the change to do this Erasmus trip, thanks to my parents! I made Erasmus friends all over the world and I hope I can visit them somedays. I thought this journey will have a lot of ups and downs but I didn’t experience the down moments. It was only ups and happiness all the time. My boyfriend and I broke up during my stay in Belgium after 4,5 years but this gave me a feeling of freedom.
I mentioned some things before of how I experience my stay in Bruges. But overall I loved to stay in Bruges because of the beautiful city with the old houses and the cozy, small feeling you get from the city. I think about leaving the Netherlands after one year of studying and start a life in Bruges and find work in Belgium. Doing the Erasmus journey makes you richer. You learn a lot from other people from other countries. Also you see a lot of differences in education because of all the presentations about everybody’s own hometown and education. After the trip I am more open mined towards other cultures. I am so happy that I started this Erasmus trip. If you have the change, do it! It makes your life richer.
Housing If you are going to Belgium rent a room at Amicorum, werkhuisstraat 7, it provides nice and clean rooms with your own kitchen and bathroom for around €400,-
Bars Drink a beer at Trappiste, Theatre, Poatersgat and then going out in Coulissen.
Restaurants Visit Ribs&Beers you can eat unlimited ribs for €18,- , ChiChi’s Mexican’s.
Trips Visit Blankenbergen beach, Ieper, Bredene beach, Oostende beach, Gent the study city where you can party very well, but also staying in Bruges is nice. Do some historical trips in Bruges and visit the museum Historium.
Social Be open to everybody, talk to people, ask a lot of things, make contact with your classmates, say a lot of yes instead of no, go outside and enjoy!
Thankyou for reading my e-book!
Questions? feel free to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
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