A Student’s Experience: Studying in Belgium as An Exchange Student
Hanna Lee, one of our BBA students studying at our partner University, Thomas More University College in Belgium shares with us her experience of being an exchange student in Belgium.
“I’m Hanna Lee and I am now living in Belgium as an exchange student. I’m currently studying at the Thomas More College University located in the city of Mechelen, Belgium. I arrived in Belgium in the middle of February and started my school without any trouble, making new friends, adapting to the new environment and having fun. I am glad that I get to share a little bit of my life with you. I will introduce you to Mechelen, the city where I live, school life, and finally, travel experiences in Europe.
Firstly, Thomas More College University is a large university with several campuses in Belgium, depending on your major. I am a student at the Mechelen campus specializing in Management because I major in Business. Mechelen is located about 30 minutes by train north from Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Because people living in the upper provinces speak Dutch, everyone residing in Mechelen uses Dutch as well. However, in school, there are so many classes in English and also Dutch. Therefore, there’s no difficulty in understanding the lessons.
Mechelen is located between Brussels and Antwerp the second largest city in Belgium. Mechelen is a pretty city with everything you need, including restaurants, cafes and shopping centers near the school. Also, when you need to go to another country and go to the airport, there are many trains every 30 minutes from Mechelen to Zaventem Airport, which is only 10 minutes away by train!
As for the school life, for the first time as a Korean, I am very satisfied that I am an exchange student here. I have never met any Korean in the school or even this city, and it is an extraordinary experience to live in a small European town as the only person from Korea. In fact, Koreans can easily meet wherever they go nowadays (in fact, if you go to Brussels, Koreans will sit next to you at the cafe). However, since I am the only Korean, when I sit in class, I can easily make friends, especially with K-pop or Korean drama enthusiasts. In the beginning, I was worried about coming here alone, but not anymore.
Next, I would like to introduce my personal friends. Gini, who had a student exchange in high school in Korea for one semester; she helped me adjust to Thomas Moore smoothly. I have also developed friendships with Gini’s friends; doing various activities together including snowboarding, and eating delicious food. I have met a good friend Onus who was interested in learning Korean, so we started a language exchange session every Tuesday. The students are very friendly; this has given me an opportunity to network and build friendships in an unfamiliar environment.
Finally, Belgium is geographically located in the center of Western Europe. It is very convenient to travel to other European countries. To nearby places such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Luxembourg, I can go by train or bus, besides I can short distances on low-cost airlines. Since Belgium is a small country, you can travel to the famous cities in Belgium with 1-2 hours by train making it perfect for weekend travels.
I am delighted with my exchange experience which I attribute to the influence of the friendships I have made. Also, I very much value the opportunity to be in school as the only Korean in a foreign city. If you would like to have an experience like this, I would recommend Thomas More College University.”