I studied abroad with BCA in Brussels, Belgium in the Spring of 2017 and had an amazing experience. I wanted to share a bit about my experience and give some advice to other students considering studying abroad.
I chose to go to Belgium in order to speak French in a native environment. I had a wonderful host family who agreed to only speak French with me while I was there. This caused me to grow a lot in my ability and in my confidence with the language. Speaking the language opened up many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise, such as going to see a play in French.
Being able to travel to and within Europe gave me some great life experiences, as well. Europe is highly compact with different countries and cultures that are quick, cheap and easy to visit, so I would recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to travel.
Despite Belgium’s size, there are plenty of great things to do there without having to leave the country. Some of my favorites were Gent, the North Sea, the countryside of Wallonia, and of course, Brussels.
My classes were very good as well. Instruction was in English (apart from my French class), and I made friends with students from around the world.
One thing that I really enjoyed about Brussels was the public transportation system. You can get a student subscription to use the trams, metro and buses that will take you anywhere in the city. You can really see another side of Brussels and make memories from that. It took me about 30 minutes to get to school every day, but I really enjoyed being able to read, talk with people, study or even just enjoy the sites and the experience of the ride.
While I was there, we went on a BCA excursion to the North Sea and to Ypres. While we were there, we toured some World War I battlefields and saw how that historical event is still being remembered today.
Traveling abroad can certainly take someone out of their comfort zone, but that is really how one grows and makes unforgettable experiences. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
Advice for Studying Abroad in Belgium:
- Try to learn some basics of the local language wherever you might go, and don’t be afraid to use them.
- Don’t feel like you absolutely have to visit a new country or city every weekend. Some of the most memorable things that I did was in and around Brussels.
- Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Have an open mind, and meet new people.
- Don’t neglect your studies. Find a good balance between work and having fun.
- Travel to at least one place by yourself. It’s great to spend time with friends, but solo travel can be a really cool experience, as well.
- Go off the beaten path. Find out where the locals hang out, and go there.
- Journal about your experiences and take lots of photos.
- Learn as much outside of the classroom as in it.
Nicholas is a Global Business and Finance Major at Cedarville University and will graduate in 2018. He is from Winthrop Harbor, IL and enjoys guitar, fencing, reading and traveling.