BCA’s new Brussels Resident Director, Dr. Frank Billingsly, has been living in Brussels, Belgium for the last eighteen years. We caught up with Frank to learn a bit more about him and the advice he has for students thinking about studying in Belgium.
Interview with a Resident Director: Frank Billingsley
Q: What do you most enjoy about being a Resident Director?
A: Showing off Brussels! Brussels is a hidden gem in the heart of Europe. It is a multicultural city that has a rich and unique history. There are great foods, chocolates, beers, and let’s not forget the waffles!
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: I have two energetic Jack Russel Terrors and a Chartuex cat that thinks he is a dog!
Q: When you go to a café in Brussels what do you order?
A: Brussels is a café culture! I am quite simple, and I love a double espresso. One of the great things in Brussels is you always get a cookie or a piece of chocolate with every order.
Q: Did you study abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to study abroad?
A: I came to Brussels over 18 years ago to study for a master’s degree, and long story short, I never left!
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
A: Ice cream is something I love, what a great snack on a hot day; while, any day! I again like things simple and love straight up vanilla.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I love to take long walks with my puppies…and I like to go shopping!
Q: What suggestions do you have for the best ways to learn from the local community when you travel or study abroad?
A: The only way to too genuinely understand a true culture is to immerse yourself in the community. In Brussels, you will have great opportunities to live in a homestay, to do an internship, and get involved in local activities.
Q: Before you travel to a new place what research do you do to learn about the host community, local cultures or the impact of your visit?
A: It is essential to think of your environmental impact on any local community. I like to visit places off season because there are less tourists and there is less strain on the city and the environment.
Q: Why have you chosen the field of international education and what impact do you seek in your work?
I came by international education, by chance, but I have embraced every minute of the time I have lived abroad. I love the international feel of working with so many different cultures.
I love to learn about new cultures, and it enriches my work day.
Q: Social change means many things to many people, what does it mean to you?
Social change is making impacts on a sustainable future. This includes people, animals, places, and things.
Q: What is your favorite movie, song or book to use as a teaching tool? For students to best understand social justice questions you believe are most relevant to your country-culture, what movie, book or song would you recommend?
- Movie/ The Nuns Story
- Film/ In Bruges
- Book/ King Leopold’s Ghost
- Article/ The Silence of Belgium: Taboo and Trauma in Belgian Memory