Emily, international student in 2018-2019, gives you the chance to discover the Ihecsperience through her eyes.
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Day 1: Fries and a Tour
Today we jumped right into orientation week at IHECS. We started the day by trying to figure out the tram and getting to the school by 10am. From there, we were led into a classroom and learned a bit about everyone. There’s about 40 exchange students here with people from Peru, Hong Kong, France, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Moscow, Germany, and a few other places. There’s only 3 American students – Mackenzie (from NYC) and I and a girl from Pennsylvania.
The introductions were interesting
– we had to talk with someone else and find out whatever about them. Then, you had to introduce your partner to everyone else. A lot of people would say something along the lines of “this is so-and-so, and they’re from wherever. They’re studying whatever (usually communications). I learned this and this and this about them. They’re really great to talk to, and really easy to get along with. I hope you have a conversation with this person.” It was just a bit funny how people would talk up their partner; it’s just totally not an American thing.
So, I will be studying at IHECS, a journalist and communications school. It’s located almost right in the middle of Brussels. It is a French and English speaking school, but all of my classes will be in English (thank god, because I studied Spanish in high school, not French).
After intro: let’s go to organise our practical life!
After the introductions, a group of us – about 7 – went on a little adventure looking to get a passport photo done for a tram/train/bus pass. After being taken to a metro station under construction, we found the main metro station. It was really fun hanging out with and getting to know other students. All 3 Americans, one was from Norway, two were from Denmark, and one from Germany. We just kind of joked around and talked about what we expect from our semester abroad.
It’s Belgian fries O clock
From there, we met back up with everyone else for lunch at Le Roy, a restaurant right in the Grand Place. The school paid for fries and fountain drinks….so that was an interesting meal. The fries were good though, so like that was cool. Below is a (blurry) picture of my lunch. Our group of 7 sat together, and we talked about where we want to go this semester and connected with each other on social media.
Time to visit Brussels
After lunch, we went on a walking tour of the touristy part of the city. Unfortunately my phone randomly shut off and I wasn’t able to take any pictures except for these. Luckily, my phone did come back on…about 7 hours later at 9:30pm. The tour though! It was pretty interesting! Our tour guide, Charlotte, took us to all the main tourist attractions: the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, the Royal Palace, a park, a popular bar, St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, and the Royal Gallery of St. Herbert. She was super entertaining, telling us whatever story about a place and then usually ending in, “ah just kidding, it’s all just a myth!” So not really sure what to believe at all, but definitely learned a lot.
After that, we found our way to the place to get transportation cards, so we have access to the metro/tram/bus now!! Woohoo! Afterwards, the three Americans went to get our SIM cards and hung out in Thressa’s hotel room with her mom before calling it a day.
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