Ghent, Belgium is not somewhere you would think of first as a prime destination for exchange and studying a semester away from home. That’s where I ended up though, and as the first few weeks have come and gone, I can safely say that this place is amazing in its own right.
The city is stunning day and night. The city centre has many historical buildings used as houses and shops, grand cathedrals and towers dating back hundreds of year, modern architecture which contrast those heritage buildings, and even an old stone castle in the midst to round out the city’s buildings. As the sun sets the city stays bright and beautiful, the artificial lighting that helps brings out the features of the city are not randomly placed but much rather skillfully designed by an Architect.
Moving on from the city itself, Ghent University where I am studying is not much different to UTS with its campuses and buildings spread across the city. The slight difference here is that Ghent University campuses spread much further apart from each other at times, which may be annoying to move around from class to class if studying across multiple faculties. I opted to study electives on my exchange and therefore chose subjects from multiple faculties which is hard work but bikes are a huge thing here, and generally makes life so much easier. The professors all speak English as the exchange selection of subjects usually are offered in English. Lectures generally make up the classes with some workshops and reading assignments replacing classes some weeks. Life isn’t so much different in terms of studying here compared to UTS which makes transitioning much smoother.
Choosing a place to live for 6 months or a year is extremely important which is why I decided to choose the student accommodation at Kantienberg. It is a tad more expensive than what you can probably find else where in the city but you have to think about scams and not getting what you expected with renting from private offers. The student accommodation has everything you really need, your own bathroom and mini fridge (no freezer though), shared kitchen that is big enough to share with your floor, and most importantly it houses other exchange students in the same position as you and looking to meet new faces and have a blast of a semester. I fully recommend choosing the student housing if you can afford to do so just with the ease of meeting people and staying close to them!
Rounding things up, I suggest you live in the student housing and meet as many new faces as you can. Talk to everyone and learn new things about the European cultures because you will discover so many people from different walks of life and different countries across MAINLY Europe. Say yes to everything you can and enjoy the challenge of doing so because you will be tired, you will get sick and you will be spending so much money. But you have to enjoy life while on exchange because how else will you find yourself and brag about it when you return back home?
Bachelor of Construction Project Management
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au