Jetta, Outbound to Belgium

I’ve officially been here in Belgium for 3 months now! I can confidently say that these have been some of the best three months of my life. Belgium is such an amazing country and unique country.

When I arrived here, the weather was cold and wet; but after a few months here, I know that it this is typical Belgian weather and I have grown to love it. I like it a lot better than the heat back in Florida. My first two days here my host family to Le Marche Saint-Roch which is a three day long cultural festival in Ham-Sur-Heure, Belgium. People take off work and sleep outside for the festival. The festival consists of music, parades, food, and drinks. It is one of the largest of the Folkloric festivals/marches in Wallonie. After a few days, Belgium experienced really nice weather. It was sunny and warm for a few weeks. I didn’t start school until September, so I spent most of my time outside trying to study french since I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet other students yet. My host family also has a really nice garden which I have found is common in Belgium. They grew tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary and other spices, along with apple, cherry, hazelnut, and chestnut trees. We eat a lot of fresh food, a lot of it coming from the garden too. There is also a lot of wild blackberries everywhere when it is warm out.

A few weeks later in August, I had the inbound orientation with all the exchange students in Belgium. There is over 200 in bounds in this tiny country so it was CRAZY with all of us walking around Bruxelles in our blazers. The day of the orientation I went to the train station, finally met other exchange students, and then took the train to Bruxelles Central where all of the exchange students met at the Royal Palace. We got to tour the Royal Palace, walk around Bruxelles, visit the Grand Place, and then sit inside the Belgian Parliament building for the actual talking part of our orientation. I made a lot of great exchange friends during this day and enjoyed finally getting out and seeing more of Belgium.

The weeks that followed before school started I spent going out and visiting other places with my new exchange friends. We went to Charleroi a few times since it is the closest big city and where mine, and my friends school is, but we also went to Bruxelles a lot since there is so much to see and do there. Overall, my first month was really good here. The food is really good and all of the people are really nice! Before coming here, I thought that there was just one “Belgian” waffle, like the ones at home. But there is actually two, the Liège waffle and the Bruxelles waffles. The Liège waffle is sweeter and thicker, and the Bruxelles waffle is lighter and not sweet. Here, they sell waffles everywhere on the streets and you eat them usually in a paper cone at any hour, not just breakfast. The Liège waffles are 100000x better than the Bruxelles waffles and I have them at least once a week.

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