Quinn, Outbound to Belgium

Salut, je vais ecrire mon journal.

Salut, ik zul nu dagboek schrijven.

I decided its about time for another post here because its been another month full of interesting experiences.

I am going to begin by talking about my linguistic journey. Its been a long one, as it should be on exchange.

Everyone In Belgium speaks English. This is a blessing and a curse because everyone can help you learn, but they can also easily prevent you from learning. Currently I can easily speak only in French all day because of the amount of work that I put into learning the language and the amount I am surrounded by it and because I ask all of my friends to speak with me in French. This is amazing, I could not be anymore happier with school my host family or really anything. For Dutch, this journey of language is going much slower because the dutch know even better English than the French speaking area and consume only media spoken in other languages. (mainly English) I do know know many Dutch speakers but I always ask them to speak with me in Dutch when they can. I can understand very good Dutch but cant speak as great as my French and I working very hard to improve it to the same level.

Each day in school I go to pretty much just intensive French or Dutch classes with a few classes like math history and Spanish mixed in. Its great because I can see the progress I am making every day. I do wish that was completely fluent and I know it will come but I want it to be instant so bad!

Ok that is the end of my rant on language, now its time to talk about culture and what I have learned after the so called "vacation stage" which I do agree exists.

I enjoy every moment I am here and I mean that with total honesty. I am making strides in language, hanging out with local friends and seeing tons of Belgium! At first I decided that I would post as much as I could on social media because it was so unique, but now I am struggling to post at all even though I am having the same amount of fun. I went on vacation to the Netherlands, visited the fair in town, gone on multiple 30km or longer bike rides and eat amazing food. (like fries which are my favorite!!!) I guess I feel more like a local than a tourist now and the desire to share absolutely everything online has kind of gone away.

Vacation here officially started today and I am going with Rotary on a trip to Berlin which I am sure will be as amazing as everything else. With that being said today was the first time I was what I guess at some level could be considered "home sick". It's cold in Belgium compared to Florida and I miss the warmth of the sun and beach days where you can actually swim. I am sure this is not as bad as some other people have had it but I did truly believe that I would never get home sick.

Some of the things that I have done here that I really enjoyed were at school, one day like usual I was me and my French teacher were helping each other learn English and french and I had an idea to play Pokémon in French to practice and I set it up on my teachers iPad too and it was great because my whole class went in later and were playing Pokémon with my teacher and practicing their English!

I also went to a few towns in the Netherlands and enjoyed great food and a cool kayak trip. I also bought a card game to play with my host brother and he happened to get a card in his deck that was actually worth about $16.

Ill let the photos speak for the rest of what I have been doing.

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