Belgium was a blast. I had so much fun while I was there, saw a lot of new places, ate a lot of really good food, failed epicly at speaking French, and actually was the least stressed I’ve been in ages. (When I came back I had actually lost a bit of weight because of the lack of stress.)
Before we had left for Belgium, Go Global put on a “pre-departure session” for us, part of which involved group dynamics, and acknowledging how others work and think to aid in problem solving. To be honest, I didn’t really think out group needed it since we’d been working together since September and knew each other by now. However, when we got to Belgium, there were more clashes within groups than I thought there would be. Turns out those problem solving lessons came in handy. (I hope?)
The trip also came with some career development. I got to meet up with a harpist in Belgium who I’d met once in Vancouver, who now will be an international contact for the future. I also got to perform at a concert in Belgium which would be good to put on a CV – international performance experience.
And besides all of that, I made friends while I was away. Friends who I will continue to see and talk to now that I’m back in Canada. As a person who finds it difficult to make friends, this is really valuable to me.
I guess what I’m saying is that a Go Global experience is much more than a trip to see the world.
- Waiters take your orders for drinks and food separately.
- Brussels is very large and my feet hurt a lot.
- Met the woman who is renting her harp to me during this trip and who I met in Vancouver last October – she has a really cool performance space in her apartment and an awesome electric ramp for getting harps up the stairs! Also apparently her husband/partner/friend (I didn’t ask) is a famous Belgian glassmaker. Cool.
- We went to the Musical Instrument Museum and there were ocarinas there the size of a large cat! Huge!
- Saw above and below ground palaces.
- Waffles are consistently delicious.
- Went to Bruges, very beautiful city. Much more green space, open area, and water than Mons or Brussels. If I had to pick a place in Belgium to live, I would pick Bruges.
- Made friends :)
Sorry, I would post more but I spent all day yesterday and today in Brussels and Bruges and I’m real tired.
Hello from Belgium! A few things of note since I have arrived:
- Most restaurants in Europe (or at least Belgium) don’t give you free water. You have to pay for bottled water.
- Cobblestones are hard on the feet.
- Mons, the town/city we are staying in, is roughly the size of UBC campus.
- No matter what you think, you cannot totally escape jetlag.
- Belgian waffles are delicious and basically function like donuts in Canada and the US.
- All bread found in Belgium is amazing.
- People really like their sandwiches here. And they are made on baguettes so why wouldn’t they?
I was going to upload a photo with this post, but the uploader is not working so you’re just going to have to wait!
Currently I am sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane which will take to London, and from there to Belgium.
I am incredibly excited, but before I left the house today I don’t think I had really internalized the fact that I was travelling so far away.
As my friends hugged me and waved goodbye, told me to have fun and travel safe, suddenly I realized that I’d never been so far away from my family and friends, and I wouldn’t even be able to use my phone to text my boyfriend while I was away. I mean, Vancouver is already halfway across Canada from home, but we’re talking a separate continent! Suddenly I felt quite small and quite alone.
I got to the airport and suddenly felt like, oh my gosh, no one is going to talk to me the entire trip and I’ll just awkwardly be doing stuff by myself. Totally unfounded, and not something I was feeling for the last several weeks leading up to the trip.
Now that we’re through security, I feel a little more settled and I’m not too worried about being far away or alone. I’m feeling excited and happy to be here.
Basically, I’ve decided that whatever happens, I am going to keep a good attitude and have a good time. Not everything will go perfectly, but if I can keep a smile on my face I’m going to have a blast. More to come from Belgium!