Seppe Kelchtermans

"The courses were a combination of bioinformatics, programming, and data science: three aspects for which I developed a new passion."

Seppe Kelchtermans

Banaba

I am a biomedical lab technician passionate about technology. I started my career at the KU Leuven working as a lab technician at the Rega Institute. I liked this job as it gave me a lot of experience in Biomolecular technology, but after three years I wanted something more challenging. I looked around for new challenges and I stumbled upon the advanced bachelor in Bioinformatics.

Going back to college wasn't an easy transition, but I have not regretted it for one moment. Programming and Biomolecular technology seemed like a peculiar combination at first, but after a couple of lessons the possibilities unfolded. The courses were a combination of bioinformatics, programming, and data science: three aspects for which I developed a new passion.

Hawoon Gu (South Korea)

"You can really go to everywhere from here!"

Hawoon Gu (South Korea)

internationalisering

The greatest thing about studying at Howest as an international student? Howest is located in the center of Europe! You can really go to everywhere from here!

Gizem Can (Turkey)

"With all the international and local students, we were really united in diversity!"

Gizem Can (Turkey)

internationalisering

This international experience at Howest was the nicest experience in my whole life. When I finished my semester here, I did everything to extend my stay. I was so happy to hear I could stay for another semester!

I will always remember the special care of the international coordinator, Sarah Markewich, who took care of everything. She responded so quickly in case of a problem and she was always there for us. 

I stayed at the White house, an old white house, which soon not be used anymore. So now we can say we were the last ones to have known that place, full of memories of all the international students who stayed there.

With all the international and local students, we were really united in diversity!

Elena Safronova (Finland / Russia)

"Such a great time! Things come and go but experiences stay with us."

Elena Safronova (Finland / Russia)

internationalisering

Going abroad always feels fascinating and fun, sometimes even scary. But what if you don’t just go abroad for a week or two? What if you are about to explore a totally new lifestyle, change your routines, meet new people? Doesn’t it sound appealing? Of course, it does! 

Remember, Erasmus is not only about visiting a new place. It’s about getting a unique experience that you cannot get anywhere else. I’m so happy to have a chance to study in Belgium, and particularly in Kortrijk. 
The Belgian culture is such an unknown, unique culture, but so interesting. I was surprised to learn that you have three official languages! Both Kortrijk and Belgium have a great location. Kortrijk is next to Brussels, Gent, Antwerp and Belgium is next to France, the Netherlands, Germany, etc…

Such a great time! Things come and go but experiences stay with us.
 

Camille Bonier (France)

"I've met so many different people from all around the world."

Camille Bonier (France)

internationalisering

Last year, I didn't feel good in my class in France. It was the end of the second year of my bachelor and we had to make a choice: choose to stay in France to work and study or go abroad for a year via Erasmus. The choice was made quickly; Ireland for the autumn semester and Kortrijk, Belgium for the spring semester.

My first semester was coming to an end, and, I must admit, I didn't want to leave. My second family was in Ireland and I didn't want to leave them. I was afraid of not being able to find such exceptional people as met in Ireland and I was also afraid to live with Belgians, without any other Erasmus students around.
But you can probably guess that now I'm so grateful that I've been in two different countries! I couldn't have hoped for anything better than this year.

 I've met so many different people from all around the world.  I really felt everyone was included in the Erasmus family. We shared so many things: International Day, parties, the Indian Holi party on campus,  Kortrijk festival, orientation week, etc...  The buddy system, for me, was also a very good idea. Even if we didn't really see each other a lot outside courses, it was a real pleasure to have two buddies. I would like to thank them again 🙂.  The Orientation Week was the perfect time to get to know each other before starting the semester. Thanks again to the people who organised it!

I just want to say thank you to everybody who has contributed to my happy and amazing semester at Howest, which I will never forget. This year is and will always be the best year of my life. Erasmus in my heart forever ❤️.

Pauline Delavallée (France)

"Erasmus is an amazing, magical and fabulous experience. "

Pauline Delavallée (France)

internationalisering

I can only use superlatives to describe my one-semester adventure at Howest in the Creative Communication Project.
This semester was for me a mixture of emotions. Coming from a neighboring country, I did not think a country just a few kilometers from the border with France would be so different. 

In Howest, everyone does their best to make your stay as perfect as possible, including the students, the teachers and the administration! You will meet a second family there, to whom you’ll be bound forever.

If you read this testimony, and you want to come to Howest, the only thing I can tell you is: jump in, go ahead!

Javier Granados Calvo (Spain)

"Where are you going? What is Kortrijk? Are you crazy? "

Javier Granados Calvo (Spain)

internationalisering

These were the questions that my friends and me asked before coming here. I didn’t even know where I was going, but I was sure that it was going to be a really good year. First of all, I thought I was going to the French-speaking part of Belgium, I was so wrong. I came here and I was listening a language that was really different and difficult for me. Well done, Javier, you have gone to a place you have no idea about. The first semester started well, but I was focused on my new Spanish friends and was not really open to international people. Then I started to realise that I was missing out on many things by doing that so I started to open up to all the internationals. At this moment, I can say that if you go abroad you should open your mind. I am going back to my home country with a lot of new friends from a lot of different nationalities.

Manuel Gamarra (Spain)

"The best year of my life"

Manuel Gamarra (Spain)

internationalisering

It’s very difficult to express in words everything I have experienced since I arrived in the completely unknown city of Kortrijk.  It is also impossible for me to remember all the friends from different countries and cultures that I have met throughout the academic year (many of them are not in the picture), including the locals from Belgium and the Spanish, since I didn’t know almost any of them before coming here. Strangers who became acquaintances; acquaintances who became friends; friends who became family. Uncountable stories and anecdotes, many of them that cannot be told. Erasmus, the best year of my life. And I think that my tears during the last party with everyone are good proof of it.

Carlos Lázaro (Spain)

"My Erasmus adventure taught me the value of opening my mind to new experiences and people that, otherwise, I couldn’t have met staying in my hometown."

Carlos Lázaro (Spain)

internationalisering

I had the great opportunity of living abroad for one year and I can’t do anything but thank Belgium for such an amazing and incredible experience. When I arrived in September, I couldn’t have imagined how my life would be ten months later. 

Belgium gave me the chance to meet a lot of people from different countries, which meant meeting a lot of different cultures, perspectives, ways of being and putting all of them together. By doing this, I could know, understand and love these cultures as if they were my own. But I could also share my own culture, values and customs and feel so proud of them.

My Erasmus adventure taught me the value of opening my mind to new experiences and people that, otherwise, I couldn’t have met staying in my hometown. But, it wasn’t only through others that I learned valuable lessons. I also spent time getting to know more about myself, which allowed me to grow as an individual.

Thanks to Belgium, I bring back to my home memories, moments, experiences, trips, parties, lessons… that made me richer than before. But, if I have to pick something out above all in my Erasmus, it is the people who, after one year, I can consider as my family. 

Matthew Martin (USA)

"Up until the beginning of my third-year at Furman University, I had never ventured outside the United States."

Matthew Martin (USA)

internationalisering

It was in one of my very first days in Belgium that one innocent, pixelated emoticon welcomed my arrival with a wave of confusion, shock, and shame. At that very moment, I realized that I had encountered my very first test of being in a foreign country and now it was time to decide whether I should run from this crisis or tackle it head-on. Before I can explain what happened next though, I first need to tell you how I got here. 

Up until the beginning of my third-year at Furman University, I had never ventured outside the United States. In fact, I spent most of my life in the Southeastern portion of the US–– rarely away from my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. When I discovered I would be spending almost five months in Kortrijk, Belgium, I was definitely excited for the adventure but also nervous–– worrying about if I would find genuine friends, if people would understand my accent, if people would speak my language, if I would run out of money, and if my world back home would change too much while studying abroad. 

In spite of these fears, I stayed optimistic and entered Belgium excited for the life I would create for myself in Kortrijk. In the first week, I made friends! While I didn’t realize this then, these friends over the next few months would soon become my international family. We would explore the Belgian coast together, have picnics in French gardens, discover new music in the summer festivals of Kortrijk, and even travel through Greece and Italy for a couple weeks. But before all of that, we spent the first week touring Bruges and Ghent; and then, on our day in Ghent, it happened. 

I was excited to share my adventures of discovering Gravensteen Castle and tasting Belgian chocolate for the first time, so I uploaded a few Instagram photos and didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later, the sharp ping of a text notification revealed the horrible mistake I had committed: I had used the German flag instead of the Belgian flag in my caption. Now, in reality, this mistake was not catastrophic by any means, but it represented a greater issue: that issue being just how limited my understanding was of international identities and foreign cultures.

 I knew if I wanted to have any success in learning about intercultural communication this semester, I would have to be intentional in my conversations with friends, I’d have to be bold and take risks in how I spent my free time, I’d have to be comfortable being wrong and learning from my mistakes, and I’d have to study up!

And that’s exactly what I did. Over the next few weeks I studied coursework ranging from Basic Dutch to Copywriting, from Consumer Behavior to Public Affairs, and from Crisis Communication to Sales Communication. While these classes were certainly a departure from the mathematics that I focused on in my first two years of university, these courses as a whole challenged and informed my understanding of the relationship between communication and culture, For instance, Sales Communication forced me to rethink how we discuss items we believe are worth buying, while Copywriting made me see how even a single word in a slogan––or an emoticon, for that matter–– can completely change the statement’s message. 

After and between classes, I chatted with friends from India about the counterintuitive differences of our non-verbal communication; for instance, a side-to-side head wobble in India is the equivalent of the American head nod. Meanwhile, I practiced my Spanish with friends from Mexico and Spain throughout the week and saw that other languages were just as nuanced as my own language.  

When we weren’t busy studying, our little international family spent the weekends acting as tourists in our new home country of Belgium, exploring cities and towns near and far: such as Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, Namur, Ostend, Dinant, De Panne, De Haan, Oudenarde, and––of course–– Kortrijk. Other nights we shared food, exchanged recipes and made dinner together; we organized game nights; we sang songs from each other’s countries; we stayed up late at night, talking about what we missed from home, what made us excited to get up each day, and what we hoped for our futures; and we enjoyed every day we had together. 

If I were to go back, I’m happy to say that I would do things exactly the same. I would travel the same way, study the same way, and cherish the same friendships. I’d even make the exact same mistakes, because even the small mistakes are still managing to teach me big lessons :)

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Matthew Martin (USA)

Kira Altomari (USA)

"Students were very welcoming and supportive"

Kira Altomari (USA)

internationalisering

While I was initially nervous about studying abroad, Howest staff, faculty, and students were very welcoming and supportive. This has truly been a life changing experience helping me to become a more well-rounded person and increase my intercultural competencies. It should be one of the first that you see.

Claudia Labate (Italy)

"Erasmus: a once in a lifetime experience. "

Claudia Labate (Italy)

internationalisering

Last semester I had the honor to go to Belgium as an Erasmus student. I had already been abroad to study, but this…this was something else. An experience that cannot be replaced by anything, and that I would re-live in the exact same way I already did. 

I got to meet such wonderful and beautiful people from all over the world, we shared our points of views and cultures, we cooked for each other our typical dishes and celebrated festivities that someone wouldn’t normally celebrate in his/her own country. I was learning new things each day, not just from the courses that Howest offered us, but also from the people that I was meeting every day. 

For me this Erasmus has been also an opportunity to see a girl that I met in Berlin the previous year, and indeed she ended up being the buddy that Howest assigned to me. It was so good to see her after such a long time and we became very good friends through the buddy programme. We kept in touch throughout the semester, we went to parties together, we biked together to university and grabbed coffees in the weekends. We shared memories that I will cherish forever and I hope we will manage to see each other in a not so distant future. 

But in general, I have memories with each and every person that I have met in Belgium, from the other Erasmus students to the local ones. Each one of them gave and taught me something that I will remember forever, and I am sure I will get to see them again at some point in life, somewhere in the world, because once you have been an Erasmus student, your souls will be forever connected to each other. 
The classes were challenging and different from the type of classes we get in Italy. The city was completely different from where I was born and raised, but it is a cozy city that has everything a student needs. Thanks to this experience I have learned new things about the world but also about myself, how I deal with certain situations and how much alcohol I can handle, since the beer is really cheap! But jokes aside, I truly found myself in Kortrijk. My true self. 

So thank you to the Erasmus+ Programme. Thank you to the coordinators and teachers at Howest and at my home University for helping us and making all of this possible.  Thanks to all the other Erasmus students for sharing such an amazing experience with me, and for making it such a unique one at that.  Thanks to the local students and my buddy for bearing with me and for answering all of my -sometimes stupid- questions about Belgium.  And, finally, thank you to my “second family”, that has been with me in the best and worst moments of this experience. I am proud to call you my Erasmus Family.

Thank you Belgium. 
 

Marina Nikolic & Danilo Kovacevic (Serbia)

"The friends we made while being in Belgium will stay the best thing that happened to us on Erasmus!"

Marina Nikolic & Danilo Kovacevic (Serbia)

internationalisering

This semester was something amazing. We've met a lot of people and learned a lot of things about different cultures, not only Belgian. Friends we have met here are from all over the world (Europe, South and North America and Asia) and we are sure that someday we will meet each other again.

We can only thank Erasmus+ programme for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Discovering Belgian cities and enjoying fries, beer and chocolate was a true Belgian experience. Cycling through Kortrijk, drinking coffee at DeDingen and having our classes all together at the Square in Kortrijk made our stay even more memorable.

The friends we made while being in Belgium will stay the best thing that happened to us on Erasmus! We are proud to know so many good people from all around the world!
 

Jorge Cruzado Sánchez (Spain)

"Erasmus means much more than studying abroad!"

Jorge Cruzado Sánchez (Spain)

internationalisering

When you look at this picture, you can see up to 6 different nationalities. Erasmus means much more than studying abroad. It is opening yourself to the world, to ideas you never thought about before. Cultures that you thought didn't match, now they match perfectly. Ideas you would never put together, now you learn from each other. Thank you Erasmus & Howest.  I feel rich now.

Sumedha Sharma (India)

"The best time of my life was at Howest."

Sumedha Sharma (India)

internationalisering

It was something I always wanted to experience going international and meeting a big Erasmus family that made me learn about different cultures and exposed me to different learning methods.

Hristiana Dimitrova (Scotland) & Oriane Paralté (France)

"Howest provided us with a unique Erasmus experience! We had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world - people who are not friends but family to us now. "

Hristiana Dimitrova (Scotland) & Oriane Paralté (France)

internationalisering

Also, their 'Buddy' programme ensures you have Belgian student to help you settle down quickly and make friends as soon as you arrive. The university is modern and classes are small so teachers are also coaches and mentors and are very helpful and professional. Howest provided us with new learning practices and methods - it was great to get more practical and hands-on experience.

Howest was the best choice for Erasmus experience and offered us much more than we expected - this is why we both chose to stay for 2 semesters!

Hüdai Karabulut (Turkey)

"During your exchange semester at Howest, first, you start discovering people, and then you start discovering yourself again."

Hüdai Karabulut (Turkey)

internationalisering

During your exchange semester at Howest, first, you start discovering people, and then you start discovering yourself again.

Sylvaine Chan-Tave (France)

"Howest is an excellent university, and the people working there are amazing! Indeed, by remaining human, they develop people!"

Sylvaine Chan-Tave (France)

internationalisering

Howest is an excellent university, and the people working there are amazing! Indeed, by remaining human, they develop people!

Kim Hui Jin (South Korea)

"Every moment was precious and valuable for me. When I return to South Korea, I will really miss Howest and Belgium."

Kim Hui Jin (South Korea)

internationalisering

Every moment was precious and valuable for me. When I return to South Korea, I will really miss Howest and Belgium.

Akvilé Noreikaité (Lithuania)

"Erasmus is the best opportunity you can use while being a student. The international environment makes you realize that in every situation, the people that surround you matter the most. You make so many unforgettable friendships and memories that you wil"

Akvilé Noreikaité (Lithuania)

internationalisering

Erasmus is the best opportunity you can use while being a student. The international environment makes you realize that in every situation, the people that surround you matter the most. You make so many unforgettable friendships and memories that you will remember for the rest of your life. Howest was a part of that too - all the teachers and the international office were always very friendly and helpful.