"Thanks to all the people who were part of this incredible experience"
Natalia Pérez Martín (Spain)
Going on Erasmus is an experience that more and more students dare to have. When I started the semester, I couldn't help feeling fear and sometimes confusion. How was I going to survive 5 months by myself in a place I didn't know? Would I be able to adapt to the new habits and way of life of the destination? What problems will I have to face? Will I make new friends? What are the people going to be like?
These are probably common questions we all asked ourselves when we knew we were going to be exchange students. In spite of the fear and last minute doubts, all the moments I experienced during this semester will be precious memories forever.
Meeting people from other countries and with different cultures, the warm welcome of my buddies assigned by Howest, secretly loving to ride my bike (even though I had never biked before), the best parties, trips to different cities in Belgium, supporting each other during exam time, my birthday surrounded by great people, a trip to the amusement park, beer, chocolate and waffles… Those are some of the moments I experienced during my exchange, the 5 most special months of my life. Thanks to all the people who were part of this incredible experience. I certainly encourage all students who want to learn, have fun or meet new people, to go abroad - and of course, I wish the new Howest exchange students good luck!
"It was really a wonderful experience for me in the Howest"
Ma Yan (China)
Being able to study at Howest was really a great experience for me. I have met many friends from other countries, and everyone is very friendly. Intercultural communication is really interesting. I was also impressed with the country of Belgium; I traveled to many cities during my stay here. Belgian beer and chocolate are really great, I love them!!! It was really a wonderful experience for me in the Howest. Thank you!
"Embarking on this adventure in Howest was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life."
Elif Aksoy (Turkey)
I had the best times here with beautiful people from all over the world who came to have an experience like me. It is so hard to describe this experience in words, but with all my heart, I can say that I have many “homes” in many parts of the World now and all those I met have a “home” in Turkey as well. Howest and Belgium have hosted us all very well. We had an unforgettable experience that changed all of our lives and gave us many new perspectives. Here, I learned to question myself more, got out of my comfort zone and discovered new aspects of myself. I look at life from a different perspective now, and I recommend this experience to everyone. I found a new family in Kortrijk and I am so grateful for that. Thanks for everything Howest, thanks Kortrijk thanks Belgium!"
"Erasmus is an experience that I won't ever forget, it changes you as a person and your life"
Lucia Fernandez (Spain)
It helps you to know yourself better and expand your achievements. You create a new routine of your life together with new people; people that I hope to keep for life because they are very special ones that have marked my heart forever. I think that one of the best pleasures in life that not everyone values is being able to meet people from other countries and with other languages and to build bonds forever. I feel so lucky to have lived this experience. I will keep these special people with me for life.
"International semester at Howest in Bruges"
Yerim Kim (South Korea)
Celebrating birthdays and cultures with international and local friends, in an international way, during an international semester at Howest in Bruges.
"Going on an Erasmus exchange has been literally life changing for me"
Zackarias Alenljung (Sweden)
I will forever remember my time here, as it will probably be one of my best memories. I have made so many new friends and met so many kind and humble people. Here you can see an image of me and my two best Erasmus friends that I keep closest to my heart.
"I’m so thankful for the people I met in Kortrijk and at Howest"
Nadia Garcia Peralta (Mexico)
This exchange program not only helped me open my mind and learn about other cultures/countries, it also started great friendships that I believe have helped me shape a better version of myself, I can’t wait to see what my second semester at Howest will bring.
I’m so thankful for the people I met in Kortrijk and at Howest and I’m hopeful I’ll see them in the near future being as awesome and incredible as I saw them through this international experience.
"I must come back!"
Topi Raatikainen (Finland)
The past five months have passed really quickly – It feels like it was yesterday when I was waiting my flight to Brussels at the Helsinki Airport in mid-September. I found studying in Howest and living in Kortrijk easygoing. I did have some challenges with my courses, but I understand why, because I wasn’t really prepared for what was to come. Even if my personal performance wasn’t so great, I did find the courses interesting and knowledge gained as something I can use to build my future path.
As a career-changer in your early thirties, I believe it is a bit unusual to go to Erasmus+ exchange. But as it was an option for me, I thought it wouldn’t be wise to miss it. And I’m glad I didn’t! I’ve worked in multicultural environments before, so studying abroad wasn’t that big a change for me in that sense, but it is always interesting to meet new people with different backgrounds. And living abroad is always exciting!
As the time went by so fast, I did miss few things: I didn’t go to watch any football game, I didn’t go to see any ice hockey game, and I didn’t try the combination of mussels and fries. This only means one thing: I must come back!
"My first semester in Kortrijk was one of the best experiences of my life."
Oriane Launay (France)
I had the opportunity to meet great people from all over the world. But I was also able to discover myself. I learned to be independent living alone and to integrate, to accept other people's differences as well as my own. I was also able to visit neighboring countries such as Germany and Austria but also to discover more about Belgium. And all of this at low prices.
These 5 months have allowed my friends and I to create unbreakable bonds. I hope to see them again as soon as possible and I'm sure I'll see them again because what we lived through was wonderful and unforgettable. I am now starting a second semester at Howest and I'm sure it will be just as wonderful as the first one.
"It has definitely been a wonderful and interesting exchange experience in Belgium, which will also be important to my future career."
Jinxing Gao (China)
I have really enjoyed my stay in Belgium, not only because of the courses that I had looked forward to for a long time but also in terms of meeting new people - new people from all over the world. I had my classes with local students as well as with internationals from Norway and Finland. Apart from sharing ideas and helping each other with courses, they also played a role as my English teacher; I feel that my English has improved a lot with the help of the other students.
What impressed me most is that although local students had already learned about ‘Machine Learning’ the previous semester and there were only a few internationals in the class this time, the teacher still taught us with patience and full preparation. One local student helped me a lot with my Project with her medical background. Other teachers gave me a lot of extra assistance with my IoT Device, as they knew I lacked experience with it. There are so many helpful people who I want to thank that I can’t list all of them.
Also, big thanks to my language teachers and coaches as they are really warm-hearted and generous to help me voluntarily with my English, especially in terms of boosting my confidence in speaking English. There are always unlimited resources you can explore aside from your specialized courses, depending on what you want and how you decide to take action.
It has definitely been a wonderful and interesting exchange experience in Belgium, which will also be important to my future career.
"Thank you for making me feel welcome and at home. "
Elisa Fernández Medina (Mexico)
Being here showed me that there are no limits, and that boundaries don't exist. I found a perfect family, one really different and weird but perfect. They showed me that distance means nothing. In them, I found the best gift ever, a piece of the world.
"I’ve found my happy place in Kortrijk, and my second family at Howest."
Anja Wilawitzer (Austria)
Whenever someone tells me they’re insecure about going abroad or having doubts, the only thing I respond is: “Do it.” These weeks and months are going to enrich you with some of the most unique, thrilling and encouraging experiences that you’ll make as a student – probably even in your entire life. Getting to know people from everywhere with so many different backgrounds and stories is so fascinating, and then realizing how close you have become over the time is even more beautiful. I felt like we would be united in diversity, and I really do understand the meaning of culture. Not only do I acknowledge cultural differences much better now, but I can also value my own “roots” much more. By no means would I want to miss out on this incredible semester – I’m beyond grateful and lucky to have chosen this city and this university.
"The courses were a combination of bioinformatics, programming, and data science: three aspects for which I developed a new passion."
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.
"You can really go to everywhere from here!"
Hawoon Gu (South Korea)
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!
"With all the international and local students, we were really united in diversity!"
Gizem Can (Turkey)
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!
"Such a great time! Things come and go but experiences stay with us."
Elena Safronova (Finland / Russia)
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.
"I've met so many different people from all around the world."
Camille Bonier (France)
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 ❤️.
"Erasmus is an amazing, magical and fabulous experience. "
Pauline Delavallée (France)
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!
"Where are you going? What is Kortrijk? Are you crazy? "
Javier Granados Calvo (Spain)
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.
"The best year of my life"
Manuel Gamarra (Spain)
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.