Welcome Week

The days are already flying by here! I am coming off of my first weekend in Belgium and it was great, but I am so sure that it’ll only continue to get better. The days have consisted of more administrative things; it takes a lot of running around to become a temporary Belgian citizen, enroll in a new University, and get settled into a new home. I am finally feeling like it is finishing up though!

So last Saturday night was my first official night out here. Michael, Paul, and I went out for a nice sit down dinner and drinks. I had a great meal and Michael took us to a bar that is kind of hidden from the general population. We enjoyed a buy 3 get one free beer special because we’re such important students and then headed over to meet up with the gang at our favorite Irish pub called Beckett’s. We started downstairs where there’s booths and places to sit and then moved upstairs to the second bar/dance floor area. We had a group of about 15-20 people taking up an area and it was a great time to have some fun with new friends 🙂 We drank and danced and had a great time as the place got more crowded. We ended the night with the greatest discovery to date: Kabobs. Also known as what will be my mortal enemy of junk food here. It’s like a wrap with a bunch of stuff and french fries in it with some magical sauce… can’t really give much more details other than I immensely loved myself that night but had severe hatred for my choices the next day.

Weekends here tend to clear out because it truly is a college town. Saturday there was a farmer’s market in the town center which was really interesting. Full of local craftsmen and cooks with a variety of goods and food. Apparently they set up every week on Saturdays and Tuesdays. I learned that Sundays here are basically useless days as everything is closed and it is a ghost town, so I know I will definitely want to be out of town most weekends.

I was able to be more productive on Monday and it was the first night of Welcome Week for us Erasmus (exchange) students. Monday night’s activity was called Buddy Night. It was really just an excuse to throw a huge party and play drinking games with foreigners. These people looooove their alcohol. So some of us had dinner beforehand at one of my new favorite places; a cute little restaurant with colored string lights and low ceilings- an awesome atmosphere. We headed over to Buddy Night for some Erasmus fun. I met so many different people that night, this place is truly an international city filled with people from all over the world. I’ve made friends with Belgians, Canadians, Germans, Swiss, Swedes, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Argentinians, Spaniards, and so many more. After the Buddy party we had our first experience at the local place called La Casa. This was basically a giant bar/frat house FILLED with people. We got in and out alive and then treated ourselves to kabobs (my favorite).

Tuesday was a more casual night, I played poker with my roommates! Funny that I learned how to play Texas Hold’em in Europe. I lost a euro but I now have a new card game to enjoy. Wednesday was finally my first day of class at the sunny hour of 8:30am. Paul and I barely found the classroom and I was half asleep for the course but I made it out alive. Wednesday night the Erasmus gang headed to a bar called Onlywood where you can sit around a table that has a keg in it, so the tap is in the middle of the table. Great fun. We then went to another welcome week event for free dinner and we made friends with some Belgians doing card tricks haha. Afterwards we went to what I would consider a house party. It was a huge Kot (dorm) and we played kings (Belgian style) and hung out with some new people.

Thursday is my busy class day. I have 4 classes, starting again at 8:30. But, alas, I survived (barely) and made it to Thursday night’s event: bowling! Fun fact about LLN: everywhere you go has a bar. So naturally bowling turned into a drinking game and we finished around midnight. My group was awesome, it was me Michael and Paul, Canadians Jenna and Taylor, German ladies Anisa and Sarah, and the one and only Swiss Eliane. Selfies were in full force as well as drunk style bowling tricks. We had a great time and then moved onto La Casa for round two. This time we did it for real. We were in this giant moshpit for about an hour getting thrown around but we couldn’t stop laughing. We made it out with minimal casualties, Eliane emerged with a bruise on her face haha, and we treated ourselves to ….. Kabobs. Fabulous night.

Today is the last day of welcome week and we will end with an official Pub Crawl. We went with a group to various bars around town where we get student discounts. So I’ve officially began the celebrations for my 21st birthday! I’m so happy that I’ve found some amazing friends to celebrate with me. We will be going to Brussels and Antwerp, can’t wait!!

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