Thursday, January 31, 2008

My semester in Leuven

Hi everybody! I would like to give you here an overview of my stay in Leuven which lasted from September to February. As Leuven is a Belgian city, it does not differ a lot from Namur, except that people speak Dutch and always ride their bike.

As far as the educational program is concerned, I attended 5 lecture sessions. My first lecture of the week was "Dutch folklore". It focused on the study of popular culture. "English Literature from 1800 up to now", the only English-taught lecture, was based on the study of poems taken in their historical context. A third lecture in my program was "Introduction to Italian culture". It familiarized me with a number of aspects of Italian culture, i.e. history, politics, cinema, music, architecture, design and media. "Argumentation theory" gave an insight into what constitutes a good argumentation and a good text structure. Finally, I had an overview of the intercultural dynamics of literature thanks to the lecture on "Comparative Literature". These five lectures only lasted 10 hours a week but required a lot of work, i.e. reading, self-research and paper.

In order to adapt to the life in Leuven, I hired the most essential thing, namely a bike. Of course, it was not a brandnew one because the bikes are so often used in Leuven that they are rusty. I used my bike every day to go to the university.

I also had extra activities. On the one hand, as erasmus student I received a free sport card. So, I sometimes played basketball at the university sport center. That was for me a good opportunity to meet some people and to speak Dutch. On the other hand, I often walked through the city and went shopping. Leuven is an extremely beautiful city where fans of shopping can have it their way. I also went several times to pubs or restaurants with other erasmus students, Dutch students or my friends from Namur. My favourite place to spend a nice evening with friends was the "Cocktail Bar", where you can find about 200 different cocktails. Lastly, I went to the cinema to see "Ratatouille", "The bourn ultimatum", "Vermist" and "Enchanted", and organized dvd evenings in my room.

I can not end the story about my stay in Leuven without speaking of my room. My beautiful room was located in a quiet street seven minutes away on foot from the university. I had my own kitchen in my room and I shared the bathroom with my two flatmates, Laurence and Jelle. They were very nice persons, as was my flat's owner.

After these descriptions, I hope you will be tempted to visit Leuven or even to study there one semester.

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