Welkom In België – Welcome to Belgium

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Author: Clemens Snoeijer
Program: Business Administration – International Business
Study Abroad Location: Ghent, Belgium

“The trouble with travelling back later on is that you can never repeat the same experience,” as Michael Palin said. I personally find that this quote applies to future experiences travelling and studying in Belgium, as this wouldn’t be my first time travelling to a European country.

On February 2nd, 2008, my family and I decided to immigrate to Canada. This was what inspired me in the beginning to study abroad while studying here in Canada. The thrill of learning a new language, adjusting to a different culture and building new connections was overwhelming but extremely rewarding. After learning all about Canada and its culture, I was searching for that same thrill again. But where was I going to get it? That was the problem that I faced at the time.

When the time came to apply for different post secondary programs, I found Seneca College and its Business Administration – International Business program. Through this program, Seneca would give me the opportunity to study abroad. However, like any other college student today, my only problem was finding a way to support myself financially speaking. It felt impossible as I was raised on a farm, living with nine other people all while soon to be living two hours away from home and attending Seneca. I found that by combining school and work at the local grocery store, I managed to save up and start my first semester in September of 2014.

Since starting my studies at Seneca, I have been lucky enough to meet different individuals who have come from all around the world. The cultural differences and their experiences had me wanting to learn more about the different cultures that this world has to offer. The one group of international exchange students that stood out to me the most were the students from Belgium. Their genuine friendliness and intelligence inspired me to explore Belgium further.

Later on in the summer, I decided to visit Belgium in the summer after visiting my family that is still living in the Netherlands. While in Ghent, Belgium’s students’ city, I instantly fell in love. I fell in love with the historical feeling of the architecture in the city and how it was able to almost blend in with the modern buildings that were in the area. Walking around Graslei with one of Seneca’s previous Belgian exchange students, I realized that Belgium was going to be the place for me. I started to realize how I missed out on my teenage years in Europe, which I am hoping to experience again from doing my exchange in Ghent.

I am also really excited to get the experience to study at a different school. While in Belgium, I will be taking several courses with a European perspective. I am excited and nervous to see the differences and similarities of Seneca College and Artevelde University College. I am hoping to gain more international connections within Europe, build new connections with fellow classmates and maybe even having the opportunity to network with future employers in my field!

Another reason why Belgium was the ideal selecting was because flying out from Belgium is also a much compared to other nations. I have made several plans with a fellow exchange student named Kexin who will be joining me in this phenomenal experience. We are hoping to visit many other European cities during our spare time. We are looking forward to what each European city has to offer us during our time there.

Hope you enjoyed my first blog post and I can’t wait to share more of my experiences studying abroad with you!

Clemens Snoeijer



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