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Maraika in Belgium

Art & Culture

Brussels is an art city…something I love to take advantage of ???? My host mom, Brigitte, is actually a painter herself so she loves to go to all sorts of arts shows and I love to tag along and/or take her recommendations. About two weeks ago, Brigitte took me to BRAFA, which is an insanely large art fair held every year in an old airplane hangar near Brussels’ port. It was spectacular. There are galleries from all over the world that come and set up little mini exhibitions- it’s kind […]

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Battle of the Bulge

On Saturday, CIEE took a trip to Bastogne, in the southeast of Belgium (close to the Luxembourg border). Bastogne is considered the center of the Battle of The Bulge (La Bataille des Ardennes), which took place in December of 1945-January 1946. Quick little history for those (like me) who have forgotten everything they learned in high school history class: on the 16th December 1945, the Germans attacked the front line of the Allied forces (mainly American soldiers in that area) in “the Bulge,” an area where the line between Allied […]

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Culture shock and the start of classes

Culture shock is something that is very familiar to me right now. I definitely felt it full-force in my first few days here, I would be trying to understand what my host family was telling me, and while I understand most everything I’d miss a little detail about their house rules or practices and do something wrong. I’m very lucky, they’re all the sweetest people in the world and totally understanding but I don’t think anyone likes making mistakes! I felt a little helpless. Luckily, from each mistake I make […]

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Learning experiences…

Despite how highly-skilled I think I am at travelling, I definitely fell from my pedestal yesterday. I was on the metro with my friend going to see the Atomium (which, despite everything was very cool). When we got off the stop, I realized my wallet was not in my purse. I immediately called my host mom who found my wallet in my room, so I relaxed and enjoyed my day. However, when I got home I realized she had found my other wallet and I had, in fact, had mine […]

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Being a tourist

Being a tourist is fun. Although I subconsciously hate myself when I take my 100th touristy photo, I know that everyone else around me is a tourist too! A shared culture. This week, especially the last few days, was a weird limbo between our orientation for CIEE/Vesalius College (the school I’ll be attending) and actual classes. I can’t remember the last time I had this amount of free time, but I really feel obliged to go out and explore. So, this led to a lot of touristy stuff. Good fun. […]

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The first few days…

I have spent a total of three days here in the beautiful city of Brussels, and it honestly still hasn’t sunken in that I will be here for four and a half months! Incroyable!  I was paranoid and arrived a day early, which was the best thing I could’ve done. The hostel I stayed in was nice, and I was able to walk around a little and run some errands before crashing and sleeping off the jet lag. The next day, I was well-rested and ready to  go. One of […]

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