Discover Sam’s Journey
Studying abroad comes with its own bag of mixed emotions: you’re excited but nervous, you’re over the moon at the prospect of starting a new chapter, but sad about leaving your homeland. By showing you my own journey, I hope to prepare you, a prospective international student, for your journey to studying at Artevelde University of Applied Sciences in Ghent, Belgium!
Before turning my study abroad dreams into reality, I immersed myself in the city and explored the different international programmes as much as I could from a distance, in Brazil. In order to decide which courses I wanted to study and whether Ghent was the right place for me, I watched YouTube videos to get a feel of the international student experience in AUAS and Ghent. On top of that, I explored the website and attended an Open Day to get more in-depth information about the English-taught programmes, international opportunities, language courses, and the more practical information, such as the application process, fees and the Belgian education system. I also researched and asked about the different kinds of documentation I needed to provide Artevelde before leaving my home country, e.g. my previous diplomas.
For graphic design junkies and photography fans like me, one of the make-or-break factors was seeing how Ghent complements my passions – i.e. all the amazing photos I will take around the city!
Moving to Ghent
It’s a good idea to prepare, or at least think about, your accommodation before you arrive in Ghent. I researched my housing options before my departure by looking at the accommodation webpage, where I weighed up the pros and cons of renting a student room on the private market versus staying in Artevelde’s own dormitories. The most important factors for me were location, pricing and amenities, so your housing depends on what you personally want. I ended up opting for the dormitories because of the good location, security and social opportunities. I also downloaded public transport apps to minimise stress during my travels.
Watch out for the weather in Belgium – do not pack too many light clothes if you are staying through winter! Wardrobe must-haves are jumpers and a good-quality coat.
Moving to a new country doesn’t mean leaving every trace of your home country behind – it’s actually quite the opposite. To combat potential homesickness and culture shock, I encourage any international student to bring food from their home country to share with new friends and as a source of comfort for themselves.
Importantly, during my first week at Artevelde University of Applied Sciences, I took the time to explore the campus and the city, and participated in student events. My favourite social activity was the Student Kick-Off party, where we rang in the new academic year at Sint-Pietersplein. Here, I met lots of new people – local and international – and began to feel more relaxed in my new city. I also made sure to familiarise myself with my courses to feel more at ease about my studies, and contacted Student Services to help me register with a doctor and advise me on bank accounts I could easily use in Europe.