A brief tale of life in Ghent

Greetings!

I have been insanely busy since classes started two weeks ago. I need to start writing more though, and I will try to do so, starting this week.

I’m taking the maximum amount of course credits here. It’s already exhausting and unfortunately it only transfers back to 12 of the US credits.  Oh, did I mention I’m taking master level classes too?! It’s great though. My professors are exceptional and most are extremely entertaining while teaching the daunting subject matter.

My weekly course schedule (for most weeks) is as follows:

Monday: Food Processing 8:30-11:30 and Food Microbiology and Analysis 11:30-2:30

Tuesday: Food Microbiology 8:30-11:30 Food Colloids 1:00-4:00 Food Processing 4:00-7:00

Wednesday: Milk and Dairy Technology 8:30-1:00 Food Colloids 4:00-7:00

Thursday: Tropical Animal Production 8:30-1:00 Food Processing 1:00-4:00

Friday: Food Marketing and Consumer Behavior 1:00-5:30

Anyway, no more of this boring stuff.  I have joined the ESN group here at the UGent campus. Basically, they set up a bunch of events for exchange students. If you’re thinking of studying abroad and your university has an ESN group, make sure to join! It’s a great way to meet people.

Last weekend through ESN I went to a Speed Dating event with a bunch of other students from all over the world. It was perfect because you only had a few minutes to talk to each person, duh, so you were able to avoid awkward conversations.  It also was a great event because I now see lots of people around the city that I can have a casual conversation with.  After the Speed Dating event a Stop Light Party was held.  We didn’t last long there due to the fact that, well, that no one was there.  My group of friends and I opted to go to a quaint pub where we sat in their upstairs seating area, only dimly lit by candles.  After finishing our “small” beers we tried going back to the stop light party.  Things had changed in the meantime and it was PACKED.  It disappointingly reeked of body odor, as well.  Thoughts of staying at the partying were dismissed. The night was finished with martinis at a dance club and then some glorious Belgian fries. Then my friend and I made our 30 minute trek back to our dorm through the eerily deserted city streets.

The next day a trip to Bruges was planned by ESN.  Luckily the event wasn’t until 1:00, so we were all able to get a decent night’s rest after the previous night’s festivities. (Did I mention there is no last call/closing time? Slightly detrimental.)  We arrived in Bruges by train a short 20 minutes later.  The train tickets on the weekend are cheaper, a good thing to note.  I believe a round-trip ticket was 5 euros. Shortly into our walk into the city we ended up getting lost from our ESN leaders, but found our way back to them miraculously. We walked through all the main sights of the beautiful city, that is known as “the Venice of the North”. I had my first Belgian waffle at a stand that was set up in the middle of an antique market by the river.  It was covered in chocolate and powdered sugar and was seriously better than any waffles that I’ve had in America.  Once the tour was finished with our leaders my group of friends and I sat down for a late lunch at a cafe.  The rest of the day was spent wandering around the city, stopping at various chocolate shops along the way.  In the early evening we took the train back to Ghent.  The night ended after one final beer at a nearby pub.

The weekend ended with a lovely dinner last Sunday prepared by one of my new friends and her parents who had come to visit for the weekend.  It was splendid!

Nothing overly interesting happened between last Sunday and Thursday. Classes. Sleep. More Classes.

Friday however, the afternoon was spent shopping with my friend Nanna.  Then that night we all had our own international dinner. I can’t remember the names of all the dishes, but there was German bread and Spanish enchiladas? I made rice krispie treats, one of my favorites.  Of course we had lots of wine and beer to go along with our meal.  We didn’t eat until well after 9:00 and then we stayed in the kitchen for a long while, talking and…drinking.  Eventually, we made it to the “Flag Party” hosted by ESN, at a club called Twitch.  The place was packed, to say the least.  I also think I was one of the only ones dressed in the colors of my country’s flag. I donned a red hat, blue blouse, and white scarf.  ‘MERICA!

The rest of my weekend was spent watching movies and putting off reading 100s of text pages for my classes.  Occasionally, I left my room to go to the kitchen to prepare meals. Side note: I FINALLY made mashed potatoes tonight.  Anyone who really know me, knows that I’m the “potato Queen”.  Nanna also made some delicious chocolate cake today and I was lucky enough to be given a couple pieces. I can go to bed happy now.

It’s around 10:30pm now in Ghent.  Hopefully I will fall asleep soon. I have an early morning tomorrow along with a 30 minute walk to the Bioscience and Engineering faculty.

A bientôt mes amis 🙂

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Our own International dinner at Student Housing 🙂

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