We toured our school, Vesailes College, today. It is a small school of approximately 300 students where all the classes are taught in English. It specializes in business, communication, and international affairs. Nearly half the student population are study abroad students from around the world. The students come from various programs affiliated with Vesailes College (VeCo for short) such as CIEE and ISEP. The teacher to student ratio is very low. My classes will have at most 30 students in them. ...continue reading "Vesailes College"
Through CIEE in Belgium, you have the option of a homestay and an apartment stay. Because GW is on a payment tier system, I would advise GW students to do a homestay so meals are included. Homestays by no means limits your ability to come and go as you please but merely gives you a better immersion in the Belgian culture. ...continue reading "Homestay"
The second Saturday in Brussels we had the option to volunteer with the rest of CIEE students. We worked with a group called Serve the City; they help the homeless, elderly, abused women, and children around Brussels. The group is run by men and families that are funded from the states. They have monthly excursions of about 50 people to go out and help various nonprofits in the city. ...continue reading "Volunteering"
Because Brussels is the capital of the EU, the city is very diverse. When you sit on the tram, it is completely normal to hear three or four different languages. Therefore, being foreign isn't an out of the ordinary thing. We do stick out like sore thumbs however. We have found the public transportation buses and trams to be extremely quiet. However, the students in our group are very much the opposite. Speaking English in our normal tone is quite loud compared to the people of Belgium. ...continue reading "Perception of Americans"
A hallmark of the Middle East is the outdoor food market. Yesterday afternoon, our group of newly-arrived international students got on a chartered bus and toured a bit of our new city. We experienced stunning views of the Bahai Gardens, sloping narrow streets driving down the mountain, and the natural beauty of Haifa mixed with historical quiet neighborhoods. But the part of our trip that was really memorable for me was the market. ...continue reading "Market Day"
Its funny how one person can dictate your experience. This weekend I traveled to Assisi and Ravenna, two small towns north of Florence. I went to Assisi on Friday it was a quiet two hour drive to the town who only fame comes from the fact that Saint Francis came from Assisi and was buried there. Italy is known for its relics--basically dead bodies, sometimes body parts of saints, martyrs, and catholic heroes. Assisi is a small, mountain side town--it's really hard for me to call it a town seeing as it only has one road. ...continue reading "Assisi and Ravenna"
I’m currently on a plane en-route to Paris. In about five hours, I will land at the Charles de Gaulle airport where I will catch my connection to Rabat. Once at the airport in Paris, I will hopefully meet up with several of the participants in my program who are on my flight to Morocco. My arms are sore from bag-carrying and I am exhausted from standing in lines all day, but I cannot sleep because I’m far too excited. Instead, I am passing the time by reading, Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges, by Marvine Howe. ...continue reading "A Blank Canvas"
I landed in France a little over a week ago but it seems as though I have been here so much longer. It's difficult to believe that I could have crammed so many museums, monuments, moments with friends, and delicious French meals into ten days. However, my orientations period is not yet over and classes at the Sorbonne and its related institutions won't start until February. I still have time to kill and places to explore, and it is in this pre-class lull that I have time to reflect on what I really hope to accomplish in my time here. I've spent a significant part of my life building up and preparing for Paris in the spring, and now I'm determined to take advantage of everything around me. ...continue reading "This is Paris, and I’m an American who lives here"
It lives.....IT LIVES....that's how I feel after being down for the count basically the minute I got to Italy. Besides a mild sore throat, I feel like myself again. I officially finished my first week of classes which consists of: Digital imaging art photography (intermediate digital photo), Italian, silkscreening, and classical mythology. Monday's and Wednesday's are my worst days for I have class from 9:30 to 7pm with only an hour and a half break. ...continue reading "On My Way"