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YEAR 2012‐2013

MorErasmus The magazine for students who are in for an Erasmus experience in Belgium

In this edition: 5 exclusive testimonies of students who entered the Erasmus Belgica Programme

Maude Snyers

Isabelle Birot

Tourism and Leisure Management

Tourism and Leisure Management

Margot Felczer

Martin Monserez

Office Management

Communications Management

Elisa Van Geem Office Management


Want to know

Congratulations! By picking up this magazine, you have taken the first step to entering a student exchange programme which is something we can only be happy about. We appreciate your interest in our study programmes, whichever you may or may not choose, a er reading this magazine. In this issue of MorErasmus, we dig a li le deeper into the lives of 5 students who took up the challenge of entering an exchange programme, within the borders of Belgium. Five exci ng stories, that will give you some insight in their

experiences, and prepare you for an adventure of your own. Going to a new school, having new teachers, mee ng new people… Yes, it’s scary, for many students. And you don’t want to be disappointed. However, we are confident that this magazine will give you a be er idea of what to expect. And who be er to prepare you, than someone who’s lived the experience? This magazine was wri en by students, for students. Text Femke Boone

Going the distance Interview with Margot Felczer

Meet Margot Felczer. She’s a 21‐year‐old, French‐ speaking, incoming student from Haute Ecole Galilée in Brussels. She has just entered a programme in which she will a end classes at Thomas More Mechelen for one year. If, or be er, when Margot succeeds, she will have obtained a double degree. According to Margot, having a double degree looks good on your CV, which is the key to finding a good job. So she was thinking about her future when she signed up for the programme. The other op on was to go on an Erasmus project, which would have been more of a short‐term adventure, as it only lasts one semester. Now, Margot is in Mechelen for a whole year, comple ng an en re programme, which includes a nine‐week internship in the second term.

Margot is very clear about school”, she quickly adds. why she made the decision to come to Mechelen for a It’s only been two months whole year. “I could have or so, but Margot can gone abroad, which might already look back a li le on have been more of an her me in Mechelen. “It adventure, but then I has definitely been a wouldn’t have had challenge so far, “I’m very the chance to obtain especially because of happy with a double degree. It’s the language barrier. I the way I was grew up speaking just tough enough to find welcomed a job as it is, French. Now, my into the especially for a Dutch is alright, and school” school‐leaver. This I’m taking classes here second degree will give me at school, so I can manage. a huge advantage over I’ve definitely learned a lot other applicants.” so far.” Why Mechelen, and not any of the other, o en more popular ci es for studying, such as Ghent or Leuven? “It might sound strange, but I didn’t know Leuven at all, and it didn’t a ract me as much as Mechelen. I wanted to get to know the city. I was told people here were a lot more open and spontaneous than elsewhere.” And are they? “I’ve never been to the other ci es, so I couldn’t say”, she jokes. “But I’m very happy with the way I was welcomed into the

A final word, for students considering entering a similar programme? “I think the fear in all of us consists of not knowing what we are ge ng ourselves into. I guess there’s nothing we can do but take that leap of faith and face whatever’s coming, head‐on.” Text: Femke Boone

A unique experience Interview with Elisa van Geem

Elisa, like Margot, is a student from the Galilée University College in Brussels. She came to study here in Mechelen because she wants to obtain a double degree. She has chosen Mechelen because she wants to improve her Dutch. In addi on, she wants to acquire life experience in Flanders. Brussels vs Mechelen

organizes ac vi es for students. In addi on, they can answer all your ques ons concerning student life in Mechelen. The school has other assets well, for example a real cafeteria, as opposed to the three small tables we have in our school’s lunchroom. There’s also a bookstore on the campus called ‘the campus shop’, where you can easily get your books and wri en courses.

Elisa is taking courses in the The first days in Mechelen first, in the second as well as in the third year of Office We also asked her about Management. When we her first day here in asked her about the biggest Mechelen and about her differences between first full week Brussels and studying here. First Mechelen, she ‘In of all, she thinks answered whole‐ Mechelen, the it’s a pity that she heartedly: “In field of study is didn’t know Mechelen, the more anything about the field of study is practical in special prepara on more prac cal in comparison to days for foreign comparison to the the more theoretstudents. If she more theore cal ical courses in had known, she courses in Brussels.’ would have had Brussels”. She also the chance to thinks that it’s great that take a guided tour around foreign students in school. The first day Mechelen are supported Elisa was welcomed by Mr. by STIP, an organiza on Van Hoe, the head of the linked to the school, that

department, a erwards she could immediately join the other students. Why study in Mechelen? Eilsa has chosen to study in Mechelen because it’s not that far from Brussels, but far enough to have a new and challenging experience. During the week she is staying at a student’s apartment and during the weekend she goes home to her family in Brussels. It wasn’t very difficult to take the plunge from Brussels to Mechelen. She was already bilingual so she knew the language barrier wouldn’t pose a problem for her. Nevertheless, the challenge remained, as she was about to start from scratch in a new school. We wish her the best of luck! Text Sarah Soetens

Taking the plunge Interview with Isabelle Birot Taking the plunge Never far away, but an experience that s ll counts today!! A er the interview with Isabelle I have some nice informa on to tell you readers! Isabelle decided to enter an exchange programme in Tourism at the University College Galilée in 2010‐2011. So she was an outgoing student from Thomas More going for a double degree in Brussels. She thought it would be an interes ng adventure to improve her French. It turned out to be a posi ve exchange since the programme is giving her a double degree. She took this opportunity to give herself be er perspec ves for her future career. A closer look at the double degree Let me explain a li le more about a double degree. When you are studying the school might give you the opportunity to go and study abroad or in another school in Belgium. The condi on is that you go and study in another language for a year. The government provides a double degree for those who complete studying a year in an‐ other language succesfully.

weren’t very sociable towards You might feel nervous about Erasmus students. A going to another school all competence she really gained alone, right? Don’t be! Isabelle was independence. She didn’t wasn’t alone. She was get that much help and had to accompanied by another find out everything by herself. student from her class. The The school didn’t organize an reason behind her decision to informa on day before they stay and obtain a double arrived. The welcoming at degree in Belgium the school also was a was because she A ones in a li le difficult because wasn’t ready to miss lifetime they had to take the her family and boy‐ experience ini a ve to make contact friend for such a and to find new friends. long me. During the Through these tough week she didn’t stay in experiences she has made a Brussels. She took a train and good friend with whom she is in bus home every day, because it contact regularly. wasn’t such a big distance between Antwerp and Brussels so it wasn’t very me consum‐ ing. So she didn’t have to miss her family. At that me the University College Galilée was the only school that provided this programme of a double degree. Differences I asked her if there were any differences in comparison to Thomas More. She replied that the atmosphere was more relaxed. The teachers have a kinder a tude towards stu‐ dents because it isn’t such a big school as Thomas More. The only thing that surprised her was that the French students

The language barrier She didn’t feel like the language barrier was a problem. She a ended two extracurricular ac vi es in French, namely training for first medical aid and a training for the anima on of disabled people. I think we can conclude that it takes a lot of courage to go and study somewhere she didn’t know a lot of people, but overall I think it made her stronger, more independent and more ready to leave school and have a future career! Text Lynn Zaman

Big step, big change? Interview with Martin Monserez This is the story of Mar n interes ng. Last year Mar n’s Monserez,a student who entered school in Tournai had already the Erasmus Belgica exchange organized a mutual project programme. Mar n will be between their school and Thomas studying at Thomas More Mechelen for a period of 5 More. It also was some kind of months. At the end of this exchange programme during semester he will be returning to which the students from both the Haute École Louvain‐en‐ schools had to work together. Hainaut in Tournai where he will This is why Mar n already knew finish his studies as a Bachelor in a few students here in Mechelen Communica ons Management. so he wouldn’t be by Mar n chose to enter the programme to “Everybody is himself when he came here and he was sure improve his Dutch. He really that the atmosphere would like to find a job supportive!” in communica on so it here is be er than is important that he elsewhere. speaks French as well as Dutch. He thought about studying in Mechelen for a whole year but he So Mar n, how has it been so had heard from other students far? “Well, I have to say that it has that this would be rather difficult. been great so far. I get to improve Studying in another school where my Dutch by taking classes here they speak another language is and become more independent hard enough as it is. Mar n was afraid that he wouldn’t pass all by joining the programme. On top the exams when he would be in of that I was also offered the the programme for the en re opportunity to par cipate in the year. In Mechelen there are more third year project. Everybody has classes he has to take so the been really suppor ve and workload is bigger. He didn’t want helping me out whenever to take on more than he could chew so that’s why he opted to go necessary so I feel great here.”

You can study so many different things here. This is not the case in Hainaut. There all the fields of study are divided between several ci es. The school in Mons, for example, offers Business Management but not Communica on so you would have to go to Tournai to study this.

to Mechelen for just one semester. In this way he would be able finish his year in Tournai where is more familiar with the language and the classes.

Do you want to say anything to other students considering to enter the programme? “Yes, I would like to encourage them to do so. It is such a wonderful experience and you learn a lot here!”

He preferred Thomas More to the other ins tu ons because he had some good experiences with this school. Here he could specialize in events which he finds very

Are there any differences between your school in Tournai and the on here in Mechelen? “Here the school is much bigger and there are a lot more students. In Tournai there are also less students a ending the classes. In Mechelen the school also offers a bigger range of bachelor degrees.

Have you experienced any difficul es? “I don’t really have any difficul es with courses or students so that’s wonderful. They are all really sociable and friendly. Some mes when they talk amongst themselves it is hard to understand what they are saying because they either speak too fast or they use dialect words, but all and all I’m managing very well. The only thing I struggled with was to find student housing here in Mechelen. All the rooms had already been taken and since I’m only here for 5 months not a lot of landlords wanted to give me a contract for only that period of me. A week before school started I found a place to stay while I’m here in Mechelen so it turned out just fine.

Text Salima El Yagoubi

Maude’s story Interview with Maude Snyers Short introduc on Maude decided to leave Brussels behind this year and came to study in Mechelen. Over here she takes the same courses as she did at Isalt – her University College in Brussels – namely, Tourism and Leisure Management. At the moment she is in the third and last year. Her mo ve? Improving her Dutch and having a personal challenge. But she didn’t come alone, one of her classmates is studying in Mechelen too. Why Lessius Mechelen? Brussels doesn’t offer a lot of Erasmus des na ons, Maude could only choose between Flanders or Tenerife. Since the bachelor degree in Tourism and Leisure Management in Mechelen has a good reputa on, she chose to come here. On top of this she heard a lot of students who had the same experience last year. Living quite near Mechelen was also interes ng, as she can go home every day. More work isn’t necessarily a drawback There is only one parallel, namely the teachers. Teachers are teachers and there is no difference between those in Brussels and those in Mechelen. A big difference is the city. She doesn’t have a lot of me to discover it,

but in general Mechelen is – as In fact, the biggest problem was you might expect – a lot more the administra on and the quiet than Brussels. technology. It took a while before her registra on was Another big difference is the completed and also connec ng quan ty of work, in Mechelen on Toledo, the school’s you have a lot more work and e‐learning environment, wasn’t students are more serious and immediately possible. But be er organized. Since Maude is fortunately, in the end, in her final year, she works a lot everything went smoothly. more on prac cal experience than the past years. She has a lot The biggest challenge: speaking Dutch of assignments, A er a few weeks Maude presenta ons and “Mechelen is could already manage projects and works a lot more very well in Dutch, but o en in team. And all quiet than s ll, she has to make a big Brussels” this work started on effort. It asks a lot of day one! All other energy and it is Erasmus students had a guided exhaus ng. To say it in Maude’s tour in the city, while she was aspirin is already working for her final words: at night an than o en project, which consist of a small more welcome. But it is worth it! business project. Nobody likes a lot of work, but actually it has its advantages too. Maude learned to schedule and having prac cal experience prepares her for the real job next year.

STIP does offer help STIP, the school’s service to help students will definitely offer its help to Erasmus students. Also Maude was helped when she was looking for a student’s room, but in the end she decided to commute, so the help was no longer needed. She s ll receives emails from me to me to invite her to different ac vi es. Unfortunately, she has too much schoolwork and no me le for this.

A warm welcome As she started from day one on the final project, Maude was immediately obliged to get to know the other students be er. Groups were made and the ice was broken. Un l now the coopera on has been passing off fluently, and even though she hasn’t made real new friends, Text Sharon Aerts she feels accepted and good in the group.

Want to know more? These were the stories of 5 students who experienced the effect of par cipa ng in an exchange programme between Thomas More and another school in Belgium. To make sure that you don’t get lost in all the informa on in the interviews and to give you a be er idea of where to turn with any ques ons you might have, we put everything together for you. Briefly, Thomas More Mechelen is very open to welcoming interna onal students. Being a student at Thomas More Mechelen means more than just 'studying'. Student services S p has its own office in each campus. Students can consult these services for almost all of their ques ons. Student service S p together with the Interna onal office will help exchange students at any me. The Interna onal office provides services to all interna onal exchange students who would like to study in Mechelen or students from Mechelen who like to study abroad. Thomas More believes that each exchange student, coming from or to Thomas More Mechelen for a semester or a full year, makes a valuable contribu on to our University College and our student community. The Interna onal Office’s aim is to provide the informa on, help and support that will turn your visit into a rewarding interna onal experience. These are the details of the interna onal office of Thomas More Mechelen for those who would like take the first steps towards the programme or who have ques ons about this subject. Interna onal Office Zandpoortvest 31 2800 Mechelen Belgium Interna onal Educa on Officer Isabel Deprez Phone +32 15 369 117 Email: Did these stories arouse your interest and enthusiasm? Then you should definitely take a look at the following websites: onaal/erasmus‐belgica


The magazine for students who are in for an Erasmus experience in Belgium

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