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Experience MORE Content

Travel Guide

Editorial

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La Universidad de Sevilla

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Boa Vista, here I come!

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With view of Lake Manyara

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5 “Everything Fried? That’s not my cup of tea!”

Editorial office Elisabeth Mossoux Astrid Devos Jasper Vleugels Yoni De Lauw

3 December 2012

Are you afraid of the unknown? There is no reason to! In this issue of “Experience MORE” our fellow students at Thomas More University College will explain why.


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Editorial Travelling abroad is an exciting, refreshing experience. You meet other cultures, learn to adapt to their customs and cope with the differences that form a barrier between you and your host country. The majority of students who decide to continue their studies here in Mechelen have already paddled in the pool of global possibilities. They have travelled to distant or nearby places for merely a couple of days or weeks. While these journeys are often very enriching, most of them are restricted to swimming and going to beaches. Thomas More wants to go a tad further. We offer several internships as well as study programs abroad! A perfect balance between exploration, relaxation and work will get you further in life – and you may take this pretty literally. You’re a daredevil and you don’t shy away from far distances and alien cultures? Then you might well be interested in destinations such as  Shanghai (China),  Bloemfontein (South-Africa),  Boa Vista (Cape Verde),  Gisborne (New-Zealand),  Sucré (Bolivia),  Paramaribo (Suriname) or  Getamock (Tanzania).

The list is inexhaustible. You can even suggest your own internship to the international office if it’s an added value to your current training. Do you think these places are too unfamiliar and would you like to develop yourself in a safer environment that is closer to home? This is entirely possible as well. We also offer study programs and internships in European countries. You could go to…  Spain  The United Kingdom  The Netherlands  Switzerland  Italy  …

In short: it doesn’t matter what type of student you are, the world is always open for you. And so is the door to the International Office for any of your questions. Still not convinced? Read the interviews on the next pages and see what your fellow students think about their internship or study abroad!


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La Universidad de Sevilla Many students want to travel while they level at the university in Sevilla. In Mech- loved ones can always come and visit him have the chance, while they are still young and while they have no obligations. A few weeks ago we met Jelle Van Den Eede, who’s now in his second year of Intercultural Relations Management. From 4 February he will be in Spain on an Erasmus study in Sevilla for one semester. Although there were only 2 places available, he was lucky and got the chance to go!

A new culture

elen he studies at Thomas More, a university college. La Universidad de Sevilla is a university with a higher level, so he fears the thick books. The first weeks of getting to know the other students can be nerveracking, but he remains positive. We’re sure Jelle is going to do just great.

once in a while. In fact he’s used to being alone for longer periods of time. And of course, there’s always Skype!

A big difference

Even when it’s difficult to say whether you’re going to change after a trip or not, Jelle thinks he’s going to get a different Costs perspective on certain issues. He’s cerJelle is very pleased that he doesn’t have tainly going to compare the situation in to pay any registration costs. The only Spain with home. Nothing is as good as thing he must pay for are his own books home. Spain is suffering from the ecoand food, but that’s no different from nomic crisis, but it isn’t sure whether the home. Jelle is getting a scholarship of Erasmus students are going to feel the €350, enough for a dorm with everything impact of that crisis. included. There is even a Facebook page Studying in Sevilla is going to be a breathof the dorm where students can see pictaking experience for Jelle! tures before really living in it. So he alWe refer to the website for more inforready has an idea what it will look like. mation on La Universidad de Sevilla: Jelle is going to share an apartment with 4 http://www.us.es/ . other students. This is a great way to meet people from all over the world. Going out and making trips is a part of the life of every exchange student. Different trips are being organized for all the students for example to Morocco for only €160 for about 4 days. Of course Jelle has to pay for those trips himself, but it’s worth it. When he’s in Sevilla he wants to visit the surrounding villages and all the things to see in Spain.

Jelle has been dreaming for years of going abroad and discovering new cultures and societies. He is really looking forward to going to Spain. Even though he’s going to miss his girlfriend, there’s no way to stop him. He has already visited Spain different times and he’s aware of the cultural differences. His grandmother is Spanish and his father half-Spanish, so that’s why he has always visited the east of Spain. Now he’s going to visit the South of Spain for the first time, so that’s really exciting. It’s a very good thing that Jelle is good at understanding Spanish and able to speak Spanish fluently. He learned this from his grandmother and his father. But even if Jelle couldn’t speak Spanish as smoothly, he would have done it. You could say he’s quite the daredevil, because he loves takThe thing he misses the most ing risks. He loves the challenge! It’s quite remarkable that Jelle is going to miss his job the most, because he truly The nerves kick in It is remarkable that even when he’s go- needs the money and working a lot has become a habit. Being apart from his girling to Sevilla and he’s going to leave his regular life behind for a while, the nerves friend is one of the toughest things, but haven’t kicked in yet. He hasn’t got major she’s going to visit him during the Easter concerns. The only thing he truly fears is holidays. Moreover, Jelle is going to miss his family, but not as badly. All his bethe


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Boa Vista, here I come! Going abroad. It’s something a lot of students have on their minds. And so does Shari. Shari Meynen is a student in Communication Management and she’s going to do her internship in Boa Vista, an island of Cape Verde.

New Zealand or Boa Vista? As many students, Shari doubted where she would do her internship. At first, she set her mind on going to New Zealand because there’s an organisation that puts on swimming events. Being a swimmer herself, she was really interested in getting something more out of her hobby. But eventually she chose for the project in Boa Vista because of her best friend. He desperately wanted to go abroad for his internship but he didn’t want to do it on his own. So Shari decided to go with him. She and twenty other students of Thomas More will go and help the people at Boa Vista!

Red tape and preparations Thinking about where you’re going isn’t the only aspect of going abroad. There’s much more! A lot of paperwork has to be filled in and essential preparations should be made. Luckily, Geert, the coach of the project, helps and coordinates everything well. “This paper should be handed in by then, that document should be filled in by then, tickets are cheap at the moment so book them now!” All this information is given by Geert and it’s well appreciated by all of the twenty students. Due to the poverty in Boa Vista, the students aren’t able to stay in a host family. So they rented five apartments in one building. In each flat four students will live together. It’s

not expensive at all and there will be some kind of luxury. Well, it’s how you interpret the word luxury. It will be better than most of the local houses. However, it still doesn’t compare to Belgian luxury. Yet, living with four people in one apartment with only one bedroom isn’t what they call privacy over here. That’s certainly something Shari is going to miss.

The internship The term ‘internship’ is a word that carries a broad meaning. Her internship at Boa Vista, however, is already completely clear to her. Together with her fellow students, Shari will start several campaigns to sensitize for better hygiene or sexual diseases. Raising people’s awareness of these issues can really help them. They will be handing out condoms and organising evenings about hygiene, for example. For at least one event, Shari will be the project leader and have the final responsibility.

One last word It’s clear; Shari is really counting the days! She is super excited about discovering a whole new culture and a whole new way of living. It’s an opportunity to finally show to her parents and her family that she is independent and that she is able to live on her own. There’s only one small problem… Shari is a little worried; “I think the hardest part will be to live by rules again. I’m sure my parents and I will clash the first weeks. Once you sampled freedom…” We already wish Shari and her fellow students a lot of success in Boa Vista! The organization she’s about to work for needs all help it can get. If you’re interested in helping them on an internship, be sure to visit their website,

http://www.boavistaomundo-vzw.be/ .


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With a view on Lake Manyara Tanzania, an Eastern African country below the equator, is known for its safari's and white beaches with a clear blue sea. Katinka Zegers, who studies for teacher at Thomas More University College, is attracted to this country due to her previous studies in Ghent, where she studied African languages and cultures. She will soon leave for Tanzania, but not on a tourist trip. You’ll find out below the intricate reason for her travels.

A Belgian in Tanzania Friday afternoon, Katinka arrived at school and we introduced ourselves to each other. Katinka’s eyes sparkled as soon as we mention Tanzania. After a few minutes, it became clear that Katinka is not just a typical tourist who leaves Belgium for the climate of Tanzania. She’s about to go on a fourmonth internship in Aruscha, a village with a view on Lake Manyara. She will teach English to young students in the Getamock Sekondari High School, using her own books that she bought here in Belgium.

Preparations and costs It's not so obvious to leave for a country that is situated 12 500 kilometers away. Therefore, an adequate preparation is needed. An international passport, a visa and "the Yellow Book", a booklet that indicates which diseases you're vaccinated against, are obliged if she wants to enter the country. The bureaucratic rules are very strict in Tanzania. Katinka is not only conscious of these documents, but also of future costs. These costs include beverages, nutrition, souvenirs, accommodation and a plane ticket and are estimated at approximately 3000 Euros. She pays the greater part of these costs.

Competences Katinka is convinced that this unique occasion will change her on a personal level and she is not afraid to face a culture shock. The competences she already has will certainly be very useful to soften this shock. For example, creativity and self -reliance will be very important as she will stay in a house without running water. Furthermore, she looks forward to learning more about

sustainability and the environment of Tanzania because she is curious about the differences between Belgium and the much bigger Tanzania.

What about family and friends? The strong bond with her parents, in particular with her dad, will make it hard to leave. Due to this bond, it’s also quite difficult to talk about her internship at home. Nevertheless, she gets full support of her parents. Leaving for Tanzania without any friends will be tough, as well. Before she leaves for this four-month internship, she’s planning to throw a party to say goodbye to her friends. An internet or mobile connection is difficult to find in Tanzania, so she must come up with some solutions to maintain contact with her motherland. However, Katinka is aware of all these things and she is well prepared to leave. Nothing can stop her now!

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“Everything Fried? That’s not my cup of tea!” The United Kingdom is a popular destination for students who wish to travel abroad. England is just around the corner – if you don’t take the sea into account- and its culture doesn’t differ that much from ours in the end. Besides, you get to experience the wonderful English language in all its glory.

same goes for beer. In general, the British love to go for a drink after a college day. To end the day well, there’s always a football game to watch in the UK. As an alternative, you can attend one of the many college parties or go to fancy discotheques, but remember: night life ends at 2 am.

West Yorkshire in northern England, 1 pm. Trix van der Mark, who aspires to be an Interior Designer, gets home early from her college campus. Suddenly, she hears a continuous buzz coming out of her laptop. It’s an incoming Skype call from us, eager to find out how she manages in Leeds Art College and its surroundings. And we were in for a treat. Despite some lag on the call here and there, we were able to grasp exactly what living and studying in that part of England is all about.

The last one standing

Flexibility all around

A final message from Trix

Typically, a college day in Leeds starts at ten in the morning and ends at four in the afternoon. The homework she gets doesn’t compensate for the few contact hours she has. She struggles to keep herself busy. A huge contrast with college life in Mechelen according to Trix, but she recalls why. The costs of higher education in the United Kingdom are enormous. Students therefore often work three days a week so the contact hours and actual workload need to be in tune with that.

“Going abroad is an enriching experience. People are so welcoming and kind and you get to know how others envision the world. In my opinion, going really far or staying close to home isn’t that much of a difference. In the end you’re away from home and you learn incredibly much. You create a second home and meet interesting new people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. And that’s what counts.” Do you want to learn more about Trix and her trip in specific? Read her blog at http://trixishier.waarbenjij.nu/

Life outside college Due to her flexible schedule, Trix has had quite some opportunities to enjoy life outside Leeds Art College. Leeds is one of the four biggest student cities in England, so the food is catered to students and comes at a relatively low price. Beware though, because most of the things you buy will be fried. She acknowledges that you should cook your own meals every once in a while in order not to gain thirty pounds. Your everyday shopping will be a bit more expensive than in Belgium, but the prices are comparable. The

Not every fairytale has a happy ending. Leeds Art College has been cutting some courses. As such, Trix had to find a solution and start attending some workshops. Moreover, the Interior Design course will be completely cancelled next year so students who wish to tread in the footsteps of Trix will be disappointed. Don’t worry, though, because there are still tons of other colleges to explore in the UK for students of different courses!


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And now? It’s your turn! These students, however different they might be in practice, all have one thing in common: they are about to be ambassadors of Thomas More. And they are about to experience a completely new facet of their lives. Did these articles tickle your sense of curiosity? Did you feel the fear inside of you fade away? Then wait no more and visit our International Office on Zandpoortvest 31 for more information, or send us an e-mail on international@lessius.eu . Before you know it, you’ll be right on track to become Thomas More’s next ambassador!

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