“Maybe you should apply for the student exchange programme to Belgium.”
And therefore here it goes…
It has already been more than a month since I arrived in Ghent; a fantastic city in Belgium.
The first two weeks life was hectic. Perhaps I should say that the hectic life began on the day I moved out from my university accommodation in Glasgow.
It was all about packing, packing and packing…
First packing was when I had to shift all my stuffs from my room in student residence flat to Tristyn’s place.
(A token of gratitude for Tristyn in favour of letting me to stay in her room during my homeless period. Cheers!)
A day before we flew, again, we had to move all our stuffs to Pei Ling’s place to sort the things that would be brought over and remain in Glasgow. I brought approximately 40kgs luggage to UK and due to the low cost airline policy, I was only allowed to bring maximum 22kgs luggage to Belgium. It was really a challenge to pack. And therefore we compacted the unimportant stuffs but desperate to bring together with Alex’s desktop pc into parcel boxes.
After staying awake for the whole night to pack, we had breakfast with Angeline and then rushed to the train station.
Angeline came to send us off
In the train to the airport
The plane did not land in Charleroi Airport in Belgium but Lille Airport in France. And the blurred I did not realize until we step into the terminal. Initially, I did not understand when they made the announcement that there would be a bus to fetch us in 15 minutes due to the bad weather because what I saw was the bright sky.
while waiting for the free shuttle bus to Charleroi Airport
From Charleroi, we had to get another bus to the Brussels train station for the train to Ghent.
while waiting in the airport
The cookies was all what we had during the long journey
After all the buses and train, we finally reached our destination.
gent train station -so excited!!
in the tram
Most shops were already closed at the time we reached and we had our first dinner in a Turkish pizza shop. It was odd for us to order because the menu was in Dutch and we had to rely on the images.
To settle my life in Ghent was not as easy as the time I arrived in Glasgow. We were clueless about everything. There was neither pre-arranged accommodation nor friends who are familiar with the place. It was not the peak period for students to find accommodation as it was already mid of the study year. Most landlords were reluctant to offer 5-6 months rental. And if we could find one, it was either expensive or not furnished.
We were also not familiar with the language used; most signboards, menus, products brief, posters and advertisements are in Dutch.
It seems more like we were in an adventure trip; leading a nomad life, going thru obstacles and challenges after another.
cycling around the city centre to look for new home
Nevertheless, we managed to get a two bedroom flat with a rooftop terrace. But we were only allowed to move in on the 1st of March which means that we had to stay in the hostel for another two weeks. During this period, the meals we had were pizzas, breads, burgers and fries.
The adventure was more challenging when the hostel accommodation was fully booked during the weekends. Therefore we had to move to bed & breakfast hotel during the weekends and back to hostel during weekdays.
world map at the hostel lounge
B&B hotel room
And for the following weekends, we resided at Maarteen’s house in Steenhuffel and made a day trip in Brussels.
After nomad-ing for two weeks, we finally got the keys for our new flat. It took about a week to make the house a home -cleaning up, getting the household items and stocking up on groceries.
After all, the difficult time is worth it to stay in such a beautiful city.
New home, new kitchen, new living room, new room
ps. we are now experts in packing and moving