Postcard from Abroad: Leuven, Belgium

By Contributing Writer Justin Herring

Coming into college, I had never flown on an airplane in my entire life.  Since entering college, I have flown to and from Florida twice for the Haverford baseball team’s annual Spring training trip.  With minimum experience traveling alone, I was a little nervous to say the least when it came time to step through security and leave my parents at the airport to finally begin my journey to Belgium.  However, when I landed, all my anxiety went away.  There was a representative from KUL (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) waiting to pick me up at the airport, and about two hours later, I reunited with three of my closest when their flight landed.

The decision to study abroad with three of my closest friends has been one of the best decisions of my life.  Not only would it be tough to not have people to hang out with, to take classes with, or go Euro tripping with, but it would be very difficult to adjust to a new country’s culture by myself.  Most Belgian students go home on the weekends so, unlike America, where Friday and Saturday are the best nights to go out, it is the week nights that are the best nights to go out in Belgium.  Considering that Leuven has a population of about 100,000, around half of which is university students, the weekends can be very quiet.  This has by far been the weirdest custom to adjust to, especially since many young students in Leuven like to stay out until four or five in the morning.  I have three 9 AM classes and am reluctant to stay out that late on week nights (even though I have done it once).  I am glad my friends are here so we can have a good time whenever we want, without having to stay out until five on a Wednesday morning.

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