Dear future international AMS student,
Are you thinking of studying at AMS, but you want to prepare for what Belgium is like? Look no further! This bundle of quotes, provided by current international students, will give you some insights in what living in Antwerp is like, the city that is named after a guy throwing severed hands in the water (true story, look it up).
The following mix of quotes are things that are funny, heartwarming or just good to know... And of course, some are just praising the Belgian beer culture.
Here we go:
"One of the things I have enjoyed is the value Belgians place on family. While this can manifest itself in frustrating ways like stores being closed on Sundays and the evenings, I personally find it touching to see children walking arm in arm with their parents down the Meir, happy as can be. I don't think that in many other countries you find such a devotion to family." - Eric
"Night shops are a blessing for students like us — sometimes at odd hours, you are just thirsty for something hard, be it whiskey or Gordon, the godfather of all beers. You drink one bottle of Gordon and you're gone. I drank more beers in Belgium than I had drunk from the age since I started drinking beers... Haha!" - Ashutosh
"For me it was hard to get used to the fact that shops don't always accept credit cards, and if you use a debit card they often charge extra." - Marc
"Everyone is always dressed so nice, no one wears their sweat pants to the grocery store and girls and boys all have cool and unique styles. Be prepared to dress presentable." - Erin
"How Belgians perceive distance. A flight from Eastern India city Kolkata to Western Indian city Mumbai is about 3 hours. While a flight from Brussels to Thessaloniki, Greece is 2.5 hours despite being diagonally opposite ends of Europe." - Nitin
"Everyone smiles. That's a culture shock if you're from Poland!" - Michał
"Belgians eat sandwiches for a meal. Bloody weird! Also, the train system is different: there's no overnight trains or trains just get randomly cancelled. Apart from that, the fact that you can drink beer at any time anywhere is amazing." - Kumar
"Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich. What the... :)" - Anonymous
"Belgians don't do much weird stuff aside from just the general laissez-faire attitude. Except Zwarte Piet, and everything you do, Sean." - Sebastian
"A lot of people use bikes. For us, only small kids use them, but it is nice!" - Ekaterina
"There's no free sauce with your fries 😭 and you have to pay for WC!" - Diksha
"When it's someone's birthday in Belgium, instead of people buying them drinks, it's actually the other way around." - Meredith
"I would say it appears that 95% of the total Belgian population have pets..." - Abhisek
"That a lot of Belgians go home on the weekends." - George
"The fact that Belgians can stay out till 5 and be fully functional humans the next day/go to school." - Anonymous
"A nice and beautiful country, where humanity and respect comes first; I loved the respect the 4 wheelers have for bikes, pedestrians and specially challenged people. Respect for drivers who cut down their speed from 80 to 0 just to let a person cross the road. Respect for the government that maintains a lot of places like the Meir street, the church area and the riverside where no vehicles are allowed during the daytime so that people can enjoy the shopping/drinking spree." - Ashutosh
So there you have it! I guess many Belgians will find themselves in these quotes, and many international students will confirm what was mentioned. If you have any more doubts about Belgium after reading this, may I remind you that we are the country of waffles, chocolate, fries and beer. Lots and lots of beer.