One of the best aspects of this school is the international atmosphere: there are students from over 30 nationalities from all over the world. With this wide variety of people, I wondered how the attitude of the internationals was towards the new town they were going to live in for a full year. I went around in class to ask them about Belgium, living in Antwerp, culture differences and many more. Here's what they told me…
Let's start at the beginning: how did these students from all over the world find out about AMS?
Some students got to know the school through exchange programs: I’m thinking for example about the Ximb college in India or James Madison University in the United States, but most of them found it online through research. When scouting for a highly ranked Business School that offered Supply Chain as a program, they came across Antwerp Management School in Belgium. Fun fact: AMS is one of the only schools that offers the program Global Supply Chain Management and other programs are high up in the rankings as well: for example, the Full-Time Master in Management is ranked no.1 in Belgium and no.29 in the world by the Financial Times.
We all know that studying in AMS takes up a lot of our time and that travelling in Europe sometimes is hard with our busy schedules but did my international friends visited already other cities in Belgium?
Daniella from Colombia told me she preferred Bruges. Here is what she had to say about my little medieval hometown: “It’s the most romantic city and besides that, full of history. Arriving there is a dream: I can describe it as a fairy-tale medieval town. Each corner has a moment and each moment is an experience. The most beautiful moment I have enjoyed is a trip through its canals which I have found a special charm. At the same time, interesting museums and galleries, and amazing architecture I have ever seen.” –Daniella S-
Other popular destinations were Ghent and Brussels. I laughed so hard with the comments of Andrey, my Russian classmate. He was confused with the fact that Brussels was considered a capital, because according to him it looked like a small suburban village. The opinions about our alluring capital were conflicting because Steven and Meredith from the United States, loved the city.
Best Belgian food?
Of course the french fries (I still have no clue why they call them ‘french’??) and amongst my American friends ‘kaaskroket’ are the most adored. Besides that, my classmates fall for the occasional ice cream, mussels, waffles and of course real Belgian chocolate.
Weirdest things Belgians do and biggest adjustment?
We know, we all love our sandwiches during lunch: sometimes with preparé americain, sometimes smos ham kaas but with the constant presence of real Belgian mayonaise, boiled eggs, lettuce and tomatoes. For a lot of nationalities, this is not considered a main course and they were quite shocked that Belgian people had enough with eating a sandwich during lunch. A lot of them were rather hungry the first weeks because they used to eat big, hot meals at home. Other big adjustments were the fact that is too cold (no shit sherlock), less crowded, less noisy, that the shops close at 6PM and of course my all time favourite: that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find food, shops or even people on the streets on a Sunday. On a positive note: a fun and weird thing apparently that we do is drink a lot! Let’s say, it’s to keep us warm during cold weather ;).
I have never thought about it before, but allegedly our sun rises and sets at odd times. For example, it has a completely different schedule than in the tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, at least that’s what Shipra told me.
Best thing about Belgium?
Obvious the PEOPLE! I’m glad to hear that we are perceived as friendly, kind and open people and that everybody immediately feels at home when they arrive in our little country. The internationals love that everybody speaks English here so that there are no language barriers. They also told me they feel like Belgians go out their way to help non-residents with all their problems. I loved hearing these positive comments about us, polyglots
Most hilarious prejudgement they had of Belgian people?
“French speaking racists who swim in fries and beer” -Shipra S-
Shout out to Shipra, Andrey, Tram, Lambert, Daniella, Abi, Rahila… to help me with my contemplation about the perception on Belgium and Belgians.