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DUO-Belgium/Flanders Fellowship Program was established in 2011 with the aim of promoting exchanges of students between Belgium/Flanders and 4 Asian countries (China, India, South-Korea and Vietnam)
on a balanced and permanent basis. In this respect, DUO-Belgium/Flanders requires that a PAIR (two persons)of students will be exchanged in the framework of a cooperative project. After confirming your application eligibility, you can start the application procedure by following the specified instruction. You can find all the application criteria, instructions and other relevant information on the website
* Please note that late and incomplete applications will not be considered.
By LI Xiuming, ASEM DUO exchange student from Tongji University (Academic year 2011-2012)
Hello everyone! I am Li Xiuming, an exchange student in VUB from China. I have finished my exchange student life here, and would like to share my feelings during the past days in VUB. I hope it will have some help for the other exchange students in the future.
There is lots of happiness studying in VUB. When you see the campus, you will like it. It isn’t very big, but it is very quiet. You even could find squirrels in the woods.
I learned more than books. The teaching methods in VUB were different from them in Tongji University. Such as, everyone could and liked to ask questions at any time during class time. But in China, students couldn’t or don’t like to ask questions. They like to solve them by themselves more than through a group or the others.
What’s more, almost every teacher would like to give us some group assignments. In China, we usually do assignments alone. Actually, I like group assignments. It is very fascinating. My group members came from five different countries. We could do our best together to work on our assignments and then talk about different experiences.
Besides, some teachers invited some CEOs from companies to give us wonderful lectures. So we could know the real use of what we learned at class. In China, we usually don’t have so many chances to listen to this kind of lecture at class. Maybe sometimes the School of Economics and Management would invite some CEOs, but it isn’t so often at a small class. I think because there are too many students in China.
I think I am lucky to have studied here. Beyond knowledge, I learned the methods of teaching and learning.
2. Off-Campus Activities
There are lots of classmates from different countries, so everyone is interested in the others for their different culture. And it makes any party easy to attract students. I want to share some small and interesting experience here.
The first unforgotten story happened in a small bar in the central of Brussels. Actually, it was a small party that everyone shared their different experiences. We had six young boys and girls around a small table in the bar. Everyone chose his or her favorite beer or wine and then we shared our experiences or something like that. Because everyone came from different countries, for example Germany, Italy, England, China, it was very interesting to learn about their stories with different culture. For me, it was a window to enjoy European culture and for them, it was also a door to see a different world. I really liked this kind party. And it gave me a good memory.
The second story was about my assignment group. Our group members were also from different countries. They were all very nice. We did our best together to finish our two pieces of assignment. Besides, we exchanged our thoughts about the world and our life choice in the future. I remember Nastasja held a birthday party. It was very different from Chinese Party. At that party, Nastasja offered lots of different kinds of wine and European food. We listened to music, dance and taste different delicious food together. It was a good opportunity for me to join European young group and enjoy their life. It would be a good memory for me wherever I go.
Besides, I travelled a lot in Belgium and out of Belgium in the weekends and holidays. In Belgium, I went to Brugge, Gent, Luven and Waterloo. Every city or town was very beautiful and full of history breath. In Brugge, I saw The Church of Our Lady, The Provinciaal Hof and so on. It was amazing that different architecture in Middle Ages could be protected so well. I loved this country more when I traveled more. Besides, I also travelled out of Belgium. I travelled to Netherland and Germany. And it was a meaningful trip. It offered me a very good chance to learn different countries’ culture by myself.
3. Things learned from exchange experience
Most of all, I learned how to live well and take care of myself in a completely unfamiliar country. For example, insurance, contracts and foreign register in Belgium.
Moreover, it was the first time for me to live in a foreign country, which was so far away from China, for so long time that about five months. I had no friends, no relatives and nothing except myself and two bags. Everything was new for me when I got out of the airplane and walked on the earth of Belgium. It was really a large challenge for me to survive at first. But as we all knew, one could learn very fast when he lives in an unfamiliar place. So it was also a good chance to grow up to be a real man. I had a learning heart and I was optimistic.
Everything began familiar with me soon after one month. I made new friends in and out of university with people from different countries. And I learned lots from them about their countries and their culture. For example, once I didn’t understand what Accounting teacher said in class, so I went to ask her. At the same time, another girl also went to ask questions. I just thought it was a good chance to make new friends and I gave up asking the teacher and turned to ask her. And then I knew she was from Bulgaria and we became friends.
Of course, I came across some problems. At the beginning, I couldn’t understand what the teachers spoke. Because I learned American English in China, but here teachers’ mother tongue may be Italy French. It was a little difficult for me to understand their French English or Italy English. As days flowed, I could follow them little by little.
I learned their culture, their life, their special English and their way to think about the world and so on. In a word, I learned very much through this program.
4. Advice to future exchange student fellows
This is a very good opportunity for students. You can study and enjoy a different kind of life in a different country. Besides, you can travel. So time is very import. It would be better to make a good plan. Of course, sometimes you shouldn’t be stuck in the plan. In other words, your plan should be flexible.
What’s more, for exchange life usually not too long, you need do something that can be done only there first. Such as, you can taste different kinds of chocolate in Brussels. You can enjoy local traditional restaurant with your foreign friends.
As China is very far from Europe, it is a good idea to travel to some other Europe countries during this exchange time.
Of course, you should treat your study seriously. It is not so easy to pass every exam. But, don’t worry too much. It is not hard if you study well at class and do some review after class.
In a word, don’t waste this precious chance and enjoy your exchange life.
At last, I would like to say thank you for this perfect program and everyone helped me in the program. It is a window for me to learn European different culture, history, scenery and life. The exchange life will be my precious memory and I won’t forget it forever. I will miss you, VUB and Brussels.