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Europe

Sarah Ihnat Reflects on Her Time in Brussels, Belgium

With my time abroad quickly coming to a close, I’ve been busy trying to fit in as many things as possible before I go home.  I’ve been traveling to other countries on the weekends, exploring as much of Belgium as possible, and with the end of the semester creeping up, writing papers, doing projects, and studying for exams.

Most weekends this semester I’ve spent visiting other countries in Europe.  Recently though, I’ve been trying to see more of the country that I’ve spent the last three months in. Belgium is divided into three different regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, and Brussels in the center.  There is a large separation between Flanders and Wallonia as Flanders is Dutch speaking and Wallonia is French speaking.  Aside from the language difference, the economic climates between these two regions vary as well, with Flanders flourishing and Wallonia struggling.

After visiting cities in both of these regions, you can see how prevalent the differences are. Antwerp and Ghent are two cities in Flanders that illustrate the economic stability of Flanders.  I’ve visited both of these cities, and they look like they could be part of the U.S. They have public transportation, chain stores, museums, and modern buildings.Ghent

The cities in Wallonia, however, look like they are from a completely different world. Unlike the Flemish cities, they are quaint and antique.  Wallonia looks exactly like what you would expect European countryside to be.  Both of the regions are incredibly different, but I love being able to experience them both and see more of Belgium than just Brussels.

As my time in Brussels is dwindling though, I’m trying to spend more of my time here before I leave.  There are still sights I have to see and a huge Christmas Market I have to take on.  I can’t wait to make the best of these last few weeks of study abroad and attempt to pack in as much humanly possible.  It has easily been the best experience I have ever had and hope that other students will take advantage of this opportunity.  Although leaving Brussels and the people who made my study abroad experience unforgettable will be difficult, I am excited to return to GW and start a new semester.

Au revoir/tot ziens!

Sarah

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