We, our classmates and a few students from Croatia visited PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hasselt as a part of an international school project.
Hasselt is a beautiful place to visit, especially during the winter season. We travelled to Hasselt during December, so it was a bit weird for us to not see any snow on the ground, as we had just left Finland, a place which was filled with snow.
All of the people we encountered during our trip were polite, helpful and social! We loved every second of getting to know more and more people, some of whom had visited Finland or had Finnish friends.
The biggest cultural difference for us was the lack of snow, but also the architecture and the school life. For example in Finland, it is customary to call the teachers by their first names whereas in Belgium it is customary to call them madam, Mrs, Mr, etc… When thinking about the differences, we realized that even with all of our differences, in tourism and in our personal lives, we were all clicking instantly and gaining new friends.
The university was great, the people were really friendly, as well as the teachers and personnel. Their university was modern and the cafeteria/restaurant was in really good shape, they also served amazing food.
Their way of teaching is different from ours, as they have big auditoriums for every lecture and seminar, whereas we, in Finland, have cosier and more welcoming classes.
Learning and making friends
During our exchange in Hasselt, we learned some things from the speakers, for example information about the Castle of Leut, MICE tourism, SMART theory, SDGs, and Pink flamingos. When visiting the Castle of Leut, we could experience it first-hand, and immerse ourselves in the surroundings of the it. For us, it was a great place to visit, and we would recommend others to visit there too.
Helen: From my point of view, the most impressive activity at the Hasselt exchange was the visit to the castle, as it was the first time I visited a castle and it is a beautiful place!
Overall, we think this experience was great, as it has taught us a lot about different cultures and different people. We made great memories and friends in Hasselt and we would all go back there anytime, just to seek around the beautiful country of Belgium, as the time was a bit limited in the short exchange week we experienced.
Every second was enjoyed, until the last, and we are really thankful for this opportunity and will definitely take part of similar projects in the future.
Text: Alexa Marin, Jasmin Rosengren & Helen Wan, second year International Tourism Management students
Picture: PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts