U bent hier
In 2016, Victoria Hernandez finished the Master in Communication with a focus on New Media and Society in Europe. She gratefully wrote us her experience because she would like the VUB community to know about the program’s impact on international students like herself. Enjoy her inspiring story.
“As I am about to graduate I am looking back, and I think it has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Coming from Mexico, I had a lot of doubts about going so far away to study. How would I cope in a country of French and Dutch speakers, when I know neither language? Would I be able to adapt to the chaos of city life in Brussels? And was the Belgian weather really as frightful as I had heard? It definitely was.”
“I took the decision to come and I’m beyond happy I did, because I don’t regret even one minute. From the moment I walked into the admissions office at the VUB, the staff was very helpful and friendly. The person that processed my papers could even speak Spanish! I was delighted to see the attitude of everyone around me and also to discover the campus. The ‘welcome days’ really helped me understand what the university stands for and to really to get a glimpse of what the Master’s
was going to be like. I had a chance to meet my professors, my future friends and to get familiar with the environment that I was going to be in for the next year.”
I feel the program is well developed because we have covered a handful of topics and have had the chance to see how all the subjects are intertwined. I’ve even had the honor to have lectures with professors like the new elected
rector Caroline Pauwels, guests lecturers like Thierry Geerts (Country Director of Google Belgium) and special field trips like a visit to the European Commission. Another reason I believe the program to be well-developed is the fact that it is very interactive. You have the option to study, but also a lot of time for hands-on experience. For example, I took the optional traineeship for 12 ECTS instead of two 6 credit courses and I got even more immersion than some of my colleagues, not to mention some curricular experience.
As the year is coming to an end the only thing that saddens me is that I did not have the opportunity to meet a lot of Belgians. Given the fact that the program is completely in English and mostly with internationals, I don’t think Belgians feel the need to study our program. Since they can easily go to the Dutch program, we did not have the chance to talk to them at all. I do not have the exact numbers for the class but I would safely say 90% are international students and a solid 45% are non-EU.”
The VUB has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in a multi-linguistic, diverse environment. The people that I’ve met have greatly expanded my ambitions and horizons. The exams have challenged me like no exams had ever before and the amount of knowledge that I have acquired is more than three times what I thought I would learn. I am absolutely thankful for all it. The VUB has showed me that institutions that are looking out for their students still exist and everything from the free notebooks to the career center, the restaurant food and the sports activities speaks for itself. Lastly, I learned that if you try hard enough, once they are talking Flemish people can be kind and you will always find a friend in them.”
“Thank you VUB for everything”
“I am so happy I chose the VUB to do my masters. I leave completely satisfied with everything that I have experienced this year and I believe if more people knew the positive impact that it had in my life, more people would come and wouldn’t be afraid to try it. I guess it is up to me to spread the word now. This Master’s has changed my life. After I graduate I would eveh like to find a job here in Belgium. Thank you VUB for everything.”
Thank you for your e-mail, Victoria!
VUB supports international students
The International Relations & Mobility Office is the central office at the VUB that supports international students coming to VUB from all over the world. The aim is to help students settle in the city of Brussels. To achieve this, the International Relations & Mobility Office does multiple activities to support the International Students.
The welcome desk is open from Monday to Friday from 9h00 till 17h to help students with all general questions and issues they might encounter – from support with registration at the commune, or helping them search for housing to giving them information on health insurance.
The Office also organises two Orientation Days at the beginning of the academic year. Orientation Day 1 is to give the students the possibility to get to know VUB, their classmates, gives a short overview of the administrative tasks they need to follow up on and provides them with a campus tour around the University.
Orientation Day 2 takes place two weeks later. This event offers more practical tips and tricks to the students, as well as an info fair that offers the chance to talk to the different services and follow up on current issues they might still have to resolve.
Furthermore there is an International Buddy System in cooperation with the Erasmus Student Network – a student organisation that offers social & cultural activities for international students - where international students are matched to local Belgian students that can help them find their way through the University life.