A Letter to a Stranger

Dear Adriana-from-September-before-leaving-for-the-experience-of-a-lifetime, It is December 14th, 2022, exactly one week before I am flying back to the States for the holidays. I am currently sitting in a new coffee shop I discovered this past weekend with my friend from Barcelona. They have amazing tiramisu here, and their hot chocolate is to die for. Today, I…

A Pinterest “Vision Board” in the Works

With each week that goes by, my heart becomes more and more torn at the thought of leaving Belgium. I would place myself in the denial stage of grief at the moment; I refuse to believe that I only have about a month and a half left. On some nights, I feel as though I…

The “Savoir-Vivres” of Brussels

In one of my first French classes at Université Libre de Bruxelles, we had a lively discussion about the “savoir-vivres” of Belgian life, and I, as a freshly-arrived and still moderately-slow French speaker, tried as hard as I could to keep up with the language while also really taking note of the “savoir-vivres” we were…

My Journey away from a Google Maps Dependency

I will not sugar-coat it; I was miserably stressed in my first weeks here in Brussels. Now, after nearly two months of living here, I laugh at my early-September-self for feeling so hopeless. Pre-Brussels-Adriana could never imagine that I would be able to find my way around the city without using Google Maps, that I…

Expectations versus Realities While Studying in Brussels

Before arriving in Belgium, my stomach was in knots from worry, wondering what it would be like to study, to make friends, and to create a feeling of “home” in a foreign country. I expected my courses to be as challenging and rigorous as my courses at Pitt, but with the added dimension of being…

Making Brussels “Home”

The beginning of my study abroad experience was very similar to the typical freshman-moving-into-college-and-leaving-mom-and-dad-for-the-first-time experience. The only difference is that this time, I am in an entirely new country that has a completely different system for handling student housing! Unfortunately, Université Libre de Bruxelles does not offer their exchange students on-campus housing, so it was…

Excuse my French…

Landing in Brussels after an exhausting flight (and a 10 hour layover!!), I saw a huge sign in the airport that said “Bienvenue à Bruxelles!” Thankfully, I understood this elementary level French, but I knew that a bigger challenge awaits. I chose this program particularly because of the incredible opportunity provided by the Université Libre…

Up Next, Brussels!

Bonjour! My name is Adriana, and I am just a week away from embarking on an exciting journey to Brussels, Belgium as a part of the Panther Exchange Program with Université Libre de Bruxelles! This exchange program stood out to me particularly because of the incredible opportunity to perfect my French; in fact, all of…