About trams and bikes

When I was a little girl, I had a traumatic experience: I fell off my bike I stopped using training wheels. In that moment, at the age of 5, I took one decision that would affect my life style almost 20 years later; I decided to never ride a bike again.

Gent is a small but a dynamic city.  It’s amazing how you can find people in the street since early morning until late into the night every day moving from one place to another. For students in Gent, the cheapest and more practical way to move around is in bikes. However, as you may have already figured, I decided to use public transportation instead of the usual method.

Almost two months ago, I was discovering the daily routines of people in Gent through the eyes of a tourist: surprised on how everyone was so sure on where to get out the trams and buses, amazed on the fast conversation between people in all kind of languages imaginable, and completely overwhelmed with all the noises in the street. I was afraid of getting lost as I was depending entirely on Google Maps so I started to question myself if I’d took the correct choice, but I kept going forward trying to figure out my new life.

The days went by, and suddenly I found myself losing my fears, accepting little challenges like walking a couple of more blocks just to see where I get or even walking all the way from the city center to my studio. I was taking one step at a time.

In this process of adjustment, I’ve surprised myself noticing more details while I’m moving around. Details like the caring dad watching that his kid is safe without taking the fun away, or the young couples and how they look each other with tenderness, I also find joy when I hear the laughs of girls heading to school and I’ve even laughed once I heard a Siberian husky howling to his owner because he was desperate and wanted to get out the tram.

20 years ago, I took a decision based in fear of falling off my bike again, but now I’m certain that life was just preparing to teach me a greater lesson: Don’t be afraid, enjoy the journey. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn how to ride a bike in Lund.

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First week of the IMFSE adventure

After months of impatience and excitement, I finally find myself in Gent, where I am starting off my 2 years long academic adventure called International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering.

I arrived to Gent some days before the beginning of the academic year. Just after the first tour around the city, it came clear to me that this city has much more to offer than just an excellent university. The medieval fortress, astonishing cathedrals, beautiful parks, a romantic lake and channels, in a combination with amazing architecture – just left me speechless. If you add the number of 70.000 students to this magnificent scenery, you can easily get to a conclusion that this city could be one of the best student cities in the World!

I have to admit I might have been a bit afraid of how the first classes would go, how I would react in completely new surroundings, listening to lecturers teaching demanding subjects in English, or how it would look like to work together with colleagues coming from all around the World and with different cultural backgrounds than my own. Fortunately, it didn’t last long before it was obvious that the upcoming two years will be nothing but enjoyable and inspiring.

The lecturers, both the experienced ones, as the ones just starting their careers, are enormously dedicated to their jobs and the relationship with the students. They constantly ask for feedback in order to improve themselves. Moreover, they are giving their best in order to make sure a student comprehends the matter completely and, most importantly, they show respect to us and treat us like equals.

And the last but not the least – my colleagues turned out to be just as great as I hoped they would be – open-minded, utterly selfless and willing to help you out in any possible way; pleasant for discussions and, after a busy day at the Faculty, always up for hanging out and having fun together.

All in all, this semester has started just perfectly, and I am sure it will continue in the same way!

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First semester in Edinburgh

When I was a first year undergraduate student, I found out about The University of Edinburgh, and the thought of studying there crossed my mind. But I could never imagine that after 5 years I will be sitting here in King’s Building watching how Professor lights up a glass of whisky during Fire Dynamics class. It shows how unpredictable life can be.

It has been more than a month since I arrived in Edinburgh. To tell the truth, I was worried in the beginning about how I am going to handle everything: leaving home and facing the unknown world alone. But now, I can say that my doubts were unfounded. I am in one of the most beautiful cities of the world, studying at one of the top universities with the classmates from all over the globe.

The University of Edinburgh welcomed us with a one week program full of various activities. I was amazed at the scale of events from Edinburgh city tours till concerts of well-known bands, and even dancing to the Rave of Thrones by DJ Kristian Nairn aka Hodor. So if there are fans of GoT in Ghent, you missed a chance to meet famous ‘one worded hero’.

Together with the second year students, there are 11 of us in Edinburgh. We all represent different countries and cultures. To know more about each other and to experience unknown cultures, we decided to organize ‘International Dinners’ throughout the semester. So far, we had Malaysian, Belgian, and Kazakh dinners. Here you can see the photo of us taken at Belgian dinner.

I want to say that I am very happy to be here. I believe that this is only the beginning of our journey, and the best is yet to come.

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Our Trip To Iceland

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Our third semester started a couple of weeks ago; we are all back together with also the new students of the first year. This semester, Pasquale, Max, Nemer, Ain and myself are going to start a new adventure at the University of Edinburgh in the UK. As we did last semester in Lund and organized a trip to Lithuania in the beginning of the semester; this time we organized a trip to the beautiful Iceland. It all started when Nemer checked the tickets` prices and found the ticket to Reykjavik to be fair enough. Habib, the first year student decided to join us in this trip and he was so interested to explore Iceland with his new friends. My role was to make the plan of the trip, as we had only 5 days in total; I decided to make a crazy plan to travel all around Iceland in just these 5 days. We rent a car at the airport in Reykjavik and started our journey. First day, the plan was to spend it around Reykjavik, try some local food and to be honest to get used to drive in Iceland!! Habib`s role was to use Google maps in his phone and guide the driver, while Pasqual’s role was to decide the food and drive at night. Iceland was amazing; we saw almost everything over there and did all the widely known stops as Vik, Hofen, famous waterfalls and WE SAW THE NORTHEN LIGHTS!!! HOORAY!!. Yes, we did it; we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. Here you can find a picture for us while the Northern Lights appears clearly in the sky!!.

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I also started my new hobby to take the IMFSE T-shirt with me in every trip and take pictures for it. Here you can find my first trial of the t-shirt`s pictures in Iceland, the picture was taken in one of the famous black beaches of Iceland .

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Next article, I will talk into more details about our trip to Iceland and how we managed to do it with our student budget and also many other photos for the trip !