A balance between studies and travels

belgium-art

There is a moment as an IMFSE student, where you have to answer an important question: where are you going for your first semester? In my case, the answer was very clear. I was going to Gent.

The main reason to choose Gent was that is in the beautiful country of Belgium, which I had the opportunity to visit before hand and simply couldn’t resist loving it. One thing I love is how easy you can travel between cities. For example, you can travel from Gent to Brussels taking only 40 minutes of your time at a reasonable price.

I think that all the IMFSE students enjoy to discover new places and to experience new things, that is why Belgium is so perfect. In between your classes and study schedules you can save dates to travel inside Belgium or even dare to go further and travel to France, Germany, Netherlands and Luxemburg, they’re really close and tickets (by bus, plane or train) are not that expensive if you plan your trip with time.

In my case, I’m trying to make a 1 day trip inside Belgium every 2 or 3 weeks, as I believe is important to find a balance between study time and the recreational time. Next week I’ll share with you one of my previous travel experiences in this lovely country.

Oh! by the way, here is a really useful link if you want to know more about ticket prices in case you want to come and visit and also a picture with the location of Belgium in the map. Now, can you see why I think it’s convenient for finding the balance between studies and travel?

belgium-rail-map

 

Advertisements

DISCOVERING FLEMISH FRIES

A passion for science, traveling, meeting new people and exploring new countries and cultures, fire – IMFSE students share all of them. However, being a hedonist as I am, what cheers me up the most is that we all share a huge passion for good fries!

After consulting internet and, more importantly, our omniscient Belgian colleague Arjan, we decided to try out several most popular places in Gent (famous Frituurs).

First one to visit was, of course, the Google’s (and most of the “Ghentians’”) number one of the best frituurs – “De Frietketel”. The place itself is really cute, and we really enjoyed the time there. Unfortunately (and probably due to high expectations) the fries turned out to be not so special as we’d heard.

fries-fingers

Next one in line was, as expected, the famous Overpoort place – “De Gouden Saté”. Our choice went naturally to their specialty, called Julientje. I would put this one in a category of heavy “snacks”, since it is actually a combination of fries with two sauces and two kinds of sliced meat. This meal was great, but if you are still rather in only for regular fries, you won’t be mistaken. Finishing the portion here was a real challenge for us, but IMFSE students never give up!

While biking towards Zwijnaarde technology park every Thursday, we couldn’t help but notice an always busy fries-place called “’t Blauw Kotje”. It took us no time to decide where our next stop will be! I have one thing to say: this decentralized fries-place means only one thing – extraordinary fries, and for sure better than in aforementioned places.

lepo-sredjen-kolaz-3-komada

And last, but not least: frituur “Sint Jacobs”. This frituur makes, without any doubt, the best fries I have ever tasted (and I’ve tasted some, trust me). They are perfectly thick, but in the same time so soft and delicious! A combination of these fries with my newest discovery called Joppie sauce, made this simply a remarkable friexpirience!

P.S. A fun fact I have recently found out: the word French-fries comes from the verb to french (= to slice), and has actually nothing to do with France! Then I couldn’t help but wonder: which etymological development did the Flemish have in mind when naming their fries “Flemish fries” 🙂 ?

Travel around as an IMFSE student

img_2002

 

As promised in my last blog to give details about my experience in traveling around with our student budget. This blog I will give few advises based on this experience and will show some examples and nice pictures from our trips.

As students with limited budget, we need to count every cent we are paying but at the same-time we want to enjoy our trip as much as we can. Based on that, I can give you some advises to make use of your time and money while backpacking around Europe as an IMFSE student.

  1. Check the cheap flights,  there are many applications that you can download to do that for you. Some of them you can just give the dates you will be available and it will choose the cheapest destinations for you (we did that for our trip to Lituania). In case you are flexible with the dates but you want to visit a specific place; these applications can still find the cheapest dates for you (we did that for our trip to Iceland).
  2. Dont take much luggage , it is so important to have only one small bag during your travels. As students/travelers we dont need that much stuff to carry, first, to avoid paying for luggage during our flights (which will be too much money), second, to easily travel and move around during our trips.
  3.  Travel with friends,it is not just too much fun to travel with your friends,however, it make it cheaper, safer and more organized. As an IMFSE student, you don’t have to worry about this point , you will always find someone wants to join you during your trip.Well, where can you find people with high interest in traveling around more than the IMFSE  students ?!!

    dsc_0766
    Enjoying a game in Lituania
  4. Stay in hostels, the hostel is the best place to stay while traveling as a student. In hostels, you can find many people of the same age, having the same interest and from many different backgrounds. You will not only know new friends, but will easily enjoy the trip with your friends even during the night time, you can cook together and chat till you go to have a nice sleep in your hostel`s room. I can remember when we all went to Lituania last semester, the eight of us stayed in the same room and cooked our food together , it was too much fun !
  5. Rent car ! this is only applicable when you want to visit places that are usually far from the cities` centers and is expensive to book a tour. Iceland was a great example of this point. We saved hundred of euros when we rented a car and the four of us shared the driving and the price.

    img_7661
    Our Car during Iceland Trip
  6. Cook and eat from the supermarkets, it is always great to try the local food anywhere you go and of course it is part of the adventure. However, It is highly recommended to ask about the main or the national dish of the country and try it. Other than that, try to cook at the hostel or get ready-made sandwiches from the supermarket. You will save too much money !!

    To summarize, there are much more advises to give when talking about traveling, however, it is always interesting to experience it out by yourself . My main advice will be to enjoy the IMFSE and make use of everyday you have during the program !!!