Each semester in different countries has its perks but also has that period in the beginning when you have to adapt to a new country, new culture, new rules, and new living. Spending my summer in Ghent was helpful to get to know the city before the start of the semester. Since that was my first time in Belgium, upon arrival I did not know how to get around the city, where to go for grocery shopping, or where to buy cheap household and other things for a living. Now that I have been here for 3 months already, I think I can give some tips for students arriving for the first time in Ghent.
These tips are random but will save you some time and money during your arrival and stay in Ghent.
– As you may already know, if you are arriving in Brussels airport you can take direct trains to Ghent. If you are arriving in Brussels Charleroi you can take Flibco bus. For Flibco, buying tickets online from their website will save you time and money because usually there is a queue at the ticketing office and some added costs.
– To get around Ghent by public transportation, download the app “De Lijn,” – 1 ticket costs 1.8 euro, but for 15 euros you can get 10 tickets.
– When I arrived in Ghent on Sunday, I was quite shocked to see that almost all grocery and convenience stores and other places were closed during that day. So, if you are arriving on Sunday or want to buy groceries on Sunday, Proxy Delhaize is open on Sundays until 8 pm (There is one near the dorms).
– Proxy Delhaize accepts any forms of payment: Visa, Master Card, American Express, Maestro, and cash. Another grocery store, Albert Heijn, unfortunately, does not accept Visa or Master Card, so get your Maestro or cash ready if you go there.
– To buy cheap household and other things for your room, you can try – Action. They sell almost everything you might need: plates, utensils, pans, stationaries, cleaning supplies, and even iron. but, beware that Action is closed on Sundays.
– If you need a bike but do not want to buy one, you can rent one from rental places. The one I know is Swapfiets (if you show a student ID, you can get a discount)
– As a side note, do NOT ride a bike on the road where there is a tram-line. Many accidents happen there, the most frequent one being the wheel being stuck on a tram-line.
If you are having any other questions or concerns, you can always hit me or my peers up a message, and we will try to help you out.
Welcome to Ghent and enjoy every moment spent with IMFSE fam, these are precious times 😀 ❤