I hope 2019 is treating you all like the Kings and Queens you are;) I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe that it’s already February! Like I know exams did feel like a drag but this has had to have been the shortest January in the history of all the Januaries that have come and gone. That being said, I am glad that January/exam season is finally over and that I can finally write some more posts on here!
As you can tell from the title of this post, I’m going to be having a little overview of my past semester in Brussels and ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles): talking about the modules I took, the things I got up to and, things that I plan to do this semester. So, let get straight into it.
Last semester I took a total of six modules: (1) Dutch (I know, a little random but hey), (2) Foreign Policy Analysis, (3) Introduction aux institutions de l’Union européenne (Introduction of the European Union’s institutions), (4) Introduction de l’étude des pays en développement (Introduction to the study of developing countries), (5) Histoire des relations internationales (History of International Relations) and (6) Sociologie Politique Interne (Internal political sociology).
I have to say out of all these modules, my favourite has to have been Foreign Policy Analysis, mainly because of the opportunity of viewing the practice of foreign policy through the lenses of different approaches to International Relations (more specifically, feminism and gender), and how it critiques the dominant structuralist approaches in IR in terms of their influence within the discourses and practices within foreign policy… I’m gonna stop here because I don’t wish you bore those of you who aren’t interested in Politics&IR. But I do want to add that it would be really interesting to view foreign policy through the theory of Postcolonialism (may do that in my spare time).
Regarding Dutch… haha, well I love learning languages but if I could go back, I should have chosen Spanish or something because although Dutch is quite similar to English all their grammar and sentence structures are super tricky. Oh well, I just have to pass the year and I’m up for a challenge. Besides, if there is one thing I want to be for sure it’s being multilingual. So far, I’m fluent in three languages including English of course. (Spanish will be on the list later on)
In terms of the structure of modules, I would have definitely liked it if there was more material on past exam papers, like with my home university as I feel like even though I spent every single day revising, it would have felt more prepared had they been available much earlier on and not like a few weeks before the exams themselves.
WHAT DID I GET UP TO?
Besides from studying (well, trying to study) I was mainly doing up tourist last semester and this is exactly what I’m planning to do this semester too. I visited Antwerp, Brugge and Ghent, walked around a lot in Brussels and I also went to Amsterdam for a few days before going back to London for Christmas. I would have loved to go to more places, which is the plan for this semester for sure. I also spent a lot of time eating chocolates and waffles…something that I will be cutting down on this year because although they taste heavenly, they’ve made my skin go through hell, so less chocolate and waffles (and trips to the chocolate outlet lol:)) and more healthier options (plus loads and loads of water, to the point where I feel like I’m drowning).
Finally, I have met some amazing people this year from literally everywhere! Many of whom I’ve lucky had the chance to spent a lot of time with and create loads of memories with, and I will be creating lots more memories with them before the end of this year too! You know what, I think I’m going to create a memory box on this year… that will be super cool. Anyway for this semester I am really excited to meet more people, whether they are Erasmus/International students, Belgian students or anyone in general: it’s always good to network and that’s what I plan to do.
WHAT THE PLAN FOR THIS SEMESTER?
Well, the aim is to be more self-disciplined with my time and my money. My time because although 2019 has only just started, it has already reminded me again and again that life is short, and tomorrow is never promised. Never. Therefore, I’m going to make sure to make the most out of my time doing everything that makes me happy and will get me to the place that I wish to be. That means no longer giving any f*cks about things that are not worthy of my time, or energy for that matter. My money… well it’s not my fault that Zara’s clothes are life, but now I have finally come to accept that is it my responsibility to stop giving Zara the chance in making me bankrupt. Besides, it’s not that deep: I can always wait until the sales to find that same jacket or dress or jumper reduced to like half the price. (Oh and for the matter, it’s not just Zara…there’s a whole list of other stores that my money has gone to but let’s not talk about that).
Another aim for this semester is of course, doing up tourist! I know said I’ll be more responsible with my money but I can always do day trips or weekend trips to different cities nearby, even if it means having to firm coach rides to those cities and back as it is the cheaper option. My friends already know my mental list of different places I want to see (oh if you are reading this and you do know where I want to go, then get your agendas ready because we’re going to start planning soon;) ). On top of that, I’m going to make sure that I’m on top of my work: so that means less time procrastinating and wasting time scrolling through social media, and more time getting my head down and getting sh*t done. And oh, have I mentioned that I have been reading more books (not related to my studies) this year? I mean I know its only February but that’s the one thing that I have missed so much and it feels so nice being a bookworm again.
Finally, (which is one of the reasons why I’m doing this year abroad in the first place) I’m planning to improve my French even more: to the point where I am no longer stuttering or having to think about each sentence. I mean already my French speaking has improved a lot, there’s still work that needs to be done in terms of my writing but that will all change by the end of my year here (just watch this space).
So that’s the end of this post. Now that I have uploaded this post, I have no excuses but to make sure that I do all the things that I have said I will do. Anyway, although it was a little long I do hope you enjoyed reading it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope you have a fun and productive week!
Hugs and Kisses,