Belgium

University of Auckland law students have the opportunity to study in Belgium, at Ghent University (Law only).

Let’s hear what our law students have to say!

“It’s hard to pick out any one moment, but getting the chance to make heaps of new friends from all over the world while studying at a great university in an awesome and foreign culture was pretty amazing.” – Thomas Riley

“As soon as you arrive, hire a bike. This is really the best way to see the city, and cars and pedestrians are very obliging to the cyclists on the road. Enjoy and make the most of every single minute you are there, because it is truly a once in a lifetime experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.” – Isabelle Brunton

“I cannot recommend the city of Ghent enough. It is easily one of the hidden gems of Europe. The city center is very small, with beautiful canals and historic buildings” – Georges Lowndes

“I would definitely encourage anyone considering an exchange to do it, you not only get the opportunity to travel to amazing places, but also meet and become friends with people from all across the world, who sometimes offer completely different life experiences to you” – Hayden Gutry

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On Culture
“Belgium does live up to its stereotype of it being all about the fries, beer, and waffles – everyone is obsessed.” – Amelia Lamb

“Belgium is an awesome country to live in as a student. If you enjoy beer, it’s simply seventh heaven. Personally I never got used to how stunning the architecture of all the old buildings was. It was always a delight just to wander the city, especially when it’s all lit up at night.” – Thomas Riley

“Ghent is a student city, meaning almost everything is set up to cater to a student’s
every need. It also means there are always lots of young people around – and always something to do.” – Isabelle Brunton

“I loved being able to partake in this aspect of Belgian life. I rented a bike for the 5 months I was in Ghent, meaning it only took me 10 minutes to cycle to university every day, and friends and I would frequently go on bike rides into the Belgian countryside on weekends!” – Amelia Lamb

On Orientation
“Ghent University facilitated two days of orientation, not just in the university and our relevant faculties, but also around the city, giving us tours and games to better understand where must-know places were based, like the Migration Office. It was also an excellent opportunity to meet other exchange students.” – Amelia Lamb

“Orientation was well mapped out. It was always very clear where you needed to be and at what time. It struck a good balance between providing all the necessary details for life and university at Gent, as well giving you a good chance to settle in and meet some new people.” –  Thomas Riley

“To make things even easier, Ghent has a network set up with an exclusive focus on organising events for exchange students. The first few weeks were a blur of trips away, boat tours, nights out and international dinners. This creates an amazing sense of community among the exchange students. Everyone comes to know everyone, and to have a network of close friends from an array of different backgrounds is an awesome feeling.” – Isabelle Brunton

“The first couple of weeks however were full of events in which it was very easy to meet new people, massive street parties, concerts and pub crawls included, in which you can sample many a Belgian beer or two” – Hayden Gutry

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On Housing
“The accommodation was more than adequate. The facilities all work fine and the rooms are warm and comfortable. The best part though was the social life in and around the student residence. There’s always something going on or someone to shoot the breeze with” – Thomas Riley

“Most exchange students reside in four large residences located in close proximity to each other. The rooms are quite small, but they are warm, comfortable, and with a private bathroom attached. There are kitchens on each level, meaning you have to share with about 20 other students.” – Isabelle Brunton

“The accommodation was basic, however it was clean and modern. Students would have to buy all our own cooking/eating utensils, and were provided with basic bed linen etc. The cost of the accommodation however was probably cheaper than what I was paying back in Auckland.” – Hayden Gutry

On Academics
“The student-lecturer relationship is much more formal, and classes would be taught in three-hour blocks, once a week. The selection of courses available at the Law faculty were wide ranging, and I was able to study some subjects I never would have been able to study at Auckland, like Air and Space Law” – Amelia Lamb

“The courses were an interesting mix. Studying law, my courses were more euro-centric or internationally oriented than I was used to, which was a refreshing change. The lecturing was generally of a high standard, and I liked the amount of time dedicated towards class discussions and student presentations.” – Thomas Riley

“In terms of the classes, Ghent has a reputation among the European students for being quite an academic university with a comparatively heavier workload. Personally I found the courses manageable (much more so than at Auckland), so don’t let this put you off” – Isabelle Brunton

“What I didn’t know was that the coursework was quite intense. Ghent is rather prestigious and as a result demands quite a bit from students. However the papers I took, from International Economic Law to the Law of Armed Conflict, were largely incredibly interesting and I certainly learnt a lot from the experience.” – George Lowndes

“The courses at Ghent were well taught, all the professors spoke good English, and other than taking a while to get my head around basic concepts of European law I did not find them overly challenging. What did take a bit of getting used to was the structure of the classes, with all your contact time for one paper occurring all at once in the week, meaning I sometimes I had one class for 4.5 hours straight!” – Hayden Gutry

 

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On Travel
“I explored the center of town and fell in love, particularly with the architecture of the buildings that is unique to Belgium” – Amelia Lamb

“Ghent instantly struck me as a beautiful city with an awesome student culture. I spent my first day wandering into town to do some shopping for my room and was amazed that I’d be spending the next 4 months in such a stunning ancient city” – Thomas Riley

“I had more than enough time to socialise with my new friends, explore the city and travel abroad. Travelling from Belgium is excellent – it’s so central that flight times are short and airfares are cheap, a perfect base from which to see everything that Europe has to offer” – Isabelle Brunton

“I managed to fit in a huge amount of travelling even once I was based in Ghent. All the main Belgian cities are no more than 45 minutes away by train, and there is cheap flights from Brussels Airport to almost anywhere in Europe, I managed to get to Dublin for 30 euro return, and Morocco for 60, so familiarize yourself with RyanAir! I also managed to attend a couple of Champions League football games in Brussels, as well as some All Blacks games in the UK which was a life long dream of mine” – Hayden Gutry

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