Adventures in Ghent

Instead of doing an internship in a Macedonian company, spending holidays in Macedonia or Greece, last summer I decided to do an internship abroad. Going to Belgium was a completely random decision at start, something like “Hmm interesting, let’s do this!” I had no idea what was waiting for me when I made this choice, but after a few days spent there I can say that this was one of the best decisions made in my life. I could definitely write a book about my crazy adventures in Ghent, but let me focus on the best memories.

Beautiful houses in Ghent

Ghent and Belgium as a country? The thing that i will always think of first are my first impressions. The sunny weather welcoming me at the airport in Brussels (it was 9 in the evening, but feeling as if it’s 2pm in Macedonia). And the first time I woke up around 5 in the morning, looking through the window and seeing sun outside.  Soon I realized: “These summer days feel as they last forever.” Sure they did!

Interesting facts? Before I went to Belgium, everybody described it to me as: great beer, waffles and chocolate! I would say Ghent is definitely the best city in Belgium I could go to. Not only it is a student city, but it is also famous for using bikes as primary mode of transportation, helping you to go anywhere in 20 mins.

I was doing my internship in a startup center, developing a mobile application that helps patients to recover faster after knee or rib replacement surgery. I was working together with a couple of trainees from Belgium and abroad, so my work always kept me involved somehow and helped me learn lot of new things. Motivation!

When I wasn’t working, I had the chance to have fuuuuun and meet a lot of new and cool people, members of IAESTE LC Ghent and trainees from all over the world (Serbia, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, Kenya, Bolivia, Cyprus, Malta, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Ghana, Canada and many more). IAESTE is a huge and amazing association!

Party with trainees from all over the world

Every country organizes its own IAESTE weekends. In Belgium there was so many of us, that almost everyday there was a new event organised by IAESTE LC Ghent. We went to Brugge, Antwerp and Brussels together, but also places close to Belgium – Paris, Luxembourg and Rotterdam. However, I will always find the international evenings we had most memorable. During those evenings, every trainee was representing their country with presentation and unique traditional clothes, music, clothes and dances. And of course the best summer experience was the famous Gentse Festen (2 weeks festival with a lot of concerts and street performances all over the city).

Visiting the Eiffel Tower

“Plans for tonight?” Not to forget our spontaneous meetings, always taking place in the famous blue building everyone knows about in Ghent aka “Plato”. With time, I can say it became my second home.

As time passed by and I had to leave Ghent, I had to say goodbye to one of the craziest people I ever met, today still one of my best friends. But I left Ghent having a new personal challenge – reunite with everyone I met there.

I want to thank IAESTE Macedonia and IAESTE Belgium for making this possible. They say that every summer has a story and this was the best summer story I’ve had so far. In the end I want to motivate any student to join IAESTE, to apply for internship abroad and to not forget that: “Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport”.

Tome Kiriazi, member of LC Bitola, IAESTE Macedonia


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