Ghent – Ghent University

Reasons people went to this university/place

  • I fell in love with a picture of Ghent. When I then found out that the English department at Ghent University (which deservedly has a very good reputation) offered a range of courses that would also help me complete my studies here in Vienna, I really wanted to go. What is more, I wanted to get to know the BENELUX countries – I had never visited either of the countries and was keen to learn more about them.

Recommended semester to go there

  • I personally preferred the summer semester. I very much liked the transition from rainy weather to sunshine and long, warm summer evenings, spent at the canals with my Erasmus friends. What might be interesting is the fact that there are a number of flower festivals in Belgium and the Netherlands which take place in spring. On the other hand, you may prefer nice weather when you’re first settling in? (It gets quite foggy/rainy during the cold season in Ghent.)

Before going there

Accommodation experiences

  • I lived in a private apartment that was suggested to me by the Exchange student coordinator, Ms Carine Focquart. I shared a house with four other students – we had a shared kitchen and bathroom; my room was equipped with a sink and all the essential furniture. The house was located in the neighborhood Rabot. A trip to the university campus took me 15-20 min (by bike or with public transportation). Monthly rent incl. internet: €300. I had a very nice stay at the house. The son of my landlady lived in the house with us, so if we needed anything we could directly get in touch with him/the landlady. There is a supermarket close by (5 min walk) and more shops within a short walking distance (10-15 min). It also took a 15 min. walk to reach the city center. What I loved most about the location of the house was that there is a beautiful nature reserve close-by (Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen) and that there are many cycling paths in the neighboring district (Mariakerke), which will lead you alongside a and though park areas.

Special items to pack

  • A good rain jacket is a must in Belgium! (An umbrella won’t do the job with all the drizzle they get.)

How people who went there handled their finances

  • I handled all my finances via my Austrian bank account and card. (European Union!) You may want to bring a credit card if you are traveling a lot. It just makes online bookings etc. easier.

University Information

Rough semester schedule

  • Winter term:classes: last week of September through first week of January
    exam prep time + exams (= no classes!!): around 4 weeks (January)
    –1 week recess–
  • Summer term:classes: first week of February through last week of May
    exam prep time + exams (= no classes!!): around 4 weeks (June)
    –6 weeks recess–
  • Resit period for exams you need to take a second time (August; around 4 weeks)https://www.ugent.be/en/education/degree/practical/studentadmin/academiccalendar

Holidays during the semester

  • 2 weeks of Easter recess;the exam preparation period (“blok” = end of May through beginning of July in the summer term) is technically also “time off” – you don’t have classes to attend during that time

Number of ECTS the university expected former exchange students to do

  • Vienna = 3ECTs per month (=12-15ECTs)

Course restrictions and when the university informed students about those

  • There is a list of courses which are held in English – all those courses can be taken by exchange students. (The ones held in Dutch can be taken if you are proficient enough in the language, I believe.)

Did the university actually offer the classes students originally planned to do?

  • Unfortunately, not all of them. Two were not offered due to budgetary cuts.

Recommended  courses/modules

  • “History and culture of Anglo-Saxon countries” broad overview of culture and literature in Great Britain and America, with lots of historical but also quite modern themes and topics.

Exam period

  • See above, point 1https://www.ugent.be/en/education/degree/practical/studentadmin/academiccalendar

How exams look like

  • written exams: 5 hours; either some open questions and one long essay OR several short essay questions; they will judge the quality of your writing! you are expected to produce a well-structured piece of writing, which is why they give you so much time.
  • oral exams: 30 min preparation, 15-25 min exam

Important deadlines

  • There is an info day for Erasmus students at the beginning of each semester, where they provide you with all the essential information (registration at the city of Ghent, course registration, …). This is different from the University of Vienna: if you are enrolled in a course, you are automatically enrolled for the exam at the end of the term. If you can’t make it to the exam, you do not have to deregister, but many professors consider it polite if you write them a short email, especially when you have an oral exam (time slots!). The resit dates for all courses (winter term and summer term) are in August.

Other information

Recommended restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping centers ect.

My favorite part about Ghent was the fact that there are free jazz concerts basically every evening. While you are in Belgium you must eat: fries with mayonnaise (or any other delicious sauce – they have so many), waffles, stroopwaffles (originally from the Netherlands)

Bars

  • Dreupelkot (a must! Come here to try Jenever!)
  • Hot Club Ghent (live jazz music almost every night)
  • Trollekelder
  • Galgenhuis
  • Missy Sippy
  • Het Waterhuis
  • Café de loge

Cafés

  • Rosario
  • Huize Colette

Restaurants

  • Amadeus (3 locations in Ghent; ribs)
  • Sushi Paradise

Recommended secret spots in the city/town

  • The city center (at the canal) is definitely a hot spot
  • a beautiful nature reserve close-by (Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen)
  • graffiti street = Werregarenstraat

Recommended day trips

  • there are many beautiful cities close by!
    Brugge, Antwerpen, Brussels, Leuven, Cologne…
  • Many nature reserves close to the city and bike trips you can go on

Recommended places or events to meet new people / make new friends

  • ESN erasmus activities
  • Action Satisfaction Daytrips

Public transport offered in the city / area of the University

  • Busses and trams only run until 1a.m.
  • You can (and should) rent a bike at studentenenmobiliteit à students go everywhere with their bike. Btw. beware of bikers in the street – they will not yield. Ghent has it’s own traffic rules.

Other recommendations

  • Try lots of foods!
  • Gentse Neuzen (= Cuberdon), Jenever, Belgian beers, fries with different sauces, and waffles! Moules frites is a must in Brussels.

Is this University the right place for me?

You should spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • if you love small cities with an old soul and a young, creative spirit, want to take some challenging university courses, want to live in an open-minded friendly environment, want to learn Dutch and are not afraid to gain some weight….
  • because there is lots of delicious food, great places to enjoy free jazz/blues/alternative live acts over some Belgian beers 🙂

You should not spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • if you are looking for a city as big as Vienna (Ghent is about the size of Graz)

(all information provided is based on 1 filled out questionnaire)

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