After 4 intense days of orientation, which we hope will help our 34 students better understand and cope with their new life in Brussels, as well as motivate them to make the most out of their semester abroad, it was time to take the bus and go on our first excursion !
And what better way to kick off this semester than by visiting the splendid Cistercian Abbey of Villers-la-Ville ?! Being one of Wallonia's Major Heritage pieces since 1992, and having not only a fascinating history but also eclectic architectural styles - just imagine Roman, Gothic and Neo Classical styles all in one - this Abbey was definitely a must-see for BIR students who counted among the 100,000 visitors that the abbey attracts yearly. Despite the very, very cold winter day, students were happy to discover the history behind this cultural heritage and to see some ruins such as its cloister, kitchens, and brewing house.
Once the guided tour ended, we all went to Bistro Chez LuLu for our welcome lunch where students tried some of the typical Belgian dishes and beers and got to know each other better.
However, the day was just half way through! Back to Brussels, we had some free time (which allowed some of our students to buy some scarves or blarves - fluffy ones the size of a blanket !). Then, we visited the Choco Story Museum, right next to the touristic Grand Place. Great opportunity to learn how chocolate is made and even to taste yummy Belgian pralines !
We continued the visit with a walking tour of the city center and wished our students the best of luck for their first classes on Monday !
Our team in Brussels wishes you HAPPY SEMESTER and all the best for your new adventure, guys !