Romil Kolesnyk

Hello! My name is Romil Kolesnyk, I am from Kyiv, Ukraine and I have arrived in Gent two months ago. I will share my experience with you, during this short, but rich period and give you a bit of advice. The story consists of two parts.

During my bachelor I was studying in Trenchin University in Slovakia and University of Bologna in Italy, now I am doing Master of Science in Business Economics: Marketing in Ghent University. I have arrived on 31 August and I was lucky enough to find a student room two months in advance. Thanks to J. and B., my best friends from Belgium!

It was a month before the start of studies, I have been solving my documents questions. (If any Ukrainian needs help with it - contact me, And during this period, I did not realize huge changes that were taking place in my life. For the first month I was discovering Flemish culture with its «Warm closeness» to foreigners and strong reliable friendship with who they call friends.

People in Flanders are always happy to help you if you are in need, but it takes a lot of effort to gain trust from a Flemish person. According to my observations, friendship for them is not about entertainment, but about trust, stability, longevity and the ability to rely on each other.

The biggest difference from other cultures, in my opinion, is that they trust your actions, more than your words. Probably this is where the stereotype of «closed and cold» comes from, because building relationships requires time and effort from both people. And summing up this topic, I can say that the result is worth it.

So with a huge privilege, as a Flemish friend, I plunged into the study of Belgian culture. My tour started with concerts, from a local one in a village to a concert at the Charlatan club in the center of Ghent. This means, you can expect a rich cultural life from small to large in this country. Then I was arranging my room, getting to know my neighbours, going to the theater, exploring the city, enjoying the architecture and observing the local people, those were my main concerns during the first month of living in Ghent.

The best thing you can do after introduction day for students is to make friends, stick to them and attend parties to meet new friends, which is really important in a new environment to expand/develop your «comfort zone». As studies start you are busy with classes, group works, trainings or your hobby afterwards. Fun grange-lovers fact – «Vooruit» the concert hall in front of UFO campus was a place where Nirvana concert took place back in 1991. So, if you didn't know much about Ghent before, you will have the opportunity to learn a lot of interesting things. If you do not have a hobby yet, Ghent is a nice city to discover one.

People here are comprehensively developed. I like sports, music and fashion and my hobbies evolve here exponentially. I quickly found mates to train with, I discovered vinyl and I am slowly turning into a nerd in it now, this topic is a rabbit hole and currently I am looking for a sewing machine to sew something myself. Apart of it people here are keen on cycling, football, F1 racing, running, studying, reading, playing either bord games or musical instruments and that is inspiring.

I wish you a great time in Ghent and all the best in your studies.
And Glory to Ukraine.