November 12, 2012

Welcome to my blog!

So, it's been over a year since my year in Linkebeek, Belgium ended. Sometimes that year feels like a different life, other times it feels so close that it almost brings me to tears. Life has changed since then, but I know that the experiences that I had during that time never will.

No matter if you're prospective exchange student, a past exchange student, or just interested about Belgium, feel free to take a look around the blog. Think of this as a documentation not only of a trip to Belgium, but also a documentation of my life as an exchange student and of life in general. I wrote these posts throughout my year there, so they change based on my experiences and the new things that I saw. Later in the year, you'll notice that there are a few months where I didn't post very often-- those were the months when I was most immersed in my new life (see the post entitled "Normal").

You may also notice that I never really wrote a concluding post-- that's because I didn't want that level of closure. My year in Belgium has stayed with me up until now, and Belgium will always play a part in my life, no matter where I am. I don't think exchange trips are ever truly over-- you continue to feel a connection to that country no matter what, and it jumps into your daily life in unexpected ways.

If you're a prospective exchange student, I do recommend reading posts in the section "Being an exchange student," because I wrote those at certain moments of my experience, starting with the arrival. You can see how my life changed as you read through those posts.  If you're on an exchange trip right now, keep in mind that others know what you're going through, and if you're feeling out-of-place and foreign, I truly would recommend "Normal."  If you've been an exchange student, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

I've organized links to my posts into the three main categories below, which are pretty self-explanatory. Each set of links is listed chronologically, so you can read the posts in some kind of order, which may make better sense. These links aren't the only posts in the blog-- they're just ones that I think best fit the categories. Use the list on the side of the screen to access all the posts.

And if you're simply interested in learning more about Belgium, I had a lot of fun writing the posts called Belgian portraits: the supermarket, Belgian portraits: Three meals and "A walk around Linkebeek." And finally, I recommend reading "Little things about Belgium" a post I wrote soon after I arrived.

This will probably be one of my last posts on this blog, mainly because it is fulfilling its main purpose: to document my year as an AFS exchange student in Belgium. So now that my year is over, I want to keep it as a story. I'm happy to share it with you-- I hope you enjoy it and learn something new.

Being an exchange student
The Arrival
On rusty English, time perceptions, and expanding worlds
On the Christmas season, missing home, and multiculturalism
Four months... about
Cinq Mois. 
Wait, what? Quoi? I'm leaving...?

Writings about Belgium
Observations I 
Little things about Belgium
A discussion of pop culture
Saint Nicolas!
Belgian portraits: Three meals

Photos of Belgium
A walk around Linkebeek
Follow me to school
Ch√Ęteau de Beersel
Belgian portraits: the supermarket
A spring run
Photos from a packed couple months, part 1: Easter Vacation
Photos from a packed couple months, part 2: Looking back at my Belgian spring 

Love, frites, and warme wafels,
Austin Cope

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