Good ol’ ‘s morgens in Belgium

Not all mornings are created equal. Wait, that’s not true, all mornings are beautiful and enriching and invigorating (yes mornings can be invigorating,) the problem is, we are not all created equal. Being a self proclaimed morning person, to the chagrin of my girlfriend, I enjoy mornings. I enjoy being awake and drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. For me, mornings are usually the most productive times of my week. That being said, I realize I don’t always enjoy mornings to the fullest. I wake up, I drink my coffee, read the news and do things until something else leads me to go outside. By then (seeing as school the first week doesn’t have morning sessions) the day is totally transformed. So this morning as I ventured out at 8:30 am on a nice sunny Belgian morning, I couldn’t help but thinking, ‘man, I love mornings.’

( I apologize to those of you who wake up between 5-6am every morning for work and read that and felt a small amount of bitterness festering on their tongue.)

Ik ben terug in België!

Belgian weather has been in full force since I’ve returned. 90˚-100˚ F  (30˚-40˚C) days, combining only with a few rather serious showers. One of which, I happen to be caught in one fine morning while biking to the train station, luckily (due to my REI jacket) it only looked like I went waist deep into a pool.

I began my time back in Belgium with a one month intensive Dutch course. The ILT (part of the KU Leuven) offers Dutch courses for all levels, as well as the occasional intensive course. It was only level two, but it went really well. I have been using the language more and more with my girlfriend and her family, which for me has been phenomenal practice. They are patient and supportive, allowing me to use the language in such a destructively incorrect way, that I can learn! The biggest detriment or barrier to learning a language, is ones own embarrassment and the assumption that you, the speaker, look and sound like an idiot (which is unfortunately true, but not important, because ‘those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind’ – Bernard Baruch via Dr. Seuss.)

We flourish in our language learning abilities at a young age because we are brazen and experimental, we throw back what the world has thrown at us and we do it enough times that after a while we finally get it right. If you want to learn a language you have to pretend you are three years old; constantly stammer intelligibly (that’s called practice) and be curious about everything around you, point at objects and say what you think they are called, only to be corrected by those nearby, there is no better way to learn.

As for school. Returning to begin my one year Masters in General Management, I was met with a pleasant surprise. The school I am attending had gone through a rebranding process over the summer, and made a few wise decisions. Most importantly, they changed the name from (ridiculously long name with two cities in the title) to the Vlerick Business School. Simple and to the point. This is more true to the spirit of the school and the direction it is going; approval given.

The school is becoming the leading Business School in the heart of Europe. With a new campus opening in Brussels, the school has campuses in Belgium (Ghent, Leuven,) Russia (St. Petersburg,) and an MBA program in China (Beijing.) I am proud to be part of the school and excited for the upcoming year. My goal is to use a traditional management/business education and focus those skills learned on the Disaster Relief sector. I believe there is much to learn from the business world that can, is and will be applied to non profit sectors, especially Disaster Relief and Management.

Ghent Campus (I study at the Leuven Campus, not this one!)

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