September was all about getting to know my batchmates better. We are going to be living out this whole year together after all! Let me give you an overview of the most memorable things that happened this month.
City trip & City Game Antwerp
After the teambuilding was over, I invited everyone who wanted to on a walk around Antwerp where I would be showing them some must-see sights. De Meir, the Stadsschouwburg, the Botanical Garden, the Stadsfeestzaal, the Cathedral, the Main Square, het Steen, the Vlaeykensgang… You get the picture. And of course we went and tasted the famous Desirée de Lille waffles!
We also got a tour of Antwerp through the City Game that we played – a virtual quest during which we had to go around the city center in teams mixed with students from all AMS programs. Before the game took place, we had a full day of one semester’s worth of Financial Accounting. Going on a quest against the clock after such an intensive day made sure I was ready to go to bed by the time I got home.
The game had been a lot of fun though. In teams of four we had to fulfill some tasks around the city while shooting virtual bananas or beers at other teams. Guess what, this is totally my type of game! It was also the first time I really stepped up and took the lead. We didn’t win but we did good. Oh, and along the way, we also ran into some free waffle sampling. What a tasty coincidence!
Welcome to my hometown!
A visit to my hometown, which I described as a typical Flemish City, had to be included in my batchmates’ experience of Belgium of course. I have lived here my whole life. What I liked was that some of the people who were tagging along did some research on Mechelen and suggested things they wanted to do and see. One example was the tour at my city’s brewery ’t Anker. I had never been there before, so I thought it was a good idea. We also climbed to top of the Saint Rumbolds tower, had a typical Belgian dish called stoofvlees. It really makes me happy when the friends who had tagged along tell me what a good time they had.
Across the border to Rotterdam
Of course we had to go abroad this month as well. When some of the girls were talking about a trip to Holland, and more specifically to Rotterdam, I immediately offered them a ride. I was still feeling a bit responsible for showing the foreigners around and guide them on their first few trips in Europe. And let us be honest… Chances are small I would say no to a trip like this.
And sometimes we had class…
Of course it wasn’t all fun and games. We did have classes sometimes! I was a bit nervous though: would I be able to handle it? Going to a management school as a languages and communications student was quite a trunaround!
About every other week a new teacher arrived from different parts of the world: Ireland, UK, Iran, Belgium, South-Africa, Australia…
Our first teacher was the inspiring Jamie Anderson. We couldn’t have wished for a better introductory class! We discussed the strategy of Lady GaGa and shared opinions on what it means to be “successful”. In other classes we learned how the EU works and how to perform a market analisis. Wayne Visser came to tell us a bit more about Corporate Social Responsiblity and in another class we learned what “business drivers” are. And who could have guessed that microeconomics could be this interesting?
We also got a class on how to make the most of a presentation and I had my first experience working in teams with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Which was quite the culture shock in itself. Indians obviously have different priorities than we do! Later on, they basically admitted that they have never worked in teams before and don’t really get the concept of working in teams either. Let’s see what this means for future collaborations… In the end we just did our best to try and make it work.
It was an amazing, busy, eventful first month and I now only want more! I learned about the economics and business world, experience more (fully) the differences between the Western and Indian culture, and somehow still had time for some fun and adventure. October already looks promising!