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Monday morning 3rd July was not just any Monday morning for some young people in Belgium. It was actually the first day when newly graduated students from secondary school could enroll at university. A big step and a first one towards developing professional lives and careers. Among the first 50 who choose to get out of bed in time on the first day of their holidays, is Deniz.
Monday morning, 9:00am. 4 nervous students, 1 big room where registrations are about to begin. Amongst the first 4 students who will enroll for the academic year 2017-2018 is Deniz, an excited Turkish student who is about to enroll for the Master’s Programme in Molecular Biology. “I’m about to start a big adventure, but I’m totally ready for it,” says the newly graduated pharmacy student
Wondering how she ended up in Brussels, the story gets even better. “For my Pharmacy Master I went for a semester on Erasmus to Rome, where I met many friendly Belgians. Once graduated, I decided to do some volunteering with American Field Service, better know as AFS, in Belgium. That’s how I ended up in Beernem of all places. A small village where I work on a greenhouse project”. Although Beernem is quite different from Istanbul, her hometown, integrating in a small town has its benefits. “Being with a nice guest family and living in a town like Beernem accelerates my level of Dutch. I think I’ll probably know more names of flowers in Dutch than in Turkish”, she tells us. “And ‘het Viooltje’ is my favorite”.
VUB, a welcoming university
But how does a Turkish Pharmacy Master’s student, volunteering in Beernem, end up at the VUB? “During my 6 months in Belgium, I discovered some universities which offered some quite interesting Masters in English. Especially the Master in Molecular Biology caught my attention. And after some investigative work, it turned out VUB was the most interesting university for me. Especially because they are very welcoming to foreign students, which helps a lot.”
One thing is for sure, summer will be exciting for Deniz who expects a lot of “laboratory work, science and nerdy things coming up. But let’s first look for a place to stay in Brussels”.