Question: Where to go on an exchange year? (Belgians please) - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 2003, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question Question: Where to go on an exchange year? (Belgians please)

Hi everyone . I know this is not tennis realted, but I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts on my question....

For Jan to Dec 2004 I want to do an overseas exchange. Where should I go?

I'm an Aussie. I want to learn another language. I have thought about going to Canada, and Holland or somewhere else in Europe (not the UK though).

I can only currently speak English. What do you think would be a good second language to learn?

I would love to hear from you all....any experiences you have had travelling etc. any thoughts, opinions.

Hope I'm allowed to post this here Ingrid (I know it has nothing to do with Kim or tennis )

Lots of Lleyki thanks, Anne -xxx-

Last edited by possie; Apr 21st, 2003 at 11:44 PM.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 04:39 AM
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Hi Anne.

I suppose learning a second language is one of the more important parts of this; but it all depends on what you expect from it...
  • an "unimportant" language
    If you want to know an obscure second language that almost nobody else in Australia will know - which may come in handy sometimes!... you might become THE expert when it comes to that language - then by all means go to Holland (or Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). Or, if you want more obscure still, go to one of the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark...)
    Every one of these countries has its advantages...
    Not unimportant maybe: in this kind of countries a lot of people understand (and often speak) English. This is less the case in Spain or France...
  • .
  • Spanish
    If you want to learn a second language which could be useful all over the world, then go for Spanish. Spanish is not only spoken in Spain, but all over South-America (except Brasil, where they speak Portugese). So Spain would be a very good choice.
    There are other advantages. The climate in Spain is quite good, lovely summers and not too cold winters... and there are lots of things to see. Old and new. Old - because most of Spain has been part of the great Islamic reign around 1000 AD; and new, because of the brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí (Barcelona!) and painters like Salvador Dalí...
    Of course you could go to a South-American country too. I know somebody who knows somebody who has gone to Argentina for a year - not a bad experience as far as I know...
    .
  • French
    If for some reason Spain (or south-America) would not qualify, I'd recommend France. French is still a rather important language, although it has steadily been losing influence. Once it was a world language... France lies just north of Spain. In the south, the climate is comparable to the Spanish climate; in the north to the Belgian climate (colder, more rain). As for the culture... well France has lots of it, of course. It has also lots of scenery.
    .
  • Portuguese
    Lying to the west of Spain. The language is not as important as Spanish in the world today, although it is spoken by a lot of people (Brasil!)...
    .
  • Italian
    Beautiful language, beautiful country, impressive culture (Roma, Venice, Firenze, Napoli...) But the language is not very important, nowadays.
    .
  • German
    Germany and Austria have both advantages too; they probably understand more English than in France... but German is not an easy language, and, like Italian, is barely spoken outside the homecountries.
    .

As far as Canada is concerned: beautiful country, but COLD in winter... and what second language are you gonna learn there? French? It's spoken by a minority; they have a heavy accent and they borrowed a lot of english words... not the best place to learn French imo. (Sorry Angèle, Hawk and other Canadians.) The Canadians themselves, otoh, are really great people - the best.


Hope this has been useful somehow. - Mark
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 06:20 AM
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I think Belgium would be perfect! In my old school, we had several foreign students and they were very please to be in Belgium!

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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 08:24 AM
 
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Anne (no prob re this post, I'll move it to the talk thread later on, when you've received all replies), can't add much to Mark's great post.

I'd go for Spain (pref. Barcelona) if you're interested to learn a most useful language, combined with the opportunity of a lot of culture and nice scenery (and good weather ).

I would pick France as second option.
If you'd like things on a smaller scale, and would want to learn French though, I'd go for Belgium then (Brussels, or the Walloon cities of Liège, Namur), as Axel is proposing. It's a slightly different French sometimes LOL, BUT Brussels is so cosmopolitan and at the same time pretty small. Liège has the big advantage of being located in an extremely nice looking area (if you like hiking, skiing, water sports), and is so close to the German border and Dutch Limbourg, which is a huge plus to get an idea of these regions too. Namur is small and very nice too, also a great scenery there and lots of outdoor opportunities as well.

IF you don't mind about learning useful languages too much, I'd go for Flanders then. First of all, it's quite practical as you'll find more people able to speak English than in the Walloon part of Belgium.
The best cities would be Leuven, Antwerp or Gent then. Leuven is a fantastic place, THE university city of Flanders, full of students everywhere (and looooots of pubs ). Antwerp and Gent are also very attractive for a student, always something going on there as well. All three cities have a huge historic background, it's full of culture and you won't be bored for a minute.

I'll stop my Belgium-promo here, I suppose

Good luck with your search!
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 11:28 AM
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Denmark... Yeah, go to Denmark... I'll show you around... Else go to Canada Montreal, then we can go at the same school when I'm travelling!!

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 11:38 AM
 
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Austria is a very beautiful country. Small but beautiful. And I'm not just saying that because I'm Austrian. :P

I'm too thinking of spending a year abroad. I'd love to go to Vancouver.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 01:15 PM
 
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Anne

Might as well add my 2 cents...

I don't know whether you are going to do an exchange between your last year of secundary school and first year of uni or as a part of you uni degree. I only have experience with the latter one.

England: I am currently studying in the UK and this is an experience I can recommend to everybody. The people are very nice and the uni were I'm studying was very welcoming. The climate is not as bad as people think (well, for me it isn't, but it might be a bit of a shock when you're from Australia ). Contras: I don't really like the food and it's not very useful if you're planning to learn another language.

Spain: I have a friend who's currently styding in Spain. He likes the country, the climate and the food, but says he is a bit dissapointed in the people sometimes. He says the cliché of let's do it 'mañana' is really true and that gets on his nerves sometimes. Still he says it's an experience he wouldn't want to miss.

Denmark: I also have some friends who are studying in Denmark. Their situation can be compared to mine here in England: the people are also very organised and very friendly. My friends forgot to fill out a form and consequently they did not exist for the Danish state and their uni, but people did everything they could to help them out to obtain the right papers. Contra: the climate.

I guess what Mark says is the most important: it all depends on what language you want to study. I have experienced that it is always handy to know some foreign languages, whether they are important or not important in the world. Good luck!
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 04:13 PM
 
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I'd endorse learning Spanish. it's also the second language of the US so well worth learning.
That or French.
I learned German and it's a great language and not that hard to learn. The grammar is difficult but you will, especially as an A-speaker of English, pick up the basics quite quickly imo. But going to Germany without any German is perhaps not a great idea although I know many people who went and worked there without a word of German, worked in Irish bars in cities like Munich and functioned very well without ever learning to speak the language at all. Most Germans speak some English and they will be very keen to practise it on you but I wouldn't classify Germany as a country that is particularly receptive to complete beginners struggling along with the language.

My friend who was in Spain recommends going to Barcelona. They speak Catalan and Spanish so you get the advantages of a world language and an obscure one.

Do not go to Ireland. You may learn Irish (obscurity ahoy) but its prices are 12% above the euro-zone average. it is way too expensive for any student.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 2003, 08:08 PM
 
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If you come in Switzerland, you have the possibility to learn german who is the first language of the country, or french (the second), or italian (the third) !!
So in one little but beautiful country you can learn 3 languages, that's cool !!!!!
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 2003, 05:46 AM
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Hi Christel - I'm sorry, I forgot about Switzerland.

You're right of course about the languages... plus Switzerland is a beautiful mountainous country. Climate could be better - but it's certainly not worse than Belgium, for instance.

(Otoh - Switzer-Dütsch??? )

And isn't there a 4th language called Roman or something?
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 2003, 06:33 AM
 
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Hi,

I have a daughter who wanted to go abroad also. She wanted to broaden her Flemish horizon.
With AFS she went for a year to Thailand, because she wanted to change completely (I think it is hard to find a bigger difference !).
Language is nothing yo u've ever heard nor seen. Religion is completely different...
Of course it is not going to be a very useful language, but VERY handy when you go to a Thai restaurant.
She met an Australian friend, if you want, I can give you her email address.

Have fun!

Ria
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 2003, 08:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynx
Hi Christel - I'm sorry, I forgot about Switzerland.

You're right of course about the languages... plus Switzerland is a beautiful mountainous country. Climate could be better - but it's certainly not worse than Belgium, for instance.

(Otoh - Switzer-Dütsch??? )

And isn't there a 4th language called Roman or something?
yeah you're right for the climate it's a little special, because like yesterday it was almost 15 degrees and it was sunny and today it rains and it's pretty cold. But you can go skiing and there are lots of things to do here. You have big cities like Zurich or Geneva or you have small villages. I like it here, but unfortunately the best player in the world (Kim of course !) is not swiss.... That's why I love Belgium so much, because Kim comes from there !

And for the 4th language you are right too ! It's called romanche, but there are really only a few people who can speak it ! But if you want to learn french and german, it's perfect here ! And in the city where I live, it's bilingual, so I do bilingual course, like for exemple history I do il in german and economy in french and so, it's great !

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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 08:52 AM
 
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I'd love to go to Germany (Heidelberg) next year from oktober untill february with university. Is there anyone who an tell me something more about this place? Thanks!!
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 11:53 AM
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You can learn German.
I want to learn better English,because my English isn't very good.

@Kim4ever
I'm from Germany,but if never been in Heidelberg.Sorry!!

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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 2003, 05:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fieke
Anne

Might as well add my 2 cents...

I don't know whether you are going to do an exchange between your last year of secundary school and first year of uni or as a part of you uni degree. I only have experience with the latter one.

England: I am currently studying in the UK and this is an experience I can recommend to everybody. The people are very nice and the uni were I'm studying was very welcoming. The climate is not as bad as people think (well, for me it isn't, but it might be a bit of a shock when you're from Australia ). Contras: I don't really like the food and it's not very useful if you're planning to learn another language.

Spain: I have a friend who's currently styding in Spain. He likes the country, the climate and the food, but says he is a bit dissapointed in the people sometimes. He says the cliché of let's do it 'mañana' is really true and that gets on his nerves sometimes. Still he says it's an experience he wouldn't want to miss.

Denmark: I also have some friends who are studying in Denmark. Their situation can be compared to mine here in England: the people are also very organised and very friendly. My friends forgot to fill out a form and consequently they did not exist for the Danish state and their uni, but people did everything they could to help them out to obtain the right papers. Contra: the climate.

I guess what Mark says is the most important: it all depends on what language you want to study. I have experienced that it is always handy to know some foreign languages, whether they are important or not important in the world. Good luck!
If you don't mind my asking...what are you studying in the UK?
I'm probably going there to study either this month or in June, so I wonder if it's nice there.

And Anne, Switzerland is sure great! You could both enjoy the wonderful scenery and study German French and Italian!
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