Urujeni Ange Matabaro, MA in Communication Sciences, spent 4 months in Mexico in 2022-2023

“Deciding to go on this adventure was a big deal to me. I realised it was a real game-changer. The thrill of the unknown and the idea of diving into a whole new city like Mexico City with its own unique culture got me seriously pumped. I wanted to grow as a person and stretch myself beyond my comfort zone. I saw this as my chance to become more self-reliant, adaptable, and tougher – all skills that I knew would help me big time in life. I made friends from all over the world; it’s amazing how connected we all are in some way. Immersing myself in an entirely different culture was amazing. And being away from home made me discover parts of myself I never knew existed. I got a clearer sense of what I believe in and got confidence. I decided to ‘say yes to life’, and to embrace spontaneity, and started getting out of the house more, because life is short and the world is too amazing to miss out on it!”


Zarah Van Schoor, MA Biomedical Engineering, spent 1 semester in Italy in 2022-2023

“I’ve always wanted to see the world, the different architectures and landscapes, get to know other cultures and people. Going on an exchange is different from a holiday, because you get to live in a country for a longer period of time, you get to know the local people, their habits, you discover insights you’d never have known about if you hadn’t lived there. To be honest, I was a bit scared at first, but I spoke to people who had done an exchange before I decided to go, and no one ever seemed to regret it. And now I’m one of them: everyone should go abroad. It’s the best experience you can get!”


Aâron Mobunga Suele, BA Business Engineering, spent 5 months in South Korea in 2022-2023

“I wanted to go as far away as possible, but at a university that was the right fit. Korea University was that fit, so I spent 5 months in South Korea. I always wanted to discover the world and see how other people live. I learned that it is possible to have a deep connection with people who are totally different from you, and that wherever you go, you need to adapt to the place and people around you. I also learned to work in groups in different ways, learned discipline and autonomy. The difference between Belgium and Korea and studying in both places is big, but my Korean friends are some of the best people I’ve ever met and I really miss them. The Korea University Buddy Assistance programme was a big help. Being back at VUB now I’d really like to be buddy myself for incoming international students. I totally recommend going abroad!”


Anita Van Der Gracht, MA Educational Sciences, spent 4 ½ months in Sweden in 2022-2023

“As a future educationalist, the Swedish education system aroused a certain curiosity in me. It’s often portrayed in a positive light so I wanted to know what the difference was with our system. I had also never been to Scandinavia, so the Erasmus exchange was a perfect opportunity. I wanted to study abroad for personal growth reasons: be alone in another country, and stepping out of my comfort zone, and I wanted to challenge myself. I learned to be on my own, despite the fact that you do meet a lot of amazing people while abroad. You do get to know yourself better. Life while studying in Stockholm was also a lot less stressful, because of the different system. I learned to be financially aware, be independent. And as I said, life in Sweden was slower and more relaxed than in Belgium. I would 100% recommend this to everyone; you learn so much about other cultures and yourself.”



Zeeshan Tahir (Master in Law) went to Istanbul Bilgi University in 2022-2023

“I choose to go to Turkey because it is the centre of the world, connecting Asia to Europe. I went to Istanbul for 5 months, and wanted to go abroad after my professors at VUB emphasised the importance to gain international experience. In addition, I’ve always liked travelling, and I was keen to learn more about new cultures and languages, and to expand my international network. My time abroad boosted my confidence and taught me how to approach strangers. I have become more independent, but it also made me appreciate my family more. It gave me the opportunity to study Turkish, and talking to people I met while abroad allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do with my future career. I advise students to go abroad; it’ll help you mature as a person and grow your international network.”

Joke Baekeland

Joke Baekeland (Bachelor in Biology) did an exchange to French Guiana in 2022-2023

“I wanted to improve my French, learn to live independently, and show that I can adapt to different cultures, customs and climates. It was an opportunity to develop myself personally as well. I think going abroad is an invaluable experience. I learned that education is very important, alongside family and health, but also that you can earn back money but not time. The whole Erasmus concept/experience was sometimes tough, but overall it was great and very educational. I would totally recommend students to go for it, even though there are challenges and you need to be fully committed. I would suggest that students who are interested in going abroad during their studies reach out to those who have already been through it. It actually persuaded me to go abroad, also because it makes your resume more attractive, and you just learn so much about yourself and get to see the world.”

Testimonial exchange Hira Sohail

Hira Sohail, M.Sc. in Molecular Biology, spent a year at the University of Warwick in 2021-2022

The experience is very much worth it!

The motivation to study alongside a new group of students and learning from them was great. It was the perfect opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. My main takeaways were that it’s important to actively try to engage every0one in a group setting. And always share food with others, and consider people’s dietary preferences. I also find it is important to discuss people’s different cultures, but in a respectful manner. It’s a great way to learn new perspectives and makes for a meaningful interaction that helps you be appreciative of different people and different practices.”



Noa Wijmeersch, B.A. in Social Sciences, spent one semester at the Univeristy of Ljubljana in 2021-2022

“All students should take part in such an amazing experience!

Slovenia is a small country that has everything: sea, mountains, and Ljubljana is a young city and student-minded. The exchange experience was great. I learned so much about myself, made new friends, and learned so much from other people. At the university they also foucssed on the practical in addition to the theoretical. I would do this again if I could!”