The long awaited international trip that goes along with my masters program has finally fallen upon us. I was so excited in August when I found out that I got into this specific masters program because I was going to get to go to a different country through school. This year the trip was to Brussels, Belgium. When I think of Belgium I always thought of chocolate, waffles, and beer. However, after spending a week there I learned a lot more than just that. Belgium has two official languages for its country: Flemish and French, and Brussels is predominantly Flemish speaking. I always thought that Belgium only spoke French, I was very surprised when I got off the plane and realized that my 6 years of French may not be as useful as I thought it was going to be. We were not going to let that get us down. So the first restaurant we went to, we all ordered something for each other not knowing what everyone was going to get. Tanner ordered my what I thought was going to be some type of pasta dish turned out to be a tuna fish salad sandwich. Needless to say there were a lot of laughs, and it made it all the while better when we got eat Belgian waffles a few days later. I will say this: they are a lot messier than they appear to be, but so worth getting chocolate all over your face.
While we were there I also got to tour Coca-Cola Factory, Duvel Brewery, sit inside the EU Parliament, and visit the Irish Ambassador. These four experiences are opportunities that I would never have had without doing the Sport Changes Life program. We always talk about the basketball, but getting an amazing education in a different country and immersing yourself in their culture is truly life changing. It is funny too, after being away from Cork for a few days I actually started to miss it!! Cork definitely has a place in my heart, but in conclusion: I recommend that if you get the chance go to Belgium eat a waffle, buy some chocolate, drink a beer, and unless you like tuna don’t order the “boterham met tonjin…”