Skip to main content

72-hours in Belgium

Alex Rus horizontal
First year FTV student, Alex Rus, was one of 20 Brunel students who won a coveted place on a three-day short course at the Irish College in the Belgian city of Leuven. The fully-funded trip was part of Brunel’s First Mobility initiative, an interdisciplinary programme that focuses on the creative industries. Here is Alex’s account of her visit.

When you say Belgium you think of good chocolate, beer and fries. But Belgium is so much more than that! I am going to take you on my cultural and fun journey I had back in October with my colleagues where I met so many amazing people and visited great places that I will never forget.

We all started off our journey early morning on a Tuesday and, to my surprise, we were there by Tuesday afternoon. The itinerary looked very busy so once we got to the lovely Irish college in Leuven where we would stay for the next few days, we had lunch and off we went to explore the unknown. We had a lovely tour of the city and learned about its history.

Day two we visited the LITES studios in Brussels - an incredible experience. The famous series Luther on Netflix was filmed here. We got to see different studios where directors were filming an upcoming movie that will be released in the cinema next year. We witnessed the filming of a scene where the actress is stuck in the car and will eventually drown. There were professional divers waiting to rescue her out of the vehicle and we were told she had trained for months to be able to hold her breath for 2 minutes. This made me realise the effort and planning that is put into filming these scenes and how vital it is that the team works together. Once the tour was done, we headed to Ypres, a town that was wiped off the map in World War 1 and had to be rebuilt from scratch. There, we visited the Flanders history museum where we could see the damage the war had done to this town and how people came together to rebuild everything and bring it back to life.

Day three was again a busy day. We travelled to Genk to visit a coal mine that has been turned into a cultural centre. This town has just under 100,000 residents and is home to many cultures as back in the 80s and 90s people came from all over the world to work in these mines in order to feed their families. We then headed back to Brussels to make some chocolate at the Concept Chocolate factory. Whilst eating some of the finest chocolates I have ever tried, we learnt about the South American origins of chocolate and how chocolate is made. It was a sweet end to this trip to say the least!