Ghent is the capital of the East- Flanders province. It has a very central position according to the other important cities in Belgium (such as Brugges, Brussels, Antwerp). The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Schelde and Leie and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe.
Ghent is a multicultural city that has much to offer. Students live all across the city, but most of them are centered in the modern part of the city. The old part of the city, however, is one of the main reasons Ghent is so popular among students. Among the beautiful historic buildings, are a lot of cosy cafés, eating places and bars. There are many dancings with different types of music (some places prefer the more commercial music, others have hip hop parties or even latino nights).
When weathers good (which tends to happen in july and august), students prefer to go to ‘de graslei’. This is basically a spot alongside one of the rivers through the city. Here, students are able to rent a kayak if they want to (it has become very popular in recent years), or simply go to a supermarket nearby for some snacks to eat alongside the river. Contactpersons are going to help you explore the cutest spots!
Famous people in Ghent
- Jan van Eyck, painter (c. 1385–1441)
- Adolphe Quetelet, inventer of the BMI (1796 – 1874)
- Thomas Van der Plaetsen, Decathlon Athlete
- Das Pop, Indie Pop/Pop Rock band
- Trixie Whitley, Alternative Rock/ Soul/ Blues Singer
- Soulwax & 2 Many DJs, Electronic/Rock band: brothers David and Stephen Dewaele
- Xavier Henry, Shooting Guard/small forward for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers
- Kevin De Bruyne, Professional Footballer
- Gaelle Mys, Olympic Gymnast
Patients in Ghent tend to speak Dutch mostly, but due to the multiculturality there is a lot of English and French as well. English is supposed to be a well known language in Ghent, doctors will be able to help you and patients will understand if you speak English. We ofcourse recommend some basic Dutch skills, but they are not necessary for you exchange.
You will follow your internship in the university hospital of Ghent, in short: UZ. It is the largest hospital of the 4 hospitals located in Ghent (the others being AZ Sint-Lucas, Maria-Middelares and Jan Palfijn). Not only is UZ a hospital, it also serves as campus for a few educations in healthcare: many nurses study here, as do the medical students, fysiotherapists, logopedists and many more.
The hospital address: De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent.
Excellent knowledge of English is required to do a research project in Ghent.
For the available projects, please have a look at the projects database.
Most of the projects will take in the UZ Ghent hospital.
You will be provided with 80 euros pocket money to compensate your costs for a meal a day. At the campus, you have multiple cafetarias and restaurants. The ones we recommend are a cafetaria on 0B3, where soup and sandwiches are provided at very cheap rates at the show of the student card you will receive at arrival. The other restaurant is located close to K12, the building where most internships take place. Here you can get warm meals, again with a discount at show of your studentcard or badge. A vegetarian choice is always available, sometimes even vegan.
Your lodging will consist of one of the following: you can be located in a small studio, or a dorm where you have a private room but have to share bathroom and kitchen with other students. We try our best to locate you guys close to each other, but this isn’t always guaranteed. We try to locate lodging as close as possible to the university hospital. However, everything is very easy to reach by bike in Ghent (which is provided by us).
Usually, our exchange students arrive at one of the 2 following airports: Brussels Zaventem, or Brussels Charleroi. Especially from Zaventem, the connection to Ghent by train is very easy. When you arrive, the trainplatforms are indicating at the exit of the airport. You have to take the train to Ghent Sint-Pieters (NOT Gent Dampoort). We recommend to ask your contactperson for specifications, or if they are able to pick you up at either the trainstation or the airport. It is important they know when and where you will be arriving.
Time tables and tickets for the train are to be found at the following site: http://www.belgianrail.be/en/Default.aspx
In Ghent, the best form of transportation is by bike. Your LEO provides you with a bike, with no cost for you. However, there is also the possibility to obtain a special pass for 25 euros which allows you to travel by train for the rest of the month throughout Belgium, which tends to come in handy if you want to visit other cities, such as Bruges. Sometimes the LEO is able to probide these for you, but this is not a guarantee, so please check with your LEO and contacperson beforehand.
If you want to obtain such a pass yourself, this is possible with the following link:
Most of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. Its centre is the largest carfree area in Belgium. Interesting highlights are:
- the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the Ghent Altarpiece
- the belfry
- the Gravensteen castle
- the splendid architecture along the old Graslei harbour.
Important museums in Ghent are:
- the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts), with paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, and many Flemish masters
- the SMAK or Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (City Museum for Contemporary Art), with works of the 20th century, including Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol
- The Huis van Alijn (House of the Alijn family) was originally a beguinage and is now a museum for folk art where theatre and puppet shows for children are presented.
Special in July: “Gentse feesten”
The Gentse Feesten (Ghent Festival) is a huge music and theatre festival in the city of Ghent.
Besides stage events there are random small street acts such as mimickers, buskers, etc.
The festival starts on Friday 15 July 2016 until Sunday 24 July, so it lasts ten days!
If you are already curious, check out the website! https://gentsefeesten.stad.gent/en
The weather is changeable in Belgium. It can be very hot (up to 35°C) or rainy with temperatures of 15°C. Keep this in mind when you're packing your bags.
In Belgium punctuality is very important, so always be on time in the hospital/at your research lab. If you can't make it on time, notify your supervisor. Abstence is not appreciated!