Greetings from Belgium! Im a third year physiotherapy students and I came to Ghent to do a two month practical trainee.
Finding and apartment was really a struggle and there were a lot of scams, I would recommend to follow the tips from the Ghent university to not get scammed. I found an apartment with my classmate from Facebook group just less than week before arriving to Belgium
I worked in two different clinical placements and both of them lasted 4 weeks. The first one was in Ghent university hospital and I was working in amputate and poly trauma rehabilitation center. The physiotherapy in here is both manual and active training. I was working from 8-16 and in the middle I had a one hour lunch break. I was spending the break with other local and exchange students from the same building. The work pace was fast and I had some struggles to get feedback, but otherwise the patients were lovely, I felt welcomed and the mentors were nice.
The second placement was in a private clinic where the clients were mostly musculoskeletal clients. My working hours varied from long to short days. There were two long days a week when I worked from 9am to 8pm with a break of more than two hours in between. There were also two short days and then I worked about 3 hours in the morning. Fridays were ”normal” working days and then the hours were from 9am to 6pm with about a 1.5 lunch break in between. In the private clinic, the work pace was also really fast because clients always had 30 minutes physiotherapy. Physiotherapy was maybe about 60% manual therapy and 40% therapeutic exercise and active activities. My mentor was super nice, she liked Finnish exchange students because we have good exercises and have given her a new point of views. Over all I had appreciated feeling for the whole internship, and I had a feeling that I’m being trusted.
The free time
In Ghent there is a lot to do in your free time. The Erasmus students are really welcomed and there is a lot of activates for exchange students so it’s easy to get to know people and find the ones that you ”click” with. A applied to Ghent with my classmate so I had always someone to talk to and to adventures together. The city of Ghent is beautiful and there is always a place to go to chill, enjoy beer, live music and so on.
We also took part of ESN (Exchange student network) weekend trip to Paris with other exchange students. The trip was super fun and successful. We also went to Amsterdam with a 4 hour bus drive for one night and it was super easy to just hop in the bus and explore a new city. There is also a lot of nice cities in Belgium and we also went to Brussels, Antwerpen and Brugge. The all were really nice but Brugge was the most beautiful one. I think it was like Ghent but smaller and more cozy.
All in all I love the city of Ghent, people were super nice and the physiotherapy is a little different compared to Finland. I would recommend Ghent as an exchange destination for its warm and welcoming environment, beautiful buildings and central destination.