Beatriz Ibáñez is exchanging the Spanish University of Castellón for VIVES Student in Kortrijk this academic year. She showed us her 3 favourite places in her new hometown. "When I was given permission to go on Erasmus, my first choice was England, but now I am so happy that I came to Belgium", she says enthusiastically.
The first and second floor of VIVES Student are exclusively occupied by international students who are staying in Kortrijk for one year. Everyone has their own bedroom and bathroom, there is a kitchen on each floor and on floor -1 there is a common room. "There’s always a party at -1", says Beatriz. "About 30 other Spanish students live in this building, but there are also French, Italian and German students... The atmosphere here is great, we have a lot of fun at the dorm and we often go out together."
At home in Spain, Beatriz studies economics at the University of Castellón and she lives with her parents in Villarreal, a small town on the outskirts of Castellón. "Castellón is also a nice student city with lots of bars and restaurants, but I can't go out much there, because I always have to take public transport home," Beatriz says. "That's why I am having the time of my life in Kortrijk: I have complete freedom and I can go anywhere by bike."
Fun along the water
The first place Beatriz takes us is IJzerkaai. "In the centre of Castellón there is no water, so I find Buda Beach on IJzerkaai a very special place. I found this place on Instagram. Through the app you can see what people in Kortrijk are doing, and when I saw pictures of Buda Beach, I wanted to discover that place right away. I arrived here at the beginning of September, so we enjoyed a drink on the sunny terrace of Bar Amorse several more times. When the weather is nice, the atmosphere by the water is fantastic!"
An accidental discovery
"My parents came to visit me in Kortrijk a few weeks ago, so a friend and I set out to find restaurants where I could have dinner with them. We ended up at 't Plein. It was a sunny day and the park was full of people enjoying the beautiful weather: a lovely surprise in the city centre! Since then I've come here regularly to have lunch with the other students of VIVES."
When I got here, I didn't know anyone. There was only a WhatsApp group for Spanish students in Kortrijk. My train arrived at 1 am, and some Spanish boys had suggested via WhatsApp to pick me up. Then they took me to the dorm and we all went out together. I felt welcome right away! Bar Vesper is one of my favourite bars in town. You can have lunch there, drink coffee with a pancake, or taste delicious Belgian beers.
Originally, I wanted to go to England on Erasmus, but when my university proposed Belgium, I was immediately convinced. I had a good feeling about it. I had never heard of Kortrijk, but now I'm so happy that I chose this town," Beatriz concludes.