Wednesday, August 30, 2006


A little about Leuven:

The full name of the university I'm studying at is the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, or K.U.Leuven for short. It's situated about 20 km east of Brussels in Flanders, which means the primary langauge here is Flemish (essentially Dutch). The southern half of Belgium is called Wallonia, and there they speak French.

Leuven is in essence a college town. The university has about 30,000 students, while I think the town and surrounding area has something like 90,000 residents. It's also surrounded by cornfields. Sound familiar? It's not. The similarities between U of I and KUL end there. This place is much more urban, in a sense, but it still has a small town feel to it. Pretty much what you'd expect from the middle of Belgium.

KUL was founded in like 1450 by some pope, so it's pretty old. The streets here all medieval and shit, which means this place a maze. I talked to a Dutch kid the other day (see earlier post on "footy"), and I commented on how hard it was to find my way around. He thought it was easy, but then added he was used to this sort of system. Apparently, he visited New York (a grid) and couldn't get a handle on it -"On a grid, if I turn around and go the other way I'm immediately lost. It's just what you're used to."


Now the important part. They have a Pizza Hut and a McDonalds, but no Starbucks. Wtf? Not many people drink coffee around here I guess. Freaks. But they also got good clothes stores. I'm sure I'll hit up Hugo and Pepe Jeans, among others, because 11 pairs of jeans just isn't enough. Part of Leuven is actually a bit touristy from what I'm told, but being something of a tourist, I don't so much mind. Other than that, this place is chock full of bars, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream shops. It's going to be a good semester.

That's all for now. School's out.

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