After a very difficult goodbye at Ouagadougou airport, I finally took my flight to the European capital on the night of September 11, 2019. Scheduled to last around five hours, the trip went very well. I found myself in the early morning of September 12 at Zaventem international airport that I knew from having made a few stopovers there before. This time it was my final destination. My very first contact was a nice taxi man from the Autolux Company, who took me to the Jacques Brel youth hostel a few steps from the Université Saint-Louis, which I was going to discover in the evening. Contrary to the warm welcome from the taxi driver, it was more of a nightmarish morning that I was going to live at Jacques Brel with a rather negligent and contemptuous service of the day which was particularly resistant to any communication. Arrived at 6:20 am I had to wait until 3:00 pm to have access to my room without any possibility of contact. My comfort came when I met Haoua Daly, an ARES scholarship holder who had arrived a little earlier (5:30 am) at the hostel and who was still having difficulty digesting the effects of her welcome. We very quickly began to explore the heart of Brussels, which was to become our biotope.
The day of September 13 marked my real installation in Brussels. Everything went very quickly after registering at Saint-Louis University, the introductory meeting with the international relations department and the Saint-Louis officials, the transfer to the Ommegang 2 university residence and the visit of the premises of the University. My integration happened quite naturally. I discovered with the start of classes a teaching system that values the student and pushes him to research. The availability, accessibility and openness of the teaching staff more than seduced me. The fluidity of communication via the intranet and the diligence of the faculty administration boosted my enthusiasm for studying. In addition, there is solidarity between students: I was fascinated, for example, by the mentoring system developed with the aim of facilitating the immersion of foreign students. So I became “Belgian” in such a short time. The many meetings, seminars and conferences organized by the International Relations Department have opened up the world of knowledge to me and allowed me to identify the quintessence of international debates on issues of great importance.
Culturally, I had the leisure to discover the epic and historical places of Brussels thanks to guided tours and other relaxing outings. The multiple parks of Brussels, the Grand-Place, the Atomium or the Delirium with its diversity of beers rather amazed me.
While my stay as an international student had become well-paced and structured between courses, research and seminars, the Corona virus pandemic arrived with its corollary of panic. Perhaps the most exhilarating thing that happened to me in Brussels was the experience of containment. Very panicked at first, I got used to doing everything from my room. Thanks to the capacity for innovation and rapid adaptation of the Université Saint-Louis, the professors and the administration, the period of confinement was for me intense in terms of volume of work, but with more relaxed methods. The support and almost permanent communication from the International Relations Department gave me confidence.
I am now approaching the last phase of my stay in Brussels, with the conviction of participating in a high-level programme, rich in teaching, experience and focused on knowledge of people and the world.