by Seyhan Kâhya
For over a year, I belong to those kinds of students referred to as ‘internationals’. One of those students who is notorious for managing an infamous work-life balance; one of those students who rejects to call ‘making a sandwich’ cooking but accepts it more and more as a legitimate lunch dish; one of those students who did a gap year (note: ask the closest Flemish student you can find what a gap year would have done to their lives – and don’t forget to email us their answers), yet has no fear of being jobless; and one of those students who often spends their weekends in Leuven. However, not one of those students who has seen more the neighbouring countries than their neighbouring provinces. More likely, one of those students whose heat map glows Sundays red in the vicinity of ‘Naamsestraat 96’. Yes, one of those students.
‘Those’ refers to the 10’000 of us, ‘the internationals’, who have decided to dive into this potpourri of student life in Leuven. For some of us, this dive was an elegant swallow dive, for others it was another ‘pancake landing’. We have since wandered, wondered, and, sometimes, pondered about this city and its so-called student life. Each of these moments created a story. Some of the stories were palatable food for the soul, mind or gums, while others felt like a bitter pill. Some stories may have caused a tear drop from laughter or sorrow while others a hurricane from much stronger emotions. When written down, these stories illustrate the issues from the lenses of an ‘international’. Stories such as build bridges between Flemish and international students and among international students alike. Furthermore, these stories will tear down our walls of ignorance and walk a mile in another person’s shoes to help us exercise compassion and empathy.
My aim as the editor is to bring the broad and diverse perspectives of ‘internationals’ to the fore. Eventually creating a mutual understanding about each other. We will publish experiences from trips and travels (after all, that’s what international students do, right?), lesser known but fun things to do in and around Leuven. Last, but not least, delicious recipes fitting the mood of the month, as often wished by internationals.