International Student Experience – Erasmus Internship in Belgium

In Ghent University (source: private picture)

Hello, everyone! I’m Aleyna Kayım, Blogger of Spoteurope, and I’m thrilled to share with you today my journey through my Erasmus Internship, a transformative experience that has left an indelible mark on me. Throughout this internship, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in a world of new experiences, challenges, and growth, both personally and professionally. Join me as I delve into the details of this adventure and reflect on the profound impact it has had on my life.

New journey

In Ghent University (source: private picture)

As a recently graduated occupational therapist participating in the Erasmus program, I had the privilege of undertaking a two-month internship at Ghent University’s Occupational Therapy Research Unit. This experience proved to be instructive, allowing me to delve into the processes of academic research within the field. During my time at the research unit, I actively engaged in diverse research activities, from literature reviews to data collection and analysis, working alongside experienced researchers. This opportunity not only deepened my understanding of occupational therapy principles but also equipped me with essential research skills, fostering a foundation for my future endeavors in the academic realm of occupational therapy.

Out of comfort zone

In Ghent University (source: private picture)

Consequently, it proved to be a true “leap out of my comfort zone” experience for me. Departing at the end of August for my internship commencing on September 1st, I embarked on a flight that landed me in Belgium. The moment I emerged from Gent train station, its charm seized me. The aesthetic charm of quaint edifices, expansive boulevards, the pervasive aroma of waffles and fries, and the bicycles all contributed to an enchanting atmosphere. Let me emphasize, that bicycles were in every conceivable space: bicycle parks, lanes, locks, and wheels… individuals pedaling, lugging, and even folding bicycles! And I loved it!

My initial days were devoted to acclimating myself to the city’s labyrinthine streets, pervasive historical ambiance (which seemed to permeate every nook and cranny of the city), the lingual nuances, and, naturally, the seamless transition into speaking English continuously. I encountered numerous individuals, familiarized myself with the office milieu, and grasped the nature of the tasks awaiting me over the ensuing 8 weeks. And so, the journey commenced in earnest!

The internship

(source: private picture)

As a research assistant intern, my responsibilities encompassed a multifaceted array of tasks aimed at contributing to the ongoing research. Primarily, I engaged in the analysis of qualitative data derived from the research project using thematic analysis techniques, meticulously dissecting and interpreting the findings. Furthermore, I employed both textual and graphical methods to visually represent the outcomes of the analysis, facilitating comprehension and dissemination of the results. I undertook fieldwork within the realm of my professional interest, visiting research centers, clinics, and associations dedicated to the rehabilitation of visually impaired individuals in the country. Additionally, my involvement in the weekly and monthly meetings of the research group fostered a collaborative environment wherein I not only stayed abreast of the progress of fellow researchers’ projects but also contributed feedback on my development.


Gent (source: private picture)

Beyond the professional realm, my two-month internship experience extended into a personal odyssey as I traveled the entire country and explored neighboring nations. Each day became an adventure, and as I reflect on this transformative period I feel like I changed and grew with this experience. The internship, extending far beyond its academic scope, has been instrumental in shaping not only my professional trajectory but also fostering personal growth. I am thankful to my supervisor who made this internship possible and to everyone in the office who welcomed me and enriched my learning experience.

If you have any more questions about my experience, you can reach out to me through bl*****@sp********.eu and ask your questions!

Have a great day!

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