The following information should prove useful for those attending Belgium 2012. Course information will be in a separate post.
First, here is a list of the addresses and contact information for where we’ll be staying, including linked maps for each address.
Second, some US cell phones will work in Belgium, but the costs are exorbitant. For alternatives, consider skype, email, etc, since all flats will have free wifi service. You could also purchase a disposable phone in Brussels rather cheaply, or you can try one of the cell phone rental services.
Third, all flats come equipped with full-service kitchen, and you will have access to laundry facilities, free of charge in the building or your flat. Again, free wifi is available for your flat, and most come with large screen televisions. See a post below for pictures of the flats.
Fourth, there are numerous shops and restaurants nearby, including a large grocery across the street. Bring a large sack or backpack for the groceries since many don’t provide bags for your purchases (and you pack your bags yourself).
Fifth, several languages are spoken in Belgium, but French is most dominant in the area where we’ll be staying. It’d go a long way, I think, for you to be able to say please (s’il vous plait), excuse me (pardon), thank you (merci), and hello (bonjour) in French. Would you expect less of those traveling to Tuscaloosa?
Sixth, pack smart. Do NOT(!!!) pack three or more bags for a three and a half week trip. You’ll look ridiculous, and you’ll have difficulty carrying your own bags. You must be able to carry all your own luggage. We will be taking several day and weekend trips. It’d also be wise to pack a backpack for these excursions since we won’t have a chance to check-in immediately after arriving in London and Paris.
Last, our flats are located in the European Quarter of Brussels and are very close (12 minute walk) to the Schuman Station metro, train, bus stop. There’s also a local tram nearby. You’ll be given a 10-trip pass for the metro very early in the program that will cover all program-related travel within the city, but you can always purchase additional “jump passes” for less than 1.5 euros at the station. (All city-to-city train travel is covered by the program.)