In February 2024, a group of five AAU students took part in a week-long, Erasmus-sponsored program titled “Meeting Intercultural Brussels,” along with Robert Warren, who was one of the program’s key instructors. The Institute of Higher Studies in Social Communication (IHECS), our Belgian partner who hosted the program, reported on the event in an article on their website. We present that article below, unaltered.

Anne Pittomvils and Anne Toussaint prepared and organised the first BIP (Blended Intensive Programme), a busy week as part of the BAC3 MaCCS English course.

Sixty students, each as motivated as the next

In total, more than 60 students had the chance to participate in the project, including 40 students from IHECS. The remaining 24 came from 6 different institutions in Windesheim, Prague, Bucharest, Kaunas, Vilnius and Wroclaw.

A long list of activities was on offer: from a dance workshop to an introduction to percussion, and a visit to the construction site of the future Centre Pompidou Kanal, the participants had the opportunity to fully discover the mix of cultures in Brussels.

Activities were interspersed with interactive lessons also given by Anne Toussaint and Anne Pittomvils, IHECS language teachers, Robert Warren, professor at the AAU in Prague and Dinand Warringa, professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Windesheim. During these lessons, the students divided into small groups to work on a project on the theme of interculturality. To end the week in style, these projects were presented on the last day of the BIP in front of a packed Velge audience.

A week rich in every way 

In parallel with the courses, the students had the opportunity to be welcomed by the Mayor of Brussels, Mr. Philippe Close, in the new “Brucity” building, with a breathtaking view of the panorama of Brussels. They were also able to taste Belgian specialties in one of oldest brands on the Grand Place in Brussels, Le Roy d’Espagne. 

They had the opportunity to get to know each other during the week and to learn more about the various cultures of the participants and also to leave the campus while immersing themselves in the reality of Brussels.

A project which aims to give all students the opportunity to experience mobility

The third year of the Bachelor degree at IHECS is known as the year of international mobility, but not all students leave. To compensate for this, our teachers offered them this international project in English as part of their language course.

The collaboration with teachers from different institutions facilitated a common educational project enriched by the variety of each participant’s initiatives and methodology. 

A successful experience! 

The beaming faces of those taking part in the closing session was evidence of the undeniable success of the project: each student gained confidence by expressing themselves in English, while discovering the abundant cultural wealth of Brussels.

As for the teachers, the success of this week exceeded their expectations. They were highly satisfied with the growth and development of their students. 

Note that another BIP, covering the European elections, is already being prepared and will be held at IHECS in May.

Our warmest thanks go to Anne Pittomvils and Anne Toussaint for their involvement in this project, Sophie Henrard, head of the IHECS international office, without whom the project would not have been successful, as well as Robert Warren and Dinand Warringa, teachers from the two BIP-Intercultural Brussels partner universities. 

AAU at the BIP (Blended Intensive Programme)