For 5 months I experienced something completely different than I expected: it is more travel and new knowledge, but not ordinary studies. I went with my friend to the small city of Tournai (70,000 inhabitants), which is located right on the border with France. Tornai was the first capital of the Franks, and the cathedral in this city is larger than Notre Dame in Paris.
We lived with Caroline, a sculptor, her house was full of art. She took us to the swimming pool, to the forest, to the sea, to exhibitions, she took me to the doctor when I was sick, often her family or other artists came to her and then we took part in these meetings. With the language for a long time, it was difficult. Our hostess and my favorite professors don’t speak English, so I had to try – yes, I learned French. After four months, I was almost able to “talk with connoisseurs of art at exhibitions.
At school, teachers are friendly and without distance. The lecturer is simply a friend who helps. My favorite graphic design professor always brought us tablets or chocolate eggs. I think he chose them in terms of packaging, tasting chocolate, we analyzed their appearance.
Tournai – a city quite small, nice and cozy, everyone knows each other here. On weekends they organize games and carnivals. However, during my stay, I missed Warsaw. It is not as great and big as cities in Western Europe, but here I have an active life, beloved people and that’s why it is beautiful to me.
I am very grateful for everything I experienced: not only did I experience the teaching process, but also during the stay in Belgium, I met the friendship of people. Amazingly, someone who does not know you accepts into their apartment like their child. During my stay, I traveled, saw other countries and cities – I understood that there are still many unsolved problems in the world. In Belgium, I realized that the most important thing was to have my home and family.
Daryna Antonenko, Valeria Sirash, 2019