Culture, Music, and English Classes in Brussels

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Global Affairs at George Mason University, Samira Radwan spent a year teaching English in Cahors, France, through the Teaching Assistant Program in France before applying to the Fulbright ETA Program. During her second year on the program, Samira returned to Brussels, where she served as an English Teaching Assistant at the Athénée Royal du Sippelberg and OIRD/Université des familles. Samira loved reconnecting with her returning students and meeting new ones. We sat down with Samira to ask her about her time in Belgium.

Q: “You spent two years in Belgium on the Fulbright Program, so this might be a difficult question … but what was a typical day like for you?”

“I would start my morning by waking up and taking the metro to the high school I work at. I teach English or facilitate discussion tables with students. After my time there I go home and have lunch with my partner. Before getting too settled in I head out to teach English at the after school program.”

Q: “In what ways did you interact with your host community in Belgium?”

“I have grown to love the music scene here in Brussels. I like to attend events to see DJ’s and hear up and coming artists. I also learned to play the bass guitar and work with a teacher to develop my skills.”

Q: “How did your interactions with your host community shape your experience in Brussels?”

“I made a lot of friends here and since Brussels is so diverse, I met people from all over the world. It has been a great experience finding out how much I have in common with people who I would have never met outside of this experience. Overtime, I made friends with people who have been here longer and they became a guide for me. They helped me learn how to navigate the city as a local.”


Q: “Can you tell us the story of a particular memorable moment from your time in Belgium?”

“One of my favorite memories with my students is from our Eid party. I taught a class for adults who were parents of students at the after school program. For Eid al-Fitr we had a small gathering with food, tea, and sweets. I brought a Filipino dish called Pancit and they each brought something from their own culture. It was nice trying different Moroccan foods and especially having the chance to share our different traditions with each other, despite recently meeting. I also enjoyed taking some students to see Meriem Bennani’s Cursed Objects exhibition.”

Q: “What advice would you give to someone applying to the Fulbright Program?”

“Highlight your unique talent, abilities, and experiences. There is no one who has lived your life but you, so there is no one better to speak to your strengths! If you are having trouble remembering your strengths, talk to a friend, mentor, or family member to remind you what your strengths are.”