The Carnivalesque and Belgian Modernism

The Carnivalesque and Belgian Modernism

Hannah Rose Blakeley was a 2022-2023 Fulbright Student Researcher in Belgium, where she conducted art historical research at Ghent University for her doctoral dissertation, “The Carnivalesque in Belgian Modernism.” Hannah Rose’s project investigates the ways in which two Belgian artists, James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert, employ local Carnival traditions and motifs in their work to grapple with themes of political upheaval, social transgression, and modern identity. We sat down with Hannah Rose to ask her about her time in Belgium and the advice she would give to a prospective applicant. Q: “What inspired you to come to Belgium for your research, and to apply to the Fulbright Program?” “The Fulbright Program enabled me to conduct on-site research essential for my dissertation, given that much of Ensor’s and Spilliaert’s work is largely inaccessible outside of Belgium. Fulbright provided me the opportunity to repeatedly see these artists’ works in person and to establish an international community of specialists in my field. The […]

In Search of Hawaiʻi in Antwerp

During the 2022-23 academic year, Rickey Larkin received a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to conduct research on the linguistic landscapes of poke restaurants in Belgium at the Universiteit Antwerpen. We sat down with Rickey to ask him about his time in Antwerp. Q: “What inspired you to use poke as your object of study? How did that lead you to Belgium?” “I was lucky enough to visit Belgium once before applying to visit a friend. During that trip I became interested in researching the public display of language in Belgium in particular because of its unique multilingual society. While there, I met with my sponsor, Dr. Mieke Vandenbroucke. We had a discussion on a related project on graffiti and I left ready to work on the proposal. However, after walking around Antwerp and seeing the large number of poke bowl restaurants I realized quickly that it made more sense for me, coming from the University of Hawaiʻi […]

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 […]

A Week in the Life at Michigan State

Julie Mennes was a Belgian 2022-2023 Fulbright Visiting Scholar to the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI)Center at Michigan State University MSU. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Logic andPhilosophy of Science at Ghent University. She has an interdisciplinary PhD in Philosophy andLinguistics. In her doctoral research, she applied techniques from computational linguistics to studyterminological ambiguity in cross-disciplinary teams. Her current research is focused on cross-disciplinary knowledge integration and integrative expertise. We sat down with Julie to ask her about her time in the United States. Q: “Can you describe a typical day in your life in the USA?” “Rather than typical days, I had typical weeks. On Monday mornings, I would join the meeting of themembers of the TDI Center where they coordinate, exchange updates and discuss new opportunities.In the afternoon, I would catch up with members of the broader TDI Community and work on acollaborative project. My Host Professor and I would meet on Wednesdays for a […]

Studying Law and Exploring New Cultures in Boston

Kwinten Dewaele was a Belgian 2022-2023 Fulbright Student to Harvard University. Kwinten previously studied law at KU Leuven (2014-2019) specializing in economic and private law. After graduating, he joined the Institute for Contract Law at KU Leuven as a junior researcher and teaching assistant. Kwinten completed an LL.M. at Harvard’s Law School. We sat down with Kwinten to ask him about his time in the United States and how it changed his career plans. Q: “How did you hear about the Fulbright Program? What motivated you to apply, and what do you remember from the selection process?” “I heard about the Fulbright Program from my home university (KU Leuven) where information sessions on how to go and study abroad also include information on the available fellowships. I always knew that I wanted to go to the United States and was happily surprised to find that the Fulbright Program could aid me make this dream come true. I remember being very […]

Teaching (with a Dash of Research) at the Institute of Tropical Medicine

Maxim Petrovsky was a 2022-2023 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Antwerp, Belgium at the Institute of Tropical Medicine. Maxim graduated from Northeastern University in 2020 with a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. In addition to his work teaching English at the ITM, he enjoyed collaborating with the ITM community on research and preparing for his time in medical school. We sat down with Maxim to ask him about his time in Belgium and how it changed his career plans. Q: “What inspired you to apply to the Fulbright Program?” “I applied to the Fulbright Program for a few key reasons. As a non-native English speaker, I have always been passionate about English teaching and sought to enable others with effective communication tools. The Fulbright Program presented an exceptional opportunity to do exactly that beyond the borders of the United States. The opportunity to teach English while ingraining myself in the unique and multicultural environment of Antwerp, Belgium was especially exciting.” Q: […]

Comics, Cowboys, and Rats: A Brussels Experience

Brussels is an illustrated city; all around the center and the various neighborhoods, you see murals of famous comic book characters, from Tintin to the Smurfs. So, as a comics scholar, Belgium is the place to be. The allure of studying in an international city drew me in, so I left sunny California for rainy Belgium in hopes of continuing studies I started back home on nationalism in popular culture.  And for the sake of the story, I will now turn transform into how I view myself in my mind’s eye. My research snagged early on when I realized that national identity in Belgium is practically non-existent. This realization forced me to pivot to a new topic and I immersed myself in Ghent University’s Van Passen Comics Collection in search of inspiration. As I flipped through an seemingly endless amount of comic books, I found a surprising pattern: cowboys were everywhere. In periodicals, magazines, the covers of Spirou. The pile […]

Creating a Little Home

On paper, the job requirements of an English Teaching Assistant are to provide a cultural exchange in the classroom and to engage with the community. In practice, you are tasked with creating a home in a completely new place. I worked as an English Teach Assistant at UCLouvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, while living in Brussels. Coming from a big city like Dallas, I chose to live in Brussels as I wanted to experience the center of Europe up close. I had already visited Brussels in the past years and loved it. However, I soon learned that visiting as a tourist and living in a city are two very different experiences. Anxiety and Perfectionism Through my high school and college career, I strived to try to be the best at whatever I do. I approached the Fulbright in the same way. However, I underestimated the time and energy needed for such a huge adjustment from transitioning out of undergraduate to living in […]

Living with a Host Family Throughout my Fulbright Grant Term in Belgium

I was initially hesitant to fit my small number of belongings to the cracks and crevices of an already occupied and overflowing Belgian home. Nine months ago, I would have never imagined myself moving in with a host family for my Fulbright year. Growing up as an only child and enjoying the comforts of my own space throughout college, sharing everything except a bedroom with a family of five—or six if we count Yalta, the 15-year-old Schnauzer and Bouvier des Flandres mix—was uncharted territory. But reflecting back on my experiences in Belgium now, I would not change a single thing. Living with a Belgian family throughout the grant period allowed me to immerse deeply into my host country’s culture. The Liénarts and I often shared intimate dinners where my host mother would gossip about the women in her bridge club and I would inquire about the meanings of Belgicisms she placed so effortlessly into her sentences. I once accompanied them […]