By Karel Dejonghe
The end of the semester is nearing for all of us. While I can’t speak for you, I can guarantee I totally enjoyed my stay in Boston for the past couple of months. The classes I took were extremely interesting (Cities, Sustainability and Climate Change; 21st Century City and Ecological Economy) and I enjoyed getting to know my classmates and professors. While the semesters are a couple of weeks shorter than the ones back home, the amount of work we receive does not follow the same pattern. Normally, I’m not used to doing a lot of assignments and homework during the year, so as the procrastinating man I am, my weeks now are cramped with working for school. While one of the three big assignments I had to make has already been completed, two deadlines are yet to come. Therefore, I’m spending my Thanksgiving week and weekend behind my computer. That’s kind of a bummer as I wanted to experience the real American feel of Thanksgiving. But I can’t complain as I already had the honor of spending Election Day here.
To get ready for this hectic last sprint to the finish line, I went out this weekend. Friday evening, I went to an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Steakhouse in Back Bay. Needless to say, I nuked my stomach and was sick for the entire evening. Nevertheless, the meat was excellent and so was my evening! Although I enjoyed the dinner experience, it left me to wonder if it is a sustainable way of eating out. In class we have focused somewhat around the issue of food-security and how overconsumption of meat gravely affects our carbon footprint. This is, I think, a perfect example of how we should not indulge ourselves in the excesses of our current system.
The following day, me, my roommate and his friend went to a frat party at Harvard University. This was the first time I saw the prestigious university as well as my first time at an American frat party. I do feel like Harvard has a more “campus” experience than Northeastern. But that could also be because I live off-campus and thus never spend much time at Northeastern, apart from going to class. Harvard was pretty close to what we are used to seeing in movies. I had a great time and I also met some very interesting people there. I’m very sorry, but I can’t provide a picture of this marvelous event because the camera of my cell phone broke down a couple of weeks ago. But for the foreign students, it’s quite an experience. So, if you ever get the chance to do this, you should!
After the frat party, we went on a party bus that took us to a club downtown. Normally I’m not really fond of going to these establishments, but that night I really enjoyed myself. Quite possibly due to the fact that I knew the amount of work that was waiting for me at home! Spending my Saturday evening clubbing is quite different from what a normal day out in Belgium would look like. If I go out in my hometown, I normally go to the same two bars every week. When I’m out in Leuven—the city where I study—it’s practically the same thing, but like a pub crawl. Going out in Boston was an awesome experience and probably not many Belgians have had that honor. All in all, it was a totally different experience from what I’m used to. As the weekend came to an end, I spent my Sunday having ear-troubles and watching the Patriots game. Needless to say, it was a good afternoon!
So, this is how I spent my weekend, unwinding for the “hard” times to come.
Karel Dejonghe is a Belgian graduate student at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Policy as part of a semester abroad experience, which is an addition to his graduate studies at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Karel has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science and a Graduate Diploma in International Politics. He has traveled all over the world, and this time it’s the U.S. You can mostly find Karel watching a sports game at the Marino Center or at a bar. Karel can be reached via email at email@example.com, Facebook, or Twitter.