The College administration and academic departments do everything they can to guide and support the students in the best possible way during the current lockdown situation in Belgium, but the nicest and most heartwarming gesture certainly comes from our wonderful host families.
Recently, Mr and Mrs FEY, the host family of our students Silvia BONOMELLI and Parviz RUSTAMOV, came up with a delicious surprise. "As a host family of Silvia and Parviz, we organised a meal delivery service that we have performed for our two guest students. We cooked 'pilav', a typical dish from Azerbaijan where Parviz comes from. It did take us some research, but it's super tasty. A week later, we prepared 'ossobucco', a typical dish of the region of Milan where Silvia comes from. Last week we gave them an Easter menu and we did so strictly according to the rules."
"Our intention is to lift our guest students' spirits in this way and to let them know that they are not alone. We therefore let them know very explicitly that they can always count on us, if only to vent their feelings. On Sunday night, we have a fixed time when we all have a WhatsApp video call. We also try to make this very cozy and usually add a glass of wine — just a way of creating a social and relaxed atmosphere — and it's nice too", explain Mr and Mrs FEY.
The host family project could not be more relevant than in these difficult times.
I am so glad I took part of it.
Silvia BONOMELLI, LAW student from Italy
Of course, our students are incredibly grateful and they wanted to express their warm appreciation towards their caring host family: "I just want to tell you that my host family is absolutely exceptional. They are so kind! They check on me every day and they started bring me and Parviz amazing food and flowers on Sunday, while–this goes without saying–always respecting the rules on social distancing! The first week they cooked an Azerbaijani traditional food and one week later an Italian one to make us feel at home! We also have video calls together. They are super! The host family project could not be more relevant than in these difficult times. I am so glad I took part of it", says Silvia.
Fellow students Elena MINISCI from Italy and Emil TAN from Turkey were also keen on emphasizing the efforts of their host family: "Elena and I wanted to share with you how our host parents Katiane and Dirk have been keeping our spirits up and giving us something to look forward to during the weekends! Due to the lockdown, we cannot meet on Sundays with our host family as usual, so for over a month now, our host mother Katiane has been preparing us food for the weekends. She drops by every Saturday and Sunday to bring us all kinds of lovely treats, from pancakes and cakes for breakfasts to Thai fusion, Italian and Turkish dinners", tells Emil.
"Me and Elena, as well as our families abroad, have been amazed by Katiane and Dirk's kindness and determination to bring something close to home to us and keeping us motivated during these difficult times. We feel so privileged and lucky to be part of Katiane and Dirk’s family here in Bruges. From our movie nights to family dinners and bike rides to outings for coffee and drinks, they have been wonderful to us from the very beginning. So, we just wanted to share this with you to spread this positivism around!"
The College of Europe is very grateful to all those amazing host families for taking care of our students and for showing them around the gorgeous city of Bruges and West-Flanders with all its hidden treasures. Both the host families and the students share their culture heritages and they all learn from one another.
Also interested in becoming one of our host families next year? We are always looking for more welcoming local people to give our students a homely feeling in Bruges and its surroundings. For more information to sign up, please send an email to Mrs. Julie ORTEGAT-TRAEN.