9 things you must do in Ghent as an exchange student
As an international student, you want to have done and seen everything Ghent has to offer. Here are nine tips to get you started!
1. Spot the street art and turn it into a real treasure hunt!
As an exchange student you will certainly explore the city extensively. But do you want to do it in an original way? Be guided by the Sorry Not Sorry street art map and discover street art in hidden places in Ghent. From gnome tunnels to artful trash cans, capture your discoveries and share them via #sorrynotsorrygent.
If you're short on time or prefer a more concentrated burst of street art, don't miss the graffiti street. The Werrengarenstraat is a haven of creativity where local artists proudly display their talents and aspiring enthusiasts hone their skills. Prepare to be mesmerized by the explosion of colors and the variety of styles that grace the walls. It's a true reflection of Ghent's artistic spirit and a visual feast for the eyes. The graffiti alley is a designated tolerance zone. As you admire the artwork, be sure to respect the creations of others that may surpass your own skills. Additionally, be mindful of the local residents and their need for a peaceful evening's rest.
2. Soak up Ghent's culture by night!
Feel like discovering more culture? Ghent is the place to be! The city has a rich cultural scene and is home to several museums to explore. For those intrigued by history, Ghent's museums offer a fascinating journey through time. Explore captivating paintings ranging from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, or delve into the world of contemporary art and witness the innovative creations of today's artists. If you have a passion for science and technology. But that's not all! Discover the intriguing history of psychiatric sciences or delve into the fascinating world of the cloth industry that once thrived in Ghent.
A cultural event you shouldn't miss: Museum Night! For this annual spectacle, Ghent's museums open their doors exceptionally after hours. Museum Night is the ultimate opportunity to experience art in a unique setting. Can you see yourself strolling through the beautiful halls of the Museums at dusk? I do!
3. Eat fries along the Coupure
Whoever says Belgium, says fries! When in Belgium, trying the famous Belgian fries is a must! Preferably eating them in the grass along the picturesque Coupure, because that's what students in Ghent love to do. The quiet waterway offers great views of the historic buildings and the charming waterway. Order a portion of crispy fries with a tasty sauce of your choice. A perfect combination of good food and beautiful surroundings!
4. Wander through the Patershol
Dive into Ghent's rich history as you wander through the charming streets of the Patershol. This medieval neighborhood is known for its narrow alleys, historic buildings and cozy atmosphere. Stroll past the old houses and discover hidden squares filled with cozy cafes and restaurants. As you are there, take a culinary world trip and discover not only the old-fashioned Flemish cuisine but also Indonesian, Turkish or Spanish and much more. Are you looking for a cozy spot to grab a bite with friends? Do you want to spend the afternoon strolling around? Or are you looking for an old-fashioned café? Look no further. The Patershol is your chance to satisfy your hunger for both history and delicious food, and create lasting memories with friends.
5. Try local products
Delight your taste buds with the delectable local specialties that Ghent has to offer. Start your culinary adventure with a bite of "neuzekes," a sweet delicacy also known as Ghent's cuberdon. These cone-shaped candies boast a satisfying crunch on the outside and a burst of fruity goodness on the inside. Head to a local candy store and treat yourself to this irresistible delight! And when it comes to savory delights, make sure to savor a serving of waterzooi—a regional soup that dates back to the Middle Ages when fish were actually caught in the Leie River. This hearty dish, prepared with fish or chicken, encapsulates the rich history and flavors of Ghent. Of course, Ghent is also renowned for its vibrant beer culture, and it's an experience you won't want to miss. Wander into any café in Ghent, and don't hesitate to ask for an authentic Ghent beer and enjoy your beer!Bovenkant formulier
6. Attend Ghent’s big events
As an exchange student, you'll want to experience the city's vibrant traditions. Don't miss the enchanting Festival of Lights, for which the city is transformed into a magical spectacle of light and art. Get into the Christmas spirit during Winter In Ghent, where the historic city center is transformed into a winter paradise with a winter wonder castle, Christmas markets and an ice skating rink. Celebrate summer during the Ghent Festivities, a downtown party that lasts up to 10 days! Enjoy concerts, street food, activities, DJ sets and much more during the last two weeks of July.
7. Vegan and veggie spots
Ghent is moving with the times and as a vegan or vegetarian, you will definitely feel at home in city. Ghent offers an array of vegan and veggie-friendly eateries. Calling all vegans and vegetarians! Ghent is a city that embraces the evolving food scene, making it a paradise for plant-based enthusiasts like yourself. Whether you've been following a vegan lifestyle for years or you're simply curious about exploring the world of plant-based cuisine, Ghent will not disappoint! Especially on Thursday, the day known as "veggie day" in Ghent, on which many restaurants offer special veggie menus. From mouthwatering vegan burgers to hearty plant-based stews, you'll find a diverse range of options to satisfy your cravings.
8. Brighten up your dorm with flowers
While you're settling into your new home in Ghent, why not brighten up your dorm room or apartment with a touch of nature? Every Saturday and Sunday, from May to September, you have the perfect opportunity to visit the flower market on the Kouter. Immerse yourself in a vibrant display of colorful blooms and aromatic scents as you stroll through the market. Put together a bouquet of flowers, or buy an exquisite terrace plant.
Once you've made your floral selections, why not treat yourself to a well-deserved break at the kiosk? From 11 am onwards, it turns into an aperobar where you can grab a delicious snack and sip on refreshing drinks. To top it all off, there will be live music to keep you entertained and add to the vibrant atmosphere.
9. Discover the different study spots
Busy studying but tired of your own desk? The city provides several places for students to study. From libraries to historic buildings, you can always find a unique place. Discover them here: https://stad.gent/en/international-students/studying/study-locations