My name is Mathilde Falcou-Préfol, and I come from France. I am currently a joint PhD candidate at the Department of Biology at UAntwerpen and at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at UGent working on the development of methods to detect micro- and nano-plastics in the environment and more precisely in the Scheldt estuary. I come from France, however during my Bachelor and Master degrees, I lived and studied in different part of France but also in Germany and the UK where I was always delighted to enjoy the different cultures, gastronomies, and any little discovery I could make.

I am now in Antwerp for one and a half year. And, I am still enjoying discovering new places that Antwerp has to offer… and I think I won’t have time to discover everything it could offer during my planned time in this beautiful city that you first have to learn to live in but from this moment will stand as a piece of you. I deeply appreciate walking or biking in the streets and along the Scheldt to enjoy the different architecture styles and landscape: we can really say that each district has is own identity and character.

So far, I had the chance to join various (and numerous 😉) activities proposed by MONDO including visit of museums (Red Star Line and Photo museum of Antwerp-FOMU), the guided city tour in Cadix district, walks in group in different parks, and festivals in Antwerp (De Grote Schijn and Witch Hazel festival).

I was so lucky to first join the Red Star Line museum which in my opinion is the best first insight you can have on Antwerp history that explains both its current shape and its multiculturalism (more than 165 nationalities in Antwerp!). I also really enjoyed the guided city tour in Cadix district which is a fast changing district in the old port area that I never had the idea to go through before except on the Scheldt banks. The last activity I took part to was the Witch Hazel festival in the Arboretum in Kalmthout. It was such a pleasure to see the colours panel of the winter flowering hamamelis in this long- and rich-historical institution. I am now thinking of going at different seasons to see and appreciate the diverse flowering plants across the year.

It is always a pleasure to join MONDO activities as far for the new knowledge and view it gives on what Antwerp can offer you. But also, this is a wonderful social gateway to meet other international students and staff members from different departments of the University of Antwerp which is really nice and always stand as a learning experience and a wonderful moment. The awesome MONDO team is always willing to offer you the best of Antwerp with a high diversity of types of activities, so next time you receive a MONDO activity update in your emails, don’t hesitate and sign in!