Compared to other European programmes on infectious and tropical diseases, UAntwerp offers courses on broader subject areas such as public health, healthcare, statistics and epidemiology.
Julia Port about Master of Biomedical Sciences: Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Why did you decide to study at the University of Antwerp?
I was looking for a programme that offers a specialization in infectious diseases and tropical medicine. Because I am originally from Germany, I first checked in my own country and then expanded my search to other European countries.
I checked the academic programme of the M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences: Infectious and Tropical Diseases and I found it much more interesting compared to other programmes as it also offers courses on broader subject areas such as public health, healthcare, statistics, epidemiology, and so on. Moreover, the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp also offers a lot of research opportunities, which makes an additional asset.
First moments in Antwerp
I think moving to Belgium went reasonably well. Because I am from Germany where it also takes quite some time to become friends with people, I didn’t have a culture shock to go through. There are in my opinion not that many differences between the two countries, even the languages are quite similar. The teaching language of my master programme is English, so there was no language course necessary to catch up. As for finding housing, I had some help from the International Office. They suggested a couple of places where I could find accommodation. When it comes to integration I should explain that it was the second time abroad for me so it was not a priority to have a real contact/experience with locals. I just wanted to meet new people, so I preferred accommodation with people from different backgrounds.
A programme designed for international and Belgian students
The professors at my faculty are all very well prepared to teach international students which is a must as the programme targets an international audience. Almost half of my fellow students are international students and all courses are taught in English.
I think the course selection is very well done and you learn a lot but it’s quite theoretical. For me this was ok because I wanted a specialization in knowledge, not in practical experience because I already have that. For students wanting to learn skills this master programme might be less suitable. The focus of the programme is on research and you need to have a good basis to keep up.
I like the multicultural aspect of Antwerp, you can meet a lot of unique people and it is ok to be yourself. There are no rules dictating everybody should behave in this or that way and I think that is really nice!
Before the start of the academic year
I would advise students to travel to Antwerp a couple of weeks before the start of the academic year. This allows you to do a language course or other activities and to get involved in the cultural life more easy. Also the weather during the summer is nice and there are a lot of summer activities in Antwerp so it’s a good time to get to know new people. Students should also be aware that the cost of living might be higher to what they are used to in their home country.