Madeleine Harder- Brussels, Belgium

QU301 prof picHello! My name is Madeleine Harder and as you probably know by now I will be studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium during the spring of 2016. Belgium has a unique reputation within the European Union as a boring country (no, this isn’t a joke). When I tell people that I will be departing for Belgium in two months I get a perplexed look. However there is a reason that I chose Belgium and Brussels in particular.

But before I get to the reason why I chose Belgium, a bit of a backstory is required. Traveling with my family helped me realize my love for international cultures and experiences very early in life. I noticed that every culture communicated differently and I wanted to explore this difference in communication practices in college. I paired this with an international business minor and later with another minor in political science. I wanted to understand the political system around which the world is built and how countries conduct business between each other within this system.

Brussels is known as the international business capital of Western Europe and though it might be classified as a boring country the opportunities within my field of study are endless. Henry Miller has been quoted as saying, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” By studying in Brussels I hope to be able to analyze major political events from a new standpoint and understand with which countries the Kingdom of Belgium conducts business.

Rites of Passage Theory

As with any subject, it is one thing to learn about a theory in the classroom but it is something completely different to apply it to everyday life. However it is by applying it to everyday life that this theory becomes more than a theory—it becomes concrete and something that a person can grasp. By applying the rites of passage theory to my study abroad experience I hope to be able to qualify and share my experiences in Belgium.

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