Student Blog: Notes from Brussels (Internship)
Week 2 of Internship in Brussels, Belgium
by Shahin Soltan '09
My second week in Belgium was very interesting. On Tuesday, my friend from Sweden named Arvin came to visit. Sweden is only a two-hour flight from here so it wasn't too long of a flight for him. I was very glad that he came to visit because I don't get to see my friends from back home very much considering I am in the United States most of the time.
After I picked Arvin up from the airport, we decided to just walk around Brussels for a while. I wanted to see this very nice park that they have here. The park ended up being more difficult to find than I thought. We asked an older man for directions but it wasn't very helpful because he had only been in Brussels for a day. We just kept walking and walking until we ended up in a not so good area of Brussels. And it was getting dark, so we decided it was time to get back to the hotel. I had planned for my friend and I to go watch the French Open in Paris, but by the time I called for tickets it was already too late. Someone later told me that I should have booked tickets in January for this tournament.
Work was a little bit unusual this week as well. On Thursday and Friday, we had special learning sessions that the other intern and I got the chance to be a part of. This is something put together by Delhaize Group once a year and is called "Skill of the Year." "Skill of the Year" has been going on for three years and its purpose is to better prepare the higher level management people of the organization to handle the business. Each entity within Delhaize Group has its own "Skill of the Year" and last week it was Delhaize Belgium's turn. This year's topic for the sessions was People Development — how to make people and yourself develop in a healthy and stable way. What is important to think about when dealing with people, etc. Although two long days of learning and exercises made me a bit tired, it was very helpful and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to participate.
On Saturday, my buddy and I wanted to watch the opening ceremony and first two games of the European Soccer Championships. We went to a place called De Bruckere in central Brussels in order to find a nice restaurant to watch the games. Finding a restaurant that showed the games wasn't very easy. Either I didn't know where to go or Belgians just aren't very interested in the Euro Championships because their country failed to qualify. Maybe it was a little bit of both. We found two restaurants that showed it. One was just too much smoke and smokers and it would have been impossible for me to be in there for very long, and in the other one, there weren't any good seats for us to see the TV screen. So, we decided to go back to the hotel to watch it instead.
On the way back, we stopped and grabbed some food. Arvin and I ordered a wrap chicken from a food stand. I wanted spicy but Arvin doesn't like spicy, so he didn't order that. However, he was smarter than I because that was the spiciest chicken I had ever had. The person making it had warned me beforehand that it is very spicy but I thought I could handle that and I didn't take him very seriously. After taking a few bites, tears started coming down my eyes and my mouth was on fire. I had never drank as much Coke at one time as I did while I was eating that chicken wrap.
Today is Sunday and I am looking forward to watching the finals in French Open. The world's best player in the world is playing against the world's best player on clay and the number two player in the world. This will be a very interesting game, and although I cannot see it live in Paris, it will still be one of the most exciting tennis matches of the year for me.
PHOTOS: Business Internship in Brussels, Belgium