Student Blog: Notes from Brussels (Internship)
On Saying Goodbye to Brussels, Belgium
by Shahin Soltan '09
My last full week of work and stay in Belgium was not very hectic. I was left more alone to work on the continuously incoming bank statements. The only major project I worked on was to help prepare data for use in a press release about the first half of 2008. I had to create excel files with formulas which could be used in the release. I had been given this task from the consolidation department and they also provided me with last year's report so I had somewhat of a clue as to what the outline would look like.
The most interesting thing that happened during my final week was actually the celebration of Belgium's national holiday Monday July 21 st. Although it was a bit rainy, it was interesting to see that many people out on the streets to celebrating. The rain didn't seem to stop them and I could understand why. On a long strip on the way to "Parc du Royal," they had food, clowns, music and other types of activities, especially for the children to enjoy. I can't remember when I saw that many people gathered on a single strip at the same time. As we ( Chad and I) arrived at the park we saw Judo training, soccer games, scuba diving etc. While we were walking, I noticed a crowd beginning to build around fences that the police had put up. We couldn't understand why people were standing there or why those fences were up, but we figured we would soon find out. So we kept walking, we saw military personnel in the middle of the streets. As we kept walking, we saw tanks and other equipment used by the military in Belgium. Apparently, they were having a military parade and I believe what we saw was a mix between Belgian national forces and NATO forces which also operate in the country.
After the parade, we decided to head back toward the hotel again but it was so hard getting through all of the people and the fact that they had blocked off the some of the roads. We were stuck at one spot for around 10 minutes, but later managed to gradually move our way forward. On the way back, I had something very prominent in Belgium, waffles. I ordered a "special" waffle with strawberries and whipped cream on top of it which cost me 5 Euros, which is the equivalent of around 8 U.S. dollars. To me, that seemed kind of expensive for just a waffle but it was definitely worth it; I just had to try one with the topping on it before I left.
As we came closer to the hotel, we heard someone speaking in a microphone. Chad wanted to go see where it came from so we went and we saw a police officer speaking to a crowd. It was a K-9 unit training which was giving a demonstration for the public. The most spectacular thing I saw was a police man dressed up as a "bad guy" standing behind a car making noises. The other police officer in charge of the K-9 unit released the dog which jumped over the car (instead of going around the car) and attacked the man. Obviously, the "bad guy" was wearing heavily protected clothing which prevented him from being injured. It was interesting, however, to see how well the police dogs was actually trained.
After the demonstration was over, I went back to the room and relaxed for the rest of the day. They had some fireworks later on in the evening which I enjoyed watching from my window.
I am leaving Belgium on Wednesday to go home to Sweden for a few days to relax and see my mother. I believe my aunt is also scheduled to show up from Oslo, Norway, so that will be lots of fun. I haven't seen her in several years so we have lots of catching up to do. Then after that, it's off to Salisbury and Food Lion again. I will be working at the corporate headquarters for about week and then will be able to enjoy some time off before school starts back up in late August. Being in Belgium has been a wonderful experience for me and I hope to take with me as much as I can from what I have learned from here.
I just want to finish off by saying thank you to everybody who has been interested in reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it and that I have contributed in one way or another to help you better understand what an international internship is all about. I had lots of fun sharing my stories with you, and although this has been my first time blogging, I am quite sure it won't be my last.
PHOTOS: Business Internship in Brussels, Belgium