Warm Greeting from Gent University, Belgium!

Hi everyone!

I am an MA student at Gent University which is situated in the beautiful city of Ghent. Well, what am I studying? The program I am following is actually for those who love both English Literature and Linguistics; however who are more prone to studying Literature. In other words, for those who love Literature but at the same time,cannot abandon Linguistics and rather want to mix both. I know this sounds unfamiliar, but yes in Europe there are lots of programs like this. I mean, you do not have to study English Literature all alone or Linguistics, but you can have lectures that blend the two. So, I am studying ‘‘Master of Arts in Linguistics and Literature, Main subject: English’’ in full name. This piece of guideline will be all about this program, so sorry for the ones who want to continue with ELT. Below, you may find the full program and the brief introduction of the courses: http://studiegids.ugent.be/2014/EN/FACULTY/A/MABA/AMTALEEN/AMTALEEN.html

First of all, I have to tell that this program is for 1 year (60 credits), which means you have to study two times more than you have to do in a Master program in Turkey. You get exactly the same amount of courses and are supposed to submit a master’s dissertation of 80 pages; however only in one year. So, what you are supposed to do here to complete this program is much more important than learning about how you can apply and get admission. That’s why I am going to start with my experience here:

Now I have been studying in Gent for almost 5 months and I have already completed the first semester. Well, I am aware that you are all METU students and know a lot about studying in Europe thanks to the Erasmus program. However, in Erasmus program your ultimate goal was not to study, but rather to see Europe, to know people and to enjoy. Well, that is quite normal for Erasmus, but I am sorry to tell you that you have to erase those thoughts from your mind if you want to complete an MA in Gent. Of course you will enjoy, because you are going to live here for a year, but still you cannot be that free. As for myself, the first 1-2 months here was a disaster for me; well because I used to be one of the top students at METU and my English was praised by my professors and friends. Only when I entered the first lecture here and saw all those students who spoke perfect English and a professor whose speech I really could not catch up with that I understood that I am only perfect in my countryJ. We used to read books at METU, but not 200 a day! Not having to finish a book for every one of the course for every week! You wonder how your classmates read them as they are out in the pubs nearly every evening, when you spend all your time in your room reading. You cannot even think about passing the course without reading those and by just having a look at the summary; all my friends who have not read those have failed, I can say. For the exams; it is quite different from the way we have at METU. Rather than having a lot of questions asking you everything about the lectures, here there are only two questions. One of them is about the lecture itself and it can be anything, so you have to study all of the texts; and the other one is completely a new piece of text or article that you have to analyze yourself by applying your knowledge. The thing is that you are supposed to answer these orally in 8-10 minutes. So, keep in mind that it is not easy and you will be facing a really different education system here. Yet, if you study really hard, there is nothing we cannot do.

For the applying procedure, it is actually easier than the process in Turkey. First of all, you have better create a web-site or a blog of your own and put it under your e-mails which you will send to the university. You can get some idea from mine; www.seymanuronal.com

If you put your CV, your documents (lesson plans, term projects, researches, essays, teaching videos), and all of the activities you have been participated on your web-site, the university will get to know you before you submit the documents. This is the most important part, because here more than your grades and your success in the exams, other activities you are involved in play a bigger role in your admission. After you create your web-page or blog, you send a brief e-mail telling about yourself and that you are going to apply for the program. Second stage is preparing the documents and everything you need is written on this web-site:http://www.ugent.be/en/education/degree/practical/application/apply.htm

You are supposed to submit an IELTS or TOEFL score, but don’t worry, you will no doubt get the necessary score. Then all you have to do is send those papers until 1 March to the university and then you can relax; there is no oral exam. If you do everything properly and write an effective letter of motivation, then be sure, you will be admitted.

For the tuition fee and the scholarships, I am sorry to tell you that there are no scholarships. One is expected to be happy to be studying at this university which is among the first 150 of the world, without paying much. In other universities that are in high rank as Gent University, the tuition fees are quite high (between 10.000-16.000 Euros); while for Gent, it is only 619 Euros for the whole year. All I can tell you is this, but you may always ask for the ways of scholarship with sending a brief e-mail.

What I can advise you is that, please don’t think studying abroad is only a dream. You are all METU students who are among the best students of Turkey, so why not improve yourself even in a better university and with a better education system, while enjoying the beautiful city of Gent. Just apply and you will see that everything is not that difficult. If someone out there is able to do it (like me), then surely you can!

One last thing I should write about is the language courses available here. Each university, as well as Gent, have a Language Center which offers any language course. They are all really cheap (30-40 Euro for the whole semester), and you cannot see a piece of grammar teaching. Rather, the teaching style is just like the ones we see in our Methodology classes at METU, a lot of communication, etc. Here, I am attending a French course and have already started to speak with the right accent only in 2.5 months. Be sure, it is just the opposite of the French classes that we have to attend in our department, learning only grammar. Here, you really acquire the language!

That is all I can tell you from here. If you have further questions or need any help, please feel free to contact me via this e-mail: onalseymanur@gmail.com

Şeyma Nur Önal, METU FLE 2014

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