Georgia - KU Leuven

M Architecture
Semester 1, 2019
The experiences and knowledge I have gained from this semester have been superb and I hope to return again someday!

Academic experience

I studied four courses as part of KU Leuven’s at the campus in Ghent. The courses were a design studio set in Morocco, Climate design and Sustainability, Architectural Anthropology and Ecology and Sustainability. I really enjoyed all these courses as they had a strong focus on sustainable architecture and the future of architectural design. The school made it easy to choose courses and were really helpful throughout the enrolment and study process.

Personal experience

I had a great time studying in Ghent which was partly to do with the university but also because of the fabulous city. I had no expectations of Ghent but was pleasantly surprised as even though it is small with a beautiful historic city centre it is also very contemporary and thriving in other ways. Ghent is known as a university town and is brim full of students meaning that cheap bars, canal picnic spots, great op-shops and cheap eats are everywhere. Because of this and the general closeness of everything in Ghent, spontaneous picnics and beers on the canal were often and meant it was very easy to make friends.


I lived in an apartment with a couple of other students in the suburb of Patershol in the centre of Ghent. Other students stayed in rooms called ‘kots’ which where large bedrooms with a sink and sometimes a little kitchenette. These rooms were found in large houses and had shared communal areas.  Some of these kots were really nice so if you are more interested in living more privately then this might be an option for you.


Rent and food costs were about the same as in Brisbane, this meant that shopping at plastic free supermarkets and buying local wasn’t expensive. For entertainments there were loads of bars and clubs, plus trips to Brussels to see bands were cheap. As Belgium is in such a good location, travel was also quite inexpensive with Eurostar snap tickets and Ryanair flights being easily accessible from Brussels. This meant weekends in Rotterdam and London were really easy to do.


The main challenge I experienced was the consistent groupwork for each of my subjects. Luckily however, most of my teams had great group dynamics and meant that I made some really good friends.

Professional Development

From studying at KU Leuven in Ghent I have a more thorough knowledge of sustainable design systems and techniques. It was surprising to understand what steps Belgium and other European are taking to combat climate change and promote positive urbanism and how they hope to move into the future. I really want to continue to pursue this topic within my studies and future career.


The highlight of my experience was the design studio I took that was set in Morocco. It was run by two amazing teachers, one who was part of the emerging BC architects. This firm specialises in using local sustainable materials and have worked across the globe. The opportunity to travel with them to help design a school for a small village near Agadir was invaluable and something I will always remember.

Top tips

My advice would be to research housing before you come over so you have an idea of where you are moving. Also choosing the right campus is important. KU Leaven teaches architecture in both Brussels and Ghent and you are able to choose subjects from both campuses. The focus for the Brussels campus is urbanism which Ghent’s is sustainability.