EU National Institutes for Culture - EUNIC

  • Eric Onyango

EUNIC Mobility Scheme visit: A taste of Belgium, the heartbeat of Europe.

In February 2024, 12 EUNIC member colleagues from across the network visited the EUNIC office in Brussels. Eric Onyango joined from the British Council office in Nairobi, Kenya. In this blogpost, read about his experience!

It was an incredible honour to be hosted by EUNIC Global for the 2023-24 Mobility scheme this February 2024, in deep winter. Coming from a sizzling Nairobi, Kenya to a freezing Brussels was a bit of a body shock. Despite the cold, the Belgian reception was warm. It was finally a traveller’s bucket-list coming to life,in the land of fries and chocolate!

Having interacted with EUNIC during the Sub-Saharan regional convening almost a year earlier and following keenly on its workings, I was looking forward to interacting with other EUNIC members and learning more about the work of EUNIC, its members, clusters and learning more from other participants. The Brussels convening enabled us to learn more about EUNIC’s work as a network and its interactions with the EU institutions. We asked ourselves how to take EU cultural relations to the next level, in Europe and beyond. It was amazing to hear the experiences of previous EUNIC cluster fund beneficiaries from Kenya and Indonesia.

As part of the 'What makes Brussels tick' segment of the two-day visit, I connected with H.E. Amb - Prof Bitange Ndemo who is the Kenyan ambassador to Belgium and the EU. We shared on cultural relations, technology advancement, opportunities for young people and modern-day parenting! He loves writing and says once the first sentence is done, the rest flows. He reminded me that the first step is the hardest but once you make it, you keep moving.

Bruges came calling
Before exiting Belgium, I spent the day in Bruges to take in the historical sites , experience the architecture, immerse myself in the rich history of the city and feel the embrace of her warmth expressed in the rich tapestry of the cobbled streets. Bruges is not to be visited but to be felt. She is Brussel’s fun sister. She is gentle playful and loving. I was lucky to have a stumbled upon the annual carnival through the town, experienced the historium and watched Bruge move as I sampled some cold Doval after a peep at the Beer Museum. I relished the chocolates from Leonida’s on my way back- a reminder of the sweet taste that Bruge, Brussels and the wholesome EUNIC Global experience had left in my mouth.

Co-funded by the European Union Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.