After a really short night – the last participants arrived at 1 am – and a brief get-to-know-each other we moved from our nice accommodation to the centre of to Brusseles, to the museum BELvue which is our working place for this week.
There the students jumped right into the topic while finding words connected to minorities, cluster and discuss them. This was a good brainstorming for the following task: Finding ONE question per group concerning minoritie and ask it not only to the other students but also to two experts: Hans Vandecandelaere, an historian who is currently writing a book about minorities in Brussels, and Prahbu Rajagopal who is working about the topic of migration for the King Baudouin Foundation.
But how easy is it really to find minorities in Brussels, let’s say in the Metro? And how many could be found in the city that is supposed to host people with 180 different nationalities? The students went in small groups to conduct speed-interviews in the metro while going to different parts of Brussels. They talked to people from more than 30 different origins, from Europe, Asia and Africa. But most of the interviewees were consider them Belgian in the first place. The short time they had for that talks left many questions unasked but it gaves a first impression about the variety of minorities, and there will be more and more intensive interviews later this week. Hans Vandecandelaere provided them with more facts about the history of minorities and migration of Brussels and them we left the BELvue for a sightseeing highlight: We went the 800 steps up to the top of the cathedral and enjoyed an amazing view over Brussels. This day ended with a dinner in a typical Belgian restaurant and tired but full of impressions we caught the last bus home.