Clothing & dress code
Clothing & climate
The Belgian climate can seem harsh to students and scholars who come from a warm climate. The dampness and wind in winter can make it seem even colder.
Make sure you have warm clothes which will protect you in all types of weather. You may need an umbrella and a waterproof coat for the rain as well as some strong waterproof shoes. Gloves, hats and scarves are also useful in the winter. You may find it cheaper (and more practical) to buy some of these things when you arrive in Ghent.
You should always be prepared as Belgian weather is very changeable, especially in autumn and spring.
Make sure that the rooms where you live and work are warm enough and that you have plenty of warm blankets or bedding. But, don't keep your room too hot as heating, particularly electrical heating, is very expensive and you will feel even colder when you do have to go out.
Dress is a matter of fashion these days. Rules of dress no longer exist in most spheres. But the formal suit, shirt, and tie are still regarded as the proper way to dress in business life. At universities and other research institutes, everyday outfit is usually rather informal; however, this varies depending on scientific discipline and departmental culture. The same rules apply to students. When going to classes, your dress style may be quite casual. But a lot of professor appreciate elegantly dressed students during the (oral) examinations (as a sign of respect).
Depending on your home culture, you might be shocked by the liberal dress code that applies in Flanders. Revealing clothing is perfectly acceptable in this country. No conclusions should be drawn about a person's morals from the way he or she dresses.
Still, people are often judged by what they wear, especially on offical occasions and in professional life. So dress should not be too casual on such occassions nor, for example, if you are invited to evening functions, the theatre, or lectures.