First contact with ICC Belgium, and an unforgettable ICC day!

On November 14th 2014, ICC Belgium organized an ICC day and invited some international guests to come to Belgium for the weekend. Adrian and I decided to come and stay together, so we quickly began arranging our journey.

We got a sleeping place organized at one of the ICC Belgium staff member’s house, and whereas Adrian went to Brussels by bus, I still had a day of school in Marburg, before I could depart in the evening by train.
Since this was my first journey by train abroad, I first had to get familiar with a couple of stuff. Firstly, they were, and are still not able to send you a seat reservation online. Reservations can be arranged in the travel agency or they can be received by post or with a certain code that should be entered at the ticket machine to obtain the reservations or tickets.
Furthermore, the German handicapped ID won’t be accepted on the train abroad. Therefore, as I traveled with Adrian as an escort person back to Germany, I needed an extra escort ticket. It’s free of charge, and I also had to obtain it from the ticket machine; fortunately, with sighted support, as the ticket machines are not accessible.
The train ride to Brussels went just smooth, and no problems had occurred. Adrian and Natacha picked me up in Brussels and after a dinner at a fries shop, we went to her place and went to sleep.

On Saturday morning, we departed to the school where the ICC day was going to take place. After a short welcoming ceremony, we had to decide which workshop we wanted to attend for the first phase of the day.
The ICC day itself was mainly Dutch spoken, but during the Scoop workshop that I attended, Youssri first demonstrated the software to the others in Dutch before he came over to Adrian and me to explain everything in English.
“Scoop, your crazy sound soup!” is a software that should help you creating your own audioplays. Although I can achiev more with Audacity, Goldwave, Reaper, etc., it is quite funny to fiddle around with it anyway, as there are some characters and their pre-recorded phrases already included, so you got less work recording your own custom characters.

After a lunch break and a chat with some ICC friends we met, it was time for the second half; this time, with the KNFB Reader workshop!
The KNFB reader is an OCR app for smartphones that recognizes text that you photograph with your smartphone’s camera. Additionally, it is also possible to get live-feedback from the app on how to properly position the phone to the text in order to get a more accurate result when taking a picture; plus, you can export the results as a word, text or html document to Dropbox or get it sent via E-Mail or other ways.

For everybody’s convenience, we decided to just stick to English.
In my opinion, the workshop, as well as the app, was just awesome! A couple of months later, I decided to buy KNFB Reader for my convenience.

The ICC day ended with a dancing activity. Fortunately, they spoke English from the beginning, as my Dutch knowledge was still quite low at this time; I started learning it just a month ago.
After the ICC day was officially over, together with the Belgian delegation, we went to a great restaurant in the Flemish city of Leuven.
To stay together with the Belgian delegation a little longer, Gwen offered us to move over to her place, where some of our Belgian friends were staying the night as well.

We ended up in a pub cellebrating for most of the night until, finally, the majority decided to go get some sleep.

The next day when we woke up, we had to leave real soon in order to get our train back. Adrian left the train in Cologne, whereas I remained in the train until Frankfurt, the final destination, where the train station staff picked me up to get me to my connecting service to Marburg.
By accident, however, he put me into the wrong part of the train that would split up from the train to Marburg in Gießen. Luckily, a group of passengers with whom I had a chat also picked the wrong train part and helped me getting over into the right train.
When we finally arrived back in Marburg, they offered me a lift to my group by car. After hesitating and arguing for a little while, I agreed, as I didn’t have enough money for a taxi and I also didn’t feel like waiting for the bus, which would depart quite rarely on Sunday evening anyway.

After all, the weekend was just awesome, and I especially appreciated the support and accomodation from ICC Belgium! On the other hand, for the first time doing this, it was quite exhausting and I was happy to be back home safe and sound in my own room, where I could finally chill down and prepare myself for the next day of school.


To find out more about the work of ICC Belgium, visit them on the web at www.iccbelgium.org!

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