The university college rooted in Antwerp
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS © AP HOGESCHOOL
For many, the years they spend in college, are the best they ever have. You live on your own for the first time and make new friends while finally working towards achieving your dreams. To make the most out of these magical years, you have to choose the perfect college or an amazing city. At AP Hogeschool, however, you will find both. There, you gain an excellent education in a wide range of domains, while enjoying the amazing city of Antwerp.
Antwerp is Belgium’s largest and most vibrant city. With its strongly rejuvenating population, it is – now more than ever – a fertile biotope for innovation and the avant-garde. The city gets its unique atmosphere from the harmonious coexistence of both arts and business. The most prestigious collectives and virtuosos still operate from Rubens’ hometown and, due to its humongous diamond industry and having the second biggest port in Europe, many industrial and business moguls find their way to this global hub as well.
In all corners of this metropole in pocket-size, the bright-red logo of the AP Hogeschool flaunts gorgeous facades. “Our campuses are spread all over town,” explains Pascale De Groote, principal of the university college. “Each campus is housed in an architecturally inspiring building that suits the specific needs of the domain it specialises in. We have laboratories, operation theatres, concert halls, ateliers, gymnasia and even a hall where you can play several organs. By setting up these campuses close to the student’s future workspace, we offer them a very close connection to the field as well. Among others, our healthcare faculty lies next to a big hospital, our science and technical students can look out over the harbour and the performing arts campus shares a building with the city’s biggest cultural temple, DeSingel.”
This illustrates the diverse range of topics which can be studied at AP Hogeschool. Youngsters of all stripes will feel welcome at one of their nine campuses. Besides traditional studies such as nursing, office management, chemistry and teacher training, they offer a few more exceptional (and even unique) studies as well. Students can, for example, opt for a future in integral safety, contemporary dance or music creation and performance art. “Whatever path you choose, we always apply a practical approach. We let successful professionals teach you the tricks of the trade and we present you with many opportunities for fascinating internships; both inside the city and far beyond the Belgian borders.” This practical approach makes AP Hogeschool a reliable partner in the field of research as well. Both students and teachers explore various topics on a high level and in close collaboration with the outside world. Often, companies or public services even request studies themselves.
Inspired by the city
Outside of the campuses – where the lion’s share of the college experience takes place – the city’s massive array of activities await. The breathtaking historic centre is home to many bars, clubs and cultural hotspots for you to discover. 88 per cent of all Antwerp’s citizens even have a cultural centre less than a 20-minute walk from their front door. Some of the best performers, theatre companies and visual artists in the world come to Antwerp regularly to show the world what they have to offer. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that some of the world’s greatest artists developed their passion and talent in this very same city. “Our fashion academy delivers the finest designers in the business,” De Groote states. “Among others, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten and Walter Van Beirendonck learned the trade at AP Hogeschool’s Royal Academy. Among the former students of our conservatory, you find Hollywood actors like Matthias Schoenaerts.”
This way, Antwerp and the AP Hogeschool lift each other to the next level. The city inspires the students and those students are stimulated to make a difference in the city. Many amazing internships present themselves around the corner and even during the courses, there is room for interaction with Antwerp. “More often than not, we apply our theory on what happens outside the auditorium. Our social work students can collaborate with the local community during their projects and the business students can peek behind the curtains of the city’s most promising start-ups and businesses. We even see that more and more of our students are setting up a business or becoming a freelancer while studying here. That is just one of the many ways in which AP Hogeschool sets itself apart. Our students’ ambitions are higher than just getting a good mark in June.”