On February 23, a group of 12 Virtual Enterprise students and 3 from New York City journeyed to Belgium to participate in the annual Belfair. As part of their trip, which was organized in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, the students were matched with host families from the Provencial Hogeschool Limburg (or PHL) in Hasselt, Belgium. The students stayed with their host families and had the opportunity to experience the culture of Belgium as they took part in classes and discussions with their Belgian counterparts.
The PHL hosts were part of the practice firm, Work It Easy, and will be making a return trip in the spring to attend the 2013 Youth Business Summit, which includes the NYC International Trade Show, National Business Plan Competition, and Global Business Challenge, held in New York City on April 9-11, 2013.
On Tuesday, February 26, Belgian students and teachers hosted “American Night” at PHL, which consisted of American hamburgers and a quiz night with over 300 people in attendance. The night was a fundraising opportunity for the PHL students to raise funds for their trip to New York City.
The 2013 Belfair was hosted in the beautiful city of Gent on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Amidst the more than 100 exhibitors, the American firms were a huge success, attracting a great deal of attention from the European students and generating sales of more than 200,000 Euros between the following twelve VEI firms:
- Apparatus Sporting Goods – Norman Thomas High School
- Assurance Service for Advanced Progress (ASAP) – Academy of Finance & Enterprise
- Facio – InTech Academy
- Fashion Forward – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School
- ImagiNation, Inc – High School for Arts, Imagination & Inquiry
- Infinite Investment Solutions – Academy of Finance & Enterprise
- Munchies Inc – Sheepshead Bay High School
- New Horizons – Richmond Hill High School
- Solarity – New Dorp High School
- Sweet ‘N Savory Catering – Fort Hamilton High School
- VE Law & Insurance – New Dorp High School
- VReal Magazine – Francis Lewis High School
The week concluded with a sightseeing and shopping expedition in Brussels, where Belgium’s hallmark chocolates and waffles were enjoyed by all.
Of course, no business trip would be complete without opportunities to make long-lasting connections. Students and chaperones alike eagerly await the opportunity to host their new Belgian friends as they make their way to the Big Apple this spring. A very special thank you goes to Veerle Gelders and the entire staff at the Provencial Hogeschool Limburg for coordinating this fantastic trip.