by Niamat Khan
The International Muslim Student Association of Leuven, or IMSAL, has a well-established institution of leading monthly nature walks for free! They specialize in bringing together an array of students and introducing them to Belgium’s countryside. IMSAL hikes started back in October 2016 and have now become a regular event, with at least one monthly trek into nature, guided by a veteran of Belgian trails.
Like all of IMSAL’s other events, this encourages people regardless of nationality, religion, culture, and gender to participate. The core idea behind organizing such free and guided nature walks is multifaceted. The primary aim is to provide an interactive platform where Muslims and non-Muslims can communicate to become familiar with each other's beliefs, traditions, and cultures. Such a platform enables individuals to break cultural barriers and overcome prejudices. We believe that such interactions will bridge the gaps between people of different faiths and traditions by developing a sense of tolerance and respect for one another. Through hikes IMSAL strives to promote the value of peaceful coexistence.
A second aim is to promote healthy living and nature-consciousness among participants. A day out in the fresh air of forests and countryside rejuvenates the soul and helps relieve mental stress, which has become a common side effect of urban life. This is especially important for students who are looking for ways to improve their focus on studies.
Joining IMSAL hikes is also an opportunity to discover beautiful hidden corners of Belgium and get a first-hand experience of the authentic Belgian landscape and countryside. Folks with a tight budget find our hikes to be a cheap alternative to travel and explore the inaccessible yet picturesque parts of the country. Worry not, since we carefully plan the trails such that they lie within the capabilities of any newcomer in terms of distance and difficulty.
Our hikes are also a great medium to make new friends from different parts of the world.
A typical IMSAL hike includes international students and expatriate workers living in Belgium.
During the long walks, members of the group find plenty of time to talk, resulting in opportunities to both network and forge friendships.
If you are looking for some thought-provoking discussions, exciting adventures, and new international friends, IMSAL is the place to be. Join us to be a part of our family. We would be delighted to welcome you! Keep an eye on our Facebook page and at http://www.imsal.be to find out where we shall go next