Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves! We speak to Yinuo Chen about the ins and outs of studying at Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment.

Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment
DAE is a three-year full-time Bachelor degree programme designed by and developed for creative, ambitious, passionate and exceptional individuals, ready to push the limits of tomorrow’s interactive or pre-rendered 3D.

The Specifics

What’s the name of your school?

Digital Arts and Entertainment at Howest University.

What’s the name of the neighbourhood?

The campus is located in Kortrijk, a 15 minute walk from the town centre.

Closest train station or public transport option?

The closest method for public transport would be Kortrijk’s train station, which is about 15 minutes walk away from the campus. There is also a bus station behind the campus, but I never found myself using it!

How long have you been there?

I have been studying at DAE for 3 years. I lived in Kortrijk for half of my studies, having to move home due to COVID.

Why did you choose to study here?

I found DAE through The Rookies! Another school that I was interested in that year, had placed in the Rookies ranking, which was what led me to discover the Rookies.

As Howest placed 1st in the Rookies School Rankings, I felt that it was the best place to get my education.

The Scene

The first thing you see when you walk outside your school?

There is a big swimming pool right in front of the campus, which is quite eye-catching. Left of the swimming pool is an old train station that has now been converted to a hip office building (that DAE has some indie studios in). To the right of the swimming pool is a gazebo with a large open-grill that we can host campfires in. The school is next to the Leie river, which is a great place to take a walk and has a lot of nice scenery.

The closest shop to outside your school is:

There is a convenience store nearby, but the shop most people go to is down the street (5 min) from the campus in an area called ‘Appel’, which hosts some student-friendly fry shops and fast-food restaurants. Next to it is an Action store, where you can buy miscellaneous supplies ranging anywhere from yarn to a hand-held vacuum.

Your school is great, but you wouldn't mind a bit less:

Students. The student-to-teacher ratio is crazy in DAE, as they are unable to hire enough teachers, and have the space to accommodate the number of students that apply every year. I know that this might be an awkward answer to this question, but I am simply being honest! It’s not that it’s impossible to form a good relationship with your teachers, but it is quite obvious sometimes that the teachers are stretched.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

Outfits worn by students are quite diverse in styles, however, you will see a lot of people wearing DAE shirts and sweaters. They are super comfortable, and I still wear mine when I want to feel cozy!

'Tolerance' Personal project by Yinuo Chen

A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:

De Dingen! They went through a re-modeling, which took away a lot of their vintage charm, but they still serve awesome beers, Speculoos lattés, and delicious cakes. You’ll most likely find other DAE students there during the weekends, and it is conveniently situated on the main street in Kortrijk.

Another great place to hang out would be Mary’s Irish Pub. They have great roast chicken, and also serve a wide range of desserts and drinks. It is more pricey than a typical student restaurant, but you know you’ll always have a great time there with their lovely mood and cocktails.

A common myth about your school is:

I don’t know any myths about DAE, but if any I think it would be that the degree is too difficult. This is quite a delicate topic as everyone I’ve met is in very different situations, and sometimes, the degree can be structured in a way that can make it difficult to pass. However, I believe that if students are motivated, DAE does give them many chances to pass all their courses.

A massive night out for students at your school is likely to be:

Parties in Belgium are very different from what I was used to in Sweden. They are massive, and a lot of fun if you go with the right people! Usually, some friends and I would meet beforehand to have a drink together and play some party games. This is sometimes even more fun than the party itself! Then, we’d go to the party. There would be a lot of loud music, flashing lights, and beer scattered around the floor. I have also heard of people taking the train to bigger cities like Ghent to party there, and then taking the 5 am train back. However, I wasn’t able to experience it for myself as my time on campus has been so limited.

'Barbershop Pirates in 3D' Personal work by Yinuo Chen

I also previously mentioned campfires hosted by the school. These would be much cozier, where you can have deep conversations with your friends under the stars, and get to know your teachers better (they would often attend these as well). They would light a fire in that gazebo outside of the school and would offer us marshmallows that we could grill using sticks we found in the bushes nearby. Normally these would be during a study night, so it was an awesome time for people to relax after a long week of studying. This is the event that I miss the most!


The Superlatives

You won’t find a better place to eat than at:

Crispy Chicken! It was my favourite place to eat with my friends. The chicken is very well-seasoned and crispy, and their fries are perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They have a family menu that is technically for 4 people but can easily feed 6. The owner is very nice, and through our college experience, we have become very close with him. Like with most other restaurants, they have taken a huge hit during Covid, so I would love to take this opportunity and give them a shoutout! The restaurant is about a 15 minute walk from the campus and in the city centre - it is not super close by, but walking there always gives us more of an excuse to eat more of their delicious fried chicken.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen at your school is:

In the foyer of our school, we have a Labo car that has some lines across it representing a high-poly wireframe. For fun, someone stuck a picture of one of our teachers, Tristan onto the headrest of the driver's seat.

We had a LAN party one year after the exams, and my friends and I stayed up late to watch Hereditary - a horror movie directed by Ari Aster (I highly recommend this movie, 10/10 very spooky). We finished at around 4 AM and were walking out of the school when I suddenly spotted that picture of Tristan in the car. If you’ve seen the movie, you’d know how spooky a floating head in a car gets. I started screaming out of horror and laughed about it with my friends, it was a really fun experience!

One thing you’d never change about your school is:

The thing that I would never change is the bar! Every Thursday evening we would have a ‘study’ night, where the campus would be open late and filled with students chatting and having a drink. The bar would be stocked with different beers, juice, and liquor on special study nights. Sadly, there has not been a study night like that for a long time due to Covid, but I still have very fond memories of it.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is:

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if they put a bit more thought into the expansion and modifications of their school programs. As aforementioned, teachers are being stretched pretty thin, and many courses feel rushed and not thought out properly. This has led to many students feeling like they were simply guinea pigs experiencing un-thought-out courses, but hopefully, the courses will be more stable in the future, and DAE can work on their communication with their students.

Someone gives you $1M to pimp out your school. You use it to:

The laptops our school recommends are pretty strong, but sometimes it would be great to have more horse-power. I’d spend that money to buy better computers for the students, or invest in a render farm for the school!


You can find more of Yinuo's work on  Twitter and ArtStation.

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