Home to the European Union and NATO, Belgium has been influenced by the French, Dutch, Austrian, and Spanish, to make it a unique combination of cutting edge and traditional cultures. Your program will be in the south of Belgium, Wallonia where most people speak French.

Belgian teenagers usually enjoy sports, especially soccer and cycling, going to concerts, cinemas and scouting on weekends. Your social life will probably center on the family and a small group of friends.

People & Community

Belgians tend to be tolerant, flexible, modest, and open-minded. They value privacy, enjoy a safe and comfortable life, work hard and are self-disciplined.

You will be staying in the southern part of Belgium where people speak French, most likely in a suburban or rural area. Public transportation is well organized and safe, which will enable you to explore the host community whenever you get the chance.

AFS family ❤️#Afs #afsbelgique #afsbe #afslux #family #exchangestudents #belgium

A photo posted by Emma Williams (@emmawilliamzz) on

School

A photo posted by AFS Belgique (@afsbelgique) on

You’ll likely be enrolled in a general (academic) secondary school, but you might also attend a vocational high school. Most days classes run from 8 am to 4 or 5 pm, with Wednesday afternoons off. Studying hard and focusing on academic success is common in Belgium. Most common subjects in Belgian schools are Flemish, math, history, geography, sciences, religion or ethics, and physical education.

Language

People in this part of Belgium commonly speak French. Many people also speak Flemish or German, and are quite proficient in English. You should be able to speak basic French before your exchange, and to help you master the language, AFS will give you access to an online Rosetta Stone language course to study French on your own before and during the intercultural exchange. AFS will help you find language classes during the first weeks of the program, and knowing English will be helpful to you in the beginning.

Bruxelles 🇧🇪

A photo posted by Emma Williams (@emmawilliamzz) on

Food

Belgian cuisine is much more than good chocolate and beer – this is where you can enjoy waffles (wafelen) and fries (pomme-frîtes), mussels and carbonade flamande (beef stew) along with potatoes and bread. Belgians take their time to eat, so even with all these options you’ll have the chance to savor each new flavor. Most families consider eating together very important, especially at dinner.

Explore the Programs Available in Belgium (French)