With its culture renowned for tolerance and diplomacy, Belgium is an ideal place to begin your international education. Spend a year wandering the cobblestone streets and you’ll understand why this country has produced some of the finest artists and thinkers of Europe. This is your chance to experience first-hand the cultural melting pot of Belgium by living with a Flemish host family and attending a local high school.

Belgian teenagers are very casual and 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 northern part of Belgium called Flanders, 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. The bicycle is a popular transportation mode.

School

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 Belgium Flanders commonly speak Flemish – the Belgian version of Dutch. Many people also speak French and English. To help you learn Dutch, AFS will give you access to an online Rosetta Stone language course to study Dutch on your own before and during the intercultural exchange. AFS will also provide language classes during the first weeks of the program, and knowing English will be helpful to you in the beginning.

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Food

Belgian cuisine is much more than good chocolate and beer – this is where you can enjoy waffles and fries, 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.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: August 25, 2018 – June 29, 2019
Birth Date Range: December 24, 1999 – December 24, 2002

Belgium is known to be a well-educated country with a challenging school system. You’ll likely be enrolled in a general (academic) secondary school, but you might also attend a vocational high school.  As you go about your daily life, you’re likely to hear a lot of Flemish (a regional variation of Dutch), but you may also come across natives speaking French, German, and English.

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!