Tolerance and diplomacy are key words for Belgium, a country that has been influenced by the French, Dutch, Austrian, and Spanish, a unique combination of cutting edge and traditional cultures. Your program will be in the northern part of Belgium, called Flanders.

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

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.
TEEN PROGRAMS (UNDER 18 YEARS OLD)

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.

ADULT PROGRAMS (18 YEARS OR OLDER)

The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.