Tolerance and diplomacy are key words for Belgium, a country with a unique combination of cutting edge and traditional cultures. Your programme will be in the northern part of Belgium, called Flanders. From Antwerp (home of the painter Rubens and one of the world’s most important diamond markets) to Ghent (a medieval city whose buildings reflect its rich history of the wool trade), you will fall in love with the magical landscapes and people of Flanders!
People & Community
You will be staying in the northern part of Belgium called Flanders, most likely in a suburban or rural area. Public transportation is well-organised and safe, which will enable you to explore the host community whenever you get the chance. In general, Belgians tend to be tolerant, flexible, modest, and open-minded. They value privacy and direct communication, enjoy a safe and comfortable life, work hard and are self-disciplined. Although Belgium is a small country it is very diverse. You will get in touch with many cultures and hear many languages during your stay. Many Belgians come from a Roman Catholic background, but not many participate in regular religious services.
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 Belgium Flanders will give you access to an online Rosetta Stone language course to study Dutch on your own before and during the intercultural exchange, as well as in-person language classes during the first weeks of the programme.
Belgian cuisine is much more than good chocolate and beer – this is where you can enjoy waffles and fries, mussels and waterzooi (a type of fish or chicken chowder with vegetables) along with lots of potatoes and bread. Belgians take their time to eat, so even with all these options you’ll have the chance to savour each new flavour. Most families consider eating together very important, especially at dinner.
Climate and Geography
Belgium Flanders is the lowlands part of Belgium, close to the Netherlands. Flanders is full of beautiful landscapes to enjoy, with gentle rolling hills and fertile farmland, the country’s largest river – the Schedlt – many medieval cities, and the wooded national park Hoge Kempen. Thanks to the relatively flat environment, cycling is a very popular form of transport. Belgium’s climate is characterised by moderate temperatures, cloudy skies, regular rainfall, and a little snow – plus a glorious blue sky and sun on long summer days!
Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure
In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including in-person orientation camps and an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together. You will learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact. This journey will help you maximise your experience, cope with 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 your home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family the whole way through.
Explore the Programmes Available in Belgium Flanders
- DestinationBelgium Flanders
- Program Dates
- Aug 23, 2024 - Jul 5, 2025