19 Nov 2014

Did you know...?

Do you know what Audrey HepburnKate Ryan and Tintin have in common? If the answer is "oui" then you know more about Brussels than you thought. However, if this does not ring a bell, carry on reading to find out some more surprising facts about our Destination of the month. 

With the destination of the month, we try to show some truths and facts that you may not have thought about before. We all know the Smurfs, have seen an Audrey Hepburn film and use the internet daily, but we have never stopped to think about their origins.

Brussels is not only the crossroads of Europe, it is a lot more than the capital of beer and chocolate. Brussels, Bruxelles or Brussel is a great city that Jean Cocteau described as “the most beautiful theatre in the world”. To be precise he was describing the Grand Place.

  • Capital of comics

Tintin, the Smurfs, Lucky Luke… Brussels is the capital of comics due to the fact that characters such as the likes of Tintin were created here.

Source: www.trabajosporelmundo.com

Walking through Brussels you will be surprised to find murals representing some of the scenes from the world’s most famous comics around every corner. This is known as the Comic book route, which emerged in the 90’s when they tried to give the city a facelift with the aim of achieving the title of the “cultural and artistic capital”.

  • Birthplace of great painters…

Rubens is a baroque painter with influences from the renaissence from the Flemish fine arts school. Some of his most famous Works are exhibited in Belgium’s royal museum of Fine Arts, as well as in Antwerp cathedral, his city of origin. The famous painter was born in Cologne, where his family had fled for religious regions.

Belgians have also contributed to the history of art thanks to Jan van EyckRogier van der Weyden and Anton van Dyck and a long list of Flemish painters who, during the 16th and 17th century, contributed to the reputation of the school of fine arts.

Source: http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com/rene-magritte-hd-wallpapers.html

René Magritte, one of the best surrealist painters, has an entire museum dedicated to his work in the capital of Belgium. His life was marked by the big events of the 19th and 20th century. Realism, surrealism, cubism amongst others all influenced his paintings, although his style was recognised as “magic realism”.

  • … and celebrities

Did you know that the fabulous Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels?

Yes, with an English father and Dutch mother, the famous actress spent her first few years in the area of Ixelles. You can now see a plaque that marks her old house.

The famous Argentinian author Julio Cortázar was also born in this area.

The actor Jean-Claude Van Damme was also born in Brussels, otherwise known as the “muscles from Brussels”. Before moving to the USA to begin his acting career, he started off as “Mister Belgium”.

Many singers may record their songs in English, but they have Belgian origins. For example, Gotye, the Singer and song writer known for the famous Somebody That I Used to Know. Kate Ryan, who found fame without changing her mother tongue, with Désenchantée or Voyage voyageStromae, an anagram for “maestro” and who now has many hits, including his first international hit “Alors on danse”.

  •  Other facts

The Belgian football team, known as the Diables Rouges (Red Devils) is 4th in the FIFA rankings.

Belgium has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 54 times winning just once. In 1986 Belgium won with Sandra Kim, who also is the youngest winner of the competition.

In Belgium, according to different sources, there are between 600 and 1000 different varieties of beer. The number is very ambiguous, but it is without a doubt that there is a large range of brands, as well as beers and tastes; each one has its own special glass.

Delirium Café is one of the most famous beer bars in Brussels. Offering a selection of over 2400 beers from all over the world, amongst others it has the Delirium beer which was voted the “best beer in the world” in 1998.

Take a tour of Brussels with Stromae in his video for the song Formidable, filmed in the district of Ixelles

Original by: Blanca Díaz 

12 Nov 2014

Our school in Brussels

Learning French in Brussels has many advantages, amongst others, you will have the opportunity to share your course with people from all over the world thanks to the city’s title as the “Capital of Europe”.

The capital of Belgium and of the European Union, Brussels is an incredibly diverse city. The fact that it is one of the centres of European Institutions, has allowed the city to grow enormously. Additionally, Brussels has a very rich history and culture, since many artists gathered in the city in the past, they have hugely contributed to the growth of the city: architects, painters, writers or famous musicians such as Victor Horta, René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Hergé or Jacques Brel.

Brussels is also a very green city, numerous parks such as Cinquentenairele bois de la Cambre or the parc Royal, or the Forêt de Soignes is definitely worth a visit either by bike or on foot.
We of course cannot forget the great gastronomy that the region is known for worldwide, especially the chocolates, beers and desserts.
However, today we are talking about our partner school in Brussels. Our destination of the month is characterized by its diversity and the possibility to learn and live with people from all over the world. It is precisely because of this that our school’s most popular age group is the 20 to 25 year olds: all of those who travel to the capital for work, experience or Erasmus. 

Of course, it is not necessarily the easiest thing to find a job in Brussels, especially if you do not have either French or Flemish skills. However, this only applies to local business. If you are looking to work in the European institutions, such as the Parliament or Commission, your level of English is the most important; however throughout your stay you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in other languages which will only help you later on. 
In terms of age, they are not hugely strict, but they have a very clear idea of the type of student they prefer, and with this in mind they demonstrate to potential students that they are dedicated and serious about the lessons. If a 17 year old student, for example, would like to take lessons, the doors are not closed to them, however they should bear in mind that the lessons, conversations and activities are focused on adults. 

The school is a 10 minute walk from the Schuman roundabout, where most of the European institutions are located, and a 20 minute walk from the Grand Place.
All of the teachers at the school are very experienced in the teaching of French and are used to working with students of different nationalities.
The school regularly organises optional activities for students so that they can practise their French and get to know the other students in a relaxed atmosphere. These activities are free or offered at a reasonable price. Additionally, as a part of the classes and learning process, they propose outings to shops, making phone calls and visits to travel agencies, to give students a chance to practise their everyday French. 

We offer Intensive general French classes that include 40 hours per session. Each session lasts either two or three weeks.
Classes are made up of a maximum of 8 students, in order to guarantee an optimal personalised learning environment. Students have access to the school’s media library as well as the multimedia facilities.

  •     General French: 40hr per session
  •  All levels accepted
  • These courses are focused on the general learning of French, studying the traditional areas of the language throughout the programme. Comprehension and written and spoken comprehension are also studied. The minimum duration is two weeks.

  •  Individual lessons: 20hr per session or ‘à la carte’
  •  Individual lessons allow the student to follow a personalised programme that meets the student’s objectives. This programme is open to students who are following another course or who are just interested in individual lessons. Minimum duration one week.

Interested in learning French in the heart of Europe? Contact us to find out more about the school and available programmes.