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Brussels: help my au-pair meet other students/young people

(23 Posts)
CPrunner Tue 20-Sep-11 20:20:43

My family is new to Brussels and living in Ixelles. Our lovely au-pair Veronica is experiencing the culture shock with us, and i feel bad for her for not having anyone youngish to hook up with. She's an avid cyclist (semi-prof) and interested in many things - culture, food, reading... English speaking would be great, but she's learning French. Any advice/rec's you may have are most appreciated. Also on language courses - we are still looking for a good one in Ixelles/Etterbeek. Thanks in advance!

natation Tue 20-Sep-11 20:48:08

Looking for a French course? Any times of day preferred?
You know there are French courses run by CVO-KHNB on the VUB campus with a varied timetable, might just be in time to enrol.
Then on ULB campus (well that part is right next to VUB), there is EPFC
Then just up near Montgomery roundabout in WSL, there is WSL commune's language school called CCLM.
Then Ixelles commune's language school, Institut Fernand Coq, it's in north Ixelles.
then Etterbeek commune's language school, ISFCE

All the above are very cheap as they are subsidised, big classes which will inevitably become smaller as the year goes on.

Private schools.....
cheapest is probably Amira
more expensive, Alliance Francaise, CALL, CLL

I was looking for cycling clubs myself the other night, there doesn't appear to be many on our side of Brussels in French, might be more choice in Dutch, here's a link to one which is listed in Ixelles and another in WSL.

as for meeting people of the same age, well I know that Finnish, Polish etc au-pairs often have groups linked to their "national" churches, I doubt there is an obligation to be religious, they just use the churches as meeting and contact points, worth a try???

natation Tue 20-Sep-11 20:58:13

Do you think your au pair might be interested in cycling training with BLOSO? My Dutch is appalling, but I think this is the link to what BLOSO offers when training instructors.... as a future cycling instructor perhaps ?? BLOSO is the Dutch language Sports organisation, highly recommend it too for holiday courses for children, our eldest did one over the Summer, don't start until 8 years old though, might be interesting for your children in a couple of years time.

CPrunner Tue 20-Sep-11 21:00:05

thank you! preferred time for language school is morning - any time between 9 and 3, wednesdays 9 and 12. i'll check out the VUB and ULB courses - both right around the corner.

natation Tue 20-Sep-11 21:18:22

Just checked the EFPC ones are actually on rue Stassart near Port de Namur in Ixelles and not in ULB site, CVO-KHNB has places on 2nd level French, not 1st left and you do online appointment for language test on 27th September, CCLM in WSL is full this semester. ISFCE is very convenient too like CVO-KHNB, appears courses might have already started looking at website but enrolments will end of next week still.

CPrunner, are you interested in some free culture this week. A few of us (I hope) are meeting at the Tram Museum on this thursday 22nd after 6.30pm for a free museum visit and also free vintage tram rides between Tram museum and Tevuren where the African museum is also free that night. Tram 39/44 to Tram Museum.

Then on saturday and sunday, another free cultural event, called "Fetes Romanes", next to the cultural centre of WSL called Wolubilis, metro 1 to Roodebeek. We have been to this event for the last 3 years, it's really great.

Longtime Wed 21-Sep-11 07:31:31

Hi CPrunner, glad you found 'Living overseas'. If I'd known you were looking for French classes, I could have sent you a list (I used to volunteer teach some mums at the British School once a week but they were often on the look out for more intensive classes so have a list of schools ready to send!). You've been well looked after by natation though (natation's a mine of information!).

The Danish church helps organise Danish au pairs all of whom seem to speak English so you could maybe contact them to see if they have any way of linking your au pair in with the Danish ones.

Natation, I'm still keeping on open mind for the tram museum - it depends on how much homework dd has for the next day. She's done everything she's been given but she had three tests today for example (all three of which she'd already done some preparation for) so if that's the case for Friday then it'll be a no.

Will check out the Fêtes Romanes after skating. Dd seemed to like it and was already getting around better than me (I'm SO rusty and was never that good in the first place) after only her second time on the ice!

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 09:00:11

I have seen mention of an Au Pair/Nanny club in the Bulletin magazine with regular meet ups. My copy is at home, but worth checking there...

natation Wed 21-Sep-11 12:26:27

I have I just under 40 entries for Poseidon left to use by the end of the year. It's time to organise a group entry, to use my tickets up!

CPrunner Wed 21-Sep-11 20:25:56

hi - the au pair club sounds like a great idea. what is 'bulletin magazine', where do i get it?

Longtime Wed 21-Sep-11 20:30:17

Ooh natation, we could do a mumsnet skating outing! Sounds fun!

CPrunner, The Bulletin is an English magazine. I think it should be pretty readily available in larger newsagents.

CPrunner Wed 21-Sep-11 20:33:07

natation - my au pair signed up the sept 27 language test, so let's see how that goes! she is excited about starting class. the BLOSO sounds great, and as most/all dutch-seaking belges speak english, i would hope she'll fit in (besides - we speak dutch/english mixture at home so she's picking up some dutch already smile
thanks for the fun ideas, also. The tram museum sounds great and would certainly have joined were it not for the fact that I'm going to Sandwich, Kent for the day and will be home late (and driving on the left after getting out of the eurotunnel, scary...! wish me luck). we may check out the fetes romanes!
thanks to you both for all your help, i really appreciate it.

natation Wed 21-Sep-11 21:15:02

Cprunner, If I'd known you were off to Sandwich, I'd have asked you to pick me up an Indian takeaway from Dover or Folkestone before taking the tunnel! But seriously I would have! I really miss traditional Indian/British food.

Actually you won't have an opportunity to truly experience driving on the left until you get to Sandwich, as you take A20/A2/A256 and they are all dual carriageway so like motorway. Sandwich is a lovely little town (at the moment).

If you have time and the weather is nice, take a detour to a place just over the ferry terminal in Dover called Langdon Cliffs - view is wonderful from there out into the Channel and France. Ah, miss this place too, lived there for 15 years and our house is just under Dover castle, another place worth visiting. Anyway, have a nice day in east Kent.

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 22:05:43

Ah Sandwich! Used to work at Pfizer there and have many friends in the area.....The Indian restuarant in the middle of town is fab! The Bulletin is an English language magazine that has articles, film reviews, tv schedules etc plus classified ads and what's on listings. Worth subscribing to maybe? Or it is on sale in lots of places.

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 22:08:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 22:13:15

Ooh maybe I should have done that via PM!

eslteacher Wed 21-Sep-11 22:14:19

[www.conversationexchange.com could help her meet new people and work on a language. I used it when I moved abroad and it was great - no freaks, just nice normal people wanting to chat and practice their language skills.

CPrunner Wed 21-Sep-11 22:25:52

thanks riverboat. i'll check out the conversation exchange.
portofino - indeed will go to pfizer. have been to the SW site many times (at some point almost weekly, from the US), love it there. so quaint and beautiful. who can i say hi to? (if they are still there - it's a sad story...). and i made a mental note to get indian take out b/f heading back on the train!

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 22:37:06

You're off to Pfizer!! Not many left that I know I think - we have all moved elsewhere. It is very sad. When I started work there 15 years ago it was HUGE! Dh still works for them, but in Belgium. I wonder if we have ever met grin? Please feel free to drop off indian takeway on your way home.....

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 22:40:20

I sent you the Au Pair meet up no. via PM.

Portofino Wed 21-Sep-11 22:47:07

And feel free to PM Longtime or I if you want to be added to our Brussels/Belgium MNetter list. There's quite a few of here now and we do go out!

Longtime Wed 21-Sep-11 23:51:59

Already done Porto!

xpatmama Thu 22-Sep-11 22:33:46

think there's a cycling thing called provelo or similar which does cycling tours around brussels, which sound really nice tbh. i aspire to going on one but have so far failed. my friends recommend it as a very nice thing to do!

Maider01 Sun 09-Oct-16 17:19:38

Hi! My name is Maider and I'm 18. I'm au pair in Brussels since last Monday and I still don't know any young people either. I'm living in Etterbeek. I would go to french lessons in alliance française. It would be great to meet Veronica there or in any other place. I'm from Spain smile

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