Language classes in Brussels
Blogger Linda Margaret takes a look at language classes in Brussels, listing the main language schools in Brussel and the language classes and prices on offer.
There are a plethora of language schools in Brussels offering all the European languages (including Arabic). Most categorize levels of linguistic capacity in the EU format. Many offer negotiated rates for individuals, small groups of friends, or companies. In fact, in Brussels, it is normal to have your company pay for half of your language lessons. Below I have listed the language schools in Brussels that I've discovered. I've tried to include links to blogs by teachers or students attending class at the different schools. Please feel free to let me know if I'm inaccurate or if I've missed a school (which is very likely).
There are a number of freelance language teachers who work with schools but also offer private lessons directly to students. If you go to a language school and really love a particular teacher, ask the teacher if he or she offers private lessons as an independent teacher. This can make your lessons cheaper and more flexible, and more profitable for the teacher. There are also French language Meet-ups in Brussels. This is a free language exchange that can really help improve your French while introducing you to some new people and places in Brussels.
One more piece of information before the Brussels school listings. My native nation, the USA, has no official language. We have never had an official language. In Brussels, it is difficult to find a European who doesn't speak and study at least three languages (unless the European is British). The USA has more or less adopted English as our default lingua franca, but we also are also the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation, and some of our states try preserve an official language through state government intervention--for example Hawaiian in Hawaii and French in Louisianna. However, in the USA, our national perogative appears to be widespread communication more than in linguistic studies. I found this to be true also in India, where I noticed that there are several default languages, with many mixing local dialects. In China or several Arabic countries, citizens study a pure central language but tend to speak the default lingua franca dialect. Few countries and continents are as dedicated to the pure study and preservation of specific, separate languages as the EU and its Member States. This, to me, is an interesting European phenomenon.
Alliance Francaise, located at Rue de la Loi 26, teaches French, German, English, Italian, and Spanish. Call 32 (0)2 502 46 49 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to the school. This is an international school dedicated to sharing Frank-o-phone culture with the world. In Brussels, they now offer courses plus a one month internship. (I don't know how I feel about the language school forcing interns to pay for the opportunity to work in Brussels, but there you have it.) Levels of language include Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. I looked at the class prices ('tarifs' en francaise), and found the costs somewhat complicated (and expensive). However, the benefit in paying so much is the international recognition of your certificate.
OpenContext specialises in Dutch, English, French and Spanish. On the website, the school describes itself as "youthful", with "a synthesis of both linguistic and artistic expertise". Each language has five levels (Beginner, Explorer, Discoverer, Researcher, and Inventor). OpenContext is located near Place Sainte-Catherine, between Place de Brouckère and Place Sainctelette. Call +32 (o)2 218 30 66 for more information or email the head of the school, Florence. It's 50 euros deposit to reserve a spot in a language class. Language teachers looking for work can look here, but only if you already have your work VISA.
CLL, famous for a funny ad campaign, offers intensive French, Dutch, English, Chinese, Romanian, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese, and Russian. CLL has several 'centres' for language learning. One centre is on the Rue de la Loi, phone number 32 (0)2 280 22 28, email email@example.com. There is another centre in Brussels Woluwe, phone number 32 (0)2 771 13 20, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Some additional centres can be found in Louvain-la-Neuve, Namur, Vervier, and Espace Wallonie Picarde.
Language teachers, the school is currently recruiting English teachers that already have a work VISA.
All levels of language learning are offered, and there are also opportunities for immersion 'home-stays' with local Frank-o-phones. Be careful with these homestays--most Bruxelloise speak English as well as French, so full French immersion may be difficult. Email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Amira is a well-known school located at 14-16 rue du Trône, not far from Place Luxembourg. The way that the Amira web site is constructed makes linking to specific descriptions difficult. The school offers six levels of French.
Group classes meet twice weekly (morning, afternoon, or evening), and as a student you can easily purchase private classes tailored to your individual schedule. Companies can also purchase classes. I calculated that group lessons cost each student about seven euros an hour, which is standard for Brussels, I think. With Amira, it's best to go to the web site and download the brochures. You can call 32 (0)2-640.68.50 or 32 (0)2-640.89.54 for more information. If you email email@example.com , the school will most likely send you a web site brochure, but this brochure may exclude a special deal being offered on a group or individual lesson. There are frequent special offers on price at Amira, and, if you pay for your session up front and in cash, you get a discount. I took both group and private lessons at Amira and was not displeased (though, of course, I need to do some further work on my French).
The VUB, the Flemish University, offers state-subsidized language lessons for all levels in French and Dutch.
The C.V.O.-K.H.N.B, the location for the language lessons, is located in building D of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (the VUB) campus, Room D 1.33, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels. For more information, visit the university office between 8.30 and 21.00 Monday to Friday or between 8.30 and 15.30 Saturday, call +32(02) 629 39 08, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The minimum age for enrollment is 16, and you must set up an appointment to determine your aptitude. Due to the high demand for these classes, this test does not ensure a spot for you. 80 hours costs 80 euros for the class plus 40 euros for the materials. 120 hours costs 120 euros for class and 60 euros for the materials, etc.
The Brussels Business School offers language courses in French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Italian, and introductions to Arabic, Chinese and Russian. The school is located on the Avenue des Arts 10-11 near downtown Brussels. Classes are offered for three leveles (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) with each level split into three parts and spread over three quarters between October and June. Classes are two hours per week, and students receive an official transcript (good for people looking for a student VISA). Short-term intensive programmes of between five to ten weeks are offered as well. Call 32 (0)3 283 5126 between 10 and 16.00 for more information, or email email@example.com.
The Centre d'Etude du Francais, found on the Chaussee de Vleurgat 275 offers French classes in the mornings, afternoons, evenings, and each Saturday morning. There is no web site, but the school is charming and quite good at what it does. I'm not sure of the cost, but you can call +32 (0)2 344 15 15 to find out.
The CPAB offers lessons in Dutch, French, and English. The next sessions begin in February 2010, with registration beginning January 11th. The school is located at 29-31 Chaussée d'Ixelles, phone number +32 (0)2.511.01.09 and email firstname.lastname@example.org. I could not find the price of a session on the web site, but I have heard that CPAB is cost-efficient. The school offers morning, afternoon, evening, and Saturday classes, and one level (there are six levels in total) costs (I think) about 300 euros. This school is used by a number of employees from my place of business. They like it, and my company usually pays about half the cost of the lessons.
Languages Unlimited specialises in small group (largely business) language classes. The school offers all the European languages and emphasises culture in their language classes. The school is located at Avenue de Tervueren 204, 1150, Woluwe-St. Pierre. The phone number is +32(0)2 534 7684 and the email is email@example.com. General group classes cost 380 euros for 30 hours. Sessions run from September to December, January to March, and April to June. Classes are offered during the day and in the evening and "on demand". As it is a business-oriented language school, they also offer special courses in presentation, examination preparation, and courses for translators and interpreters.
Themalingua offers German, Dutch, English, French and Italian language classes. Classes are offered morning, afternoon and evening. They can be group classes, intense immersiaon classes, private lessons or special classes offered to businesses. Call 32 (0)2 640 59 82 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The web site is a bit out of date, so I would suggest calling or emailing for current prices and timetables.
Berlitz is an international language academy that offers instruction in all languages. Berlitz can come to your business or you can go to one of the two Berlitz locations in Brussels. Berlitz Montgomery is located at Avenue de Tervueren 265, phone number 32 (0)2 763 14 14. The second location is at Avenue Louise 306-310.
Contact Berlitz and they will call you to discuss your needs. Berlitz is expensive, but the special 'Berlitz method' is supposed to work magic on your language skills. The best part is that they really will tailor a class to your needs, or find you a group class that works for you. Berlitz also offers language classes to children and teenagers.
I've also heard of a school called ABEL, located on the Rue des Résédas 25 that teaches languages through auto-hypnosis. There is no website that I can find, but the phone number is is 32 (0)2 520 94 35. Let me know if you know anything of this school--I've heard it teaches a number of European languages.
There are also a number of cultural institutions offering more specialised language lessons. For example, the Danish Cultural Institute teaches several Nordic languages. There is also the Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish language equivalent of Alliance Francaise, for people looking to improve their Spanish. Post more if you know of a few, please. I'm sure that I've overlooked several.