The Belgian culture consists of a combination of influencing cultures, most notably French and Dutch. Because Belgium’s culture is not homogenous, it is particularly difficult to pinpoint common cultural ideals.
One common value in Belgium is family. Family is a Belgian’s top priority, and because most Belgian’s stay close to home, extended families tend to be very close.
The concept of friendship is different in Belgium than in the United States, and this might make it a little difficult for your Belgian student to make friends initially. In Belgium, it may take longer to connect with someone, but then becoming friends and trusting go quicker than in the United States. Americans generally tend to be very friendly at first and then take longer to trust.
One place in which Belgians do not establish close relationships is in the classroom. In Belgium, the distance between the teacher and the students is important. Teachers are also often stricter in Belgium than in the United States. On the “perfection doesn’t exist in this world” basis, teachers in Belgium almost never give their students the highest possible grades. Getting straight A’s doesn’t happen.
Another common value in Belgium is pride in appearances and cleanliness. Belgians take great care in keeping their homes – especially the outside – tidy. They do not want to embarrass their neighbors or themselves with untrimmed hedges or lawns, for instance.
Fun Fact: The average Belgian eats 16 kg of chocolate a year.