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Study Abroad Lille vs Antwerp
sebaeric
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Hello all I am currently deciding what city to study abroad in either Lille France at Université Catholique de Lille or in Antwerp at Universiteit Antwerpen. I am an International Relations and French major and would be planning on studying abroad for the whole year.

One major question I have is would their be ample opportunities to speak and practice my French in Antwerp? I understand it is the Dutch speaking capital of Belgium but is it like Montreal where both English and French are spoken just with more emphases on French, but in the case of Antwerp both French and Dutch spoken with emphasis on Dutch?

From my research Antwerp looks like a better spot to study than Lille, larger city, closer to Amsterdam, Germany, Brussels but I am just worried I will not have ample chances to speak French as it is really a Dutch city.

Any insight is appreciated!

Thanks
Eric

I am traveling for 15 days
Paris, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Paris
sebaeric
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Other note I am a big soccer fan so I realize that’s one advantage of Lille!

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Cil
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Never been to Antwerp, but I have to say I loved Lille. It is filled with progressive, youthful energy (all those students!) and is very walkable.

Apparently Lille used to be much more industrial, but has been reinventing itself. I really enjoyed the public art, pedestrian zones and the outdoor cafes.

On top of that, Lille’s location makes it easy to get to Paris, London or Brussels (and other destinations) on the Eurostar.

btw
My older son had the same double major. He has been living in France for four years now, the last two in Paris. He became fluent the year he studied abroad (in his case it was Clermont-Ferrand.)
He said being there made all the difference for him. In terms of language, Lille would probably be your best choice.

oldlady
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I would guess that either university site is largely French speaking, so this may not be a huge issue. However, from a language standpoint you’d be better off in Lille. Belgium is two distinct language/culture zones — with some level of competition/friction between them. The pre-recorded announcements on the train are Flemish first anywhere north of Brussels and French first in Brussels and to the south. — they actually bother to change the order within this tiny country. I’m sure many people speak both languages, but in Antwerp I would not be surprised to be answered in English if I looked American and had an American accent when I phrased a question in French.

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oldlady wrote:
. Belgium is two distinct language/culture zones — with some level of competition/friction between them.

Oldlady, this is sort of a tangent, apologies to the OP, but I wonder whatever happened to the separatist movement? I guess the majority of the Flemish did/do not want independence, and the fervor dwindled?

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Last I heard/read the French we’re discussing some sort of regional union/cooperation pact with France.

sebaeric
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Thanks a bunch guys, still have some time to mull this one over but will probably go with Lille as I do not want to speak any English in my year a broad in order to really be fluent. Merci et bonne soirée

I am traveling for 15 days
Paris, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Paris