10 Flemish words and expressions you need to know if you’re an international student in Flanders!

Welcome to all international students who have come to Belgium to do an Erasmus, a Master’s degree, a PhD or Post-doc! Today, I would like to share with you 10 typical words and expressions which are crucial to student life in Belgium!

1. Kot

student house

If you are a student, chances are high that you are living in a kot. A kot is a student residence or a house shared with other students. Some example sentences:

Zijt ge op kot? 
= Are you in your kot?

Ik zit op kot in de Parijstraat. 
= I live in a kot in Parijsstraat.

2. Een pintje

beer from the tap

As you have probably noticed, beer is very present in student life in Belgium. We are the country of beer, after all. If you want to order a regular beer, like a Stella or a Jupiler, you ask for a “pintje”.

Voor mij een pintje, alstublieft.
= For me regular beer, please.

Ik heb pintjes koud staan.
= I have beers in the fridge.

3. Brossen

Brossen means “to skip class”. For the people studying in Leuven, you will know there is a bar in the Old Market called “den Brosser” (basically, the person who skipped class).

Hebt gij al vaak gebrost?                               
= Have you skipped many classes?
Ik denk da’k voor ene keer ga brossen.       
= I think I’m going to skip class for once.

4. Ik ben door.

Ik ben door means “I’m leaving” or “I’m going home”. This is the typical sentence we use when we leave a party. If someone says it to you, you can respond with “Salut”, “Joe” or “Tot de volgende!” (which mean bye or see you next time)

5. Ik ben erdoor!

Though it resembles the previous expression, the meaning is completely different. Ik ben erdoor means “I passed my exams!” which is of course great news, so we hope you will get the chance to use it. So take it easy on the “pintjes” and the “brossen” 😉

6. Eerste zit / tweede zit

“Eerste zit” and “Tweede zit” represent the two periods in which we need to do exams.  Eerste zit is the first chance you get to take an exam (either in January or June) and Tweede zit is the period where you get to redo an exam if you failed the first time. (in August-September)
Ik heb tweede zit.
= I need to redo some exams.
Ik ben er op alles door, in eerste zit!
= I passed all my exams, in the first period!

7. De aula

De aula is the big room in which we have some of our classes and often also the graduation ceremony.
In welke aula moeten we zijn?
= In which auditorium do we need to be?

Ik zit vanachter in de aula.
= I’m in the back of the auditorium.

8. Een smoske

We already talked about pintjes, but of course a student also has to eat! One option could be a smoske. A smoske is a baguette with ham, cheese, mayonnaise and veggies. The name comes from the verb “smossen”, which means “to spill”, probably because of all of that mayonnaise.

9. Zeveren

Not everything about student life needs to be serious. Sometimes, it’s also nice to just hang out with friends and to kid around and philosophize about life. This is what we call “zeveren”, to talk about random stuff, to bullshit or to kid around.
Ik ben maar aan’t zeveren.
= I’m just kidding around.
Hij is weer aan’t zeveren zenne.
= He’s talking nonsense again.

10. Zalig!

And finally, if there is one word you definitely need to remember from this list, it’s definitely the last one: zalig, which means “awesome!” or “amazing!”.

Zalig feestje!
= Awesome party!
Zalig liedje! 
= Awesome song!
Hoe was’t gisteren? – Echt zalig!
= How was it yesterday? – Really awesome!

Do you want to learn more?

Then definitely check out our survival guide for international students here!
=> pocket-size, 189 pages, audio included =>  only 9,5 euros 
With this pocket-size book, you will be blending in with the locals in no time!

Shopping Cart