Tag Archives: relaxation

Aller au cinéma! (Fall Break Day 2)

30 Oct

I don’t know about most high school introductory French courses, but one of the first phrases I learned how to say is, “go to the movies,” which is the title for today’s blog post about what to look out for when going to the movies in Belgium. 

For me, going to the movies is a relaxing enterprise. I do it when school or life is stressful and I just need a couple of hours to escape into another world. I know that many other study abroad students may feel the way, but not know what to navigate the system that is international movie theaters. Due to some research, I have made a step-by-step guide on how to do the movies in Brussels (which I’m guessing can translate relatively well to other cities and countries outside of the US). 

Step 1: Find your movie theater 

Remember everyone, Google is your friend, even in a foreign country. All you need to do is Google “Brussels movie theaters,” and they will help you with the rest. Personally, I enjoy the UCG De Brouckere. Not only can I easily get there with the 71 bus, but it is in a good location, has a good facility, and has a student discount price. 

Step 2: Decide on what movie you want to watch

This may be the biggest problem with going to the movies abroad, because not all of the movies are in English like we are used to. Luckily for us, different countries have established different ways to tell you what language the movie will be in. In France, if you see “V.O.” next to a movie, that means it is in the original language (without voice overs) and will have subtitles in French. This becomes a little difficult in a country like Belgium that has two different languages that are important (French and Dutch). Their identification system goes like this:

  • VOSTBIL: This means that the movie is in its original language and has subtitles in both French and Dutch. I believe a majority of the movies that I want to see are in this format. 
  • VF: This means that the movie is either in French or has been dubbed over so that French is the language heard. Pretty much any  childrens’ movie that you want to see will be in this format. 
  • VNL: This means that the movie is either in Dutch or has been dubbed over so that Dutch is the language heard.
  • VOFSTNL: This means that the movie is in French, but there are Dutch subtitles. 

Step 3: Make sure to have cash

I think this is something that all Americans (at least) need to remember when going through other countries, whether on vacation or study abroad: not everywhere takes debit/credit cards. Sometimes your bank card will not work in the stores. European bank cards are made different than American cards. They have a chip in the end of the cards that makes it so they don’t need to slide the cards. Get used to it! Sometimes bank cards from one European country won’t work in another European country. Therefore, be smart, and make sure to have cash on you when you go out of things like this. It sucks trying to find an ATM in the middle of nowhere. 

Step 4: Know your popcorn

I don’t know about other people, but I don’t think the movie experience is complete without a bag of popcorn (I’m a little obsessed). Well, just because you’re in Europe doesn’t mean you need to change that habit completely, just alter it a little. When you order popcorn at the movies they will ask you if you want it salted or sweet (“salé” or “sucré”). They do not load on the butter like us Americans. However, don’t let that discourage you. I am a big butter lover, but I still love the salé popcorn at the movies. Especially with some gummy candy. 🙂

Step 5: Enjoy the movie…

But not just the movie. Enjoy the experience! If you think about it, something as basic as going to the movies is culturally different just between us Western nations. By going to the movies in another country and getting used to their system, it is a way of slowly integrating yourself into that local custom. You don’t have to have a certain culture or custom to enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon at the movies. 🙂

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