Local News

Belgium students stuck in Triangle due to ash

Posted April 18, 2010
Updated April 19, 2010

Foreign exchange students from Belgium enjoy spending time in the Triangle.

— Foreign exchange students from Belgium are stuck in the Triangle after ash from a volcano in Iceland grounded flights across Europe.

The students were scheduled to fly out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Saturday morning, but now they won't leave until later this week.

"A cheer arose when I told them that the flights were canceled,” said Robin McMahon, with the Belgian student exchange program.

Belgium students enjoy extra time in the Triangle Belgium students enjoy extra time in the Triangle

The foreign exchange students have been in the United States for about two weeks attending classes at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill. They also visited Washington, D.C.

The teenage students said their parents weren't overly concerned about the flight delays.

"They say, 'Have fun,'” foreign exchange student Anthony Francois said.

The students have been staying with area host families.

“I think it is part of the experience of travel, that you have plans and then welcome the unexpected opportunities that come,” host parent Patricia Owen said.

"I love my host family, and I would like to stay here for the year,” foreign exchange student Juline Verjans said.

For 10 years, Smith Middle School has participated in the Belgian student exchange program, which is funded by the European Union.


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  • disgruntled Apr 19, 2010

    My grandparents were from Belgium so that makes me Belgian..... Flemish Belgian to be exact... not Belgium.

  • Justabum Apr 19, 2010

    Is it acceptable to use the word "exceptable" rather than "acceptable"?

  • jmclawson82 Apr 19, 2010

    Actually both forms of the word are exceptable to refer to people from the kingdom of belguium.

  • georgiatech Apr 19, 2010

    Did you mean "Belgian"?