Local News

Belgium students stuck in Triangle due to ash

Posted April 18, 2010 9:38 p.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2010 6:27 a.m. EDT

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.

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.