Abstract Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) programmes have recently gained momentum in many European countries in the belief that students will significantly improve their foreign language proficiency while content learning is not negatively affected. Based on a longitudinal qualitative approach, this article focuses on students’ reflections on their experience with CLIL. Previous studies have shown that students are able to reflect on organizational conditions and their learning process, while their reflections allow researchers to identify some of the key elements in students’ beliefs. Through focus groups carried out over a three-year period, this study gathers secondary education students’ reflections on their motivational stance, the CLIL experience, and the use of their linguistic repertoire in the CLIL classroom. By tapping into students’ language beliefs, reflections, and motivation, a clearer picture of CLIL settings will be available by bringing to light both the strengths and weaknesses of these programmes.