8 Reasons to Move to Belgium

Claire Handscombe

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Belgium is a quirky little country nestled at the crossroads of Western Europe. And it's a great place to spend some time if you're from elsewhere. There's a sizeable populations of Americans, thanks to the NATO base, among other things.

So, if you've been given the opportunity to move to Belgium for work, here are some reasons to consider saying yes.

1. In the words of Rudyard Kipling, What can he know of England, who only England knows? Getting out of you own country will open up your perspective and help you better understand yourself and your own culture. The things you thought were indispensable (shops that are open when you need them, iphones, decent-sized lattés), you will discover you can in fact live without.

2. Brussels, like the US, is a melting pot. Ask the average person in Brussels where they are from and they will respond as if trained to be elusive at spy school - "well, it depends what you mean by from, exactly...". I've heard it said that New York is full of people with allegiances to two places, and Brussels is like this too: the home par excellence of that strange species, the Third Culture Kid. If you belong to this grouping, it's refreshing to find somewhere that's brimming with people like you.

3. Belgium is strategically placed for travelling around Europe. For such a tiny country, it does well - sharing borders with France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Germany. Easy to get everywhere.

4. If you're a language geek, it's heaven. Everything's always at least bilingual.

5. The waffles, the frites, the chocolate. Need I go on?

6. You will make friends from many different countries, who will then go home, leaving a trail of invitations to visit them in their wake. Bargain!

7. It's the place to be for international politics, or at least the European variety thereof.

8. People are nice. Not the people paid to be nice to you, but the average person on the street. They say hello when you walk past them; they help you work out which bus to catch and which metro stop to get off at. People at tills wish you bonne journée after you've paid. All very civilised - in those ways at least.

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Claire Handscombe is a British writer who moved to Washington, DC, in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but really, let’s be honest, because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the host of the Brit Lit Podcast, a monthly show about news and views from UK books and publishing; the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan; and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives.

Washington, DC
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