will i manage to integrate in belgium?

  • hi, i am from Greece and i plan to move to Anwerp, Belgium beginning of 2009 because my husband is from there.Unfortunetaly i will have to abandon everything i have: my family, my own shop and my friends.I really don't know if people there will be friendly, helpful and considerate in case of need, accepting of others (actually we have all those qualities here in greece...).I don't speak dutch but i will have lessons as soon as i am there and maybe start a master even if i am already age (32) to continue my studies (just for some occupation of mind...).I just hope it will be nice...And i just wanted to say these things somewhere...What do you all think about me having a university master at my age?And do you think i will be able to get at least a part time job in the university while studying just to have a bit of my own money?
    Thank you all...

    02 Nov 2008, 11:33 faidra
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  • It depends!

    [[Your question is really well constructed and hard, you should also post it in many places. ]]

    In Belgium, people are simply divided, Flamish(Dutch) and Wallonio(French), and they spend most of their life finding fault of each other, you may understand how they think of a foreigner!

    It is really tough to find local friend, they wont accept you to get mixed with them. But, Antwerp is a big city, you will sure find a lot of foreigners, who are also not mixing with the Belg.. so you can find friend.

    If you need any service, like if you have locked you phone mistakenly, or anything.. please try all the other thing before going to the service center! You will not get any service at all, and you are foreigner!

    People are educated and polite... so you will not face harsh face to face racism, but if you are sensitive and friendly person (and you have other way of surviving)you may not want to come to Belgium.

    It is a tiny piece of land, high living cost and low quality(comparing to price) of life. You may not be able to compare with a local ppl, coz they are happy themselves, at least infront of foreigner (if u have not seen better place Greece is best, simple?). And all the tv are kind of limited to show bad thing around the world to make sure ppl here feel happy!

    There is no visible culture embedded into social life, so they mainly feel proud of material thing like beer, chocolate... if you are from a culture reach country ... you will suffer to stay in a place without reach culture.

    Enormous political problem, there has been no government since a year!

    Internet speed is too slow, and quota system, you can use 1/2/3 GB per month, if you download or watch movie, it will finish in one day.

    Mobile cost 25euro cent per call..

    Oh, it is one of the most populated countries in the world, you may get preparation by looking at related problem.

    It is a Beautiful country, only exception it is full of Belgians.

    **It is my personal opinion, you must verify yourself, and you can discard my opinion without verifying **

    I wish and hope, you will have a nice stay! And you are not emotional like me happy

    I do not like to get exposed 26 Nov 2008, 02:01 - Report
  • thanks for the reply

    Thank you very much for our answer...A month has passed and still i haven't made up my mind yet... And you are the only person who answered!I guess that wherever i post my question, probably it's too hard to be answered... But thank you so much for the effort... And actually i am emotional... Probably all greeks are, especially when it comes to their country...If you have anything else you can say, feel free. I am listening!

    faidra 06 Dec 2008, 10:32 - Report
  • oops

    What a negative view on belgium. I am belgian myself and i am kind of shocked by that opinion... Faidra, looks like you only hear one person talking... we probably are pretty reserved and not that open, but it sure isn't as bad as said by anonymous up there.
    Of course i grew up here and i'm not a foreigner. People aren't always as open because they are scared sometimes, just like you are scared to come over here. There are difficulties on a social level, because there are a lot of people wanting to live here and some belgians feel threatened by that...However, if you think you found the person you're supposed to be with, why not take the chance? you are only 32 years old, you can do a master, if you want to, universities here are great and you will get to know new people. It is a big step, but this is a good country to live in. Must say i love greece...and the weather's better blunk. I know it's not the same as talking to some one who's in the same situation but still...felt the need to tell you this!

    sofie 08 Dec 2008, 04:35 - Report
  • Hi Faidra !

    I'm french and I'm in Antwerp since september. I decided to move here for my job and believe me, I wasn't forced by my employee !
    Antwerp is a beautiful city but if I had one advice to give that would be to learn dutch/flemish !!
    Quality of living is really better for me (I come from Paris !!), a bigger flat for an uncredible price, food is also cheapper (you can also go to Holland, even cheapper), motorist are paying attention to cycists etc...
    On the other hands, it is true that internet is not fantastic (see the first comment on the top of the page), mobile phone cost more than in France for instance...
    But when you move to a new contry you need to get rid of all your preconcieved ideas and be ready to discover everything with new eyes !!
    Also, if your husband is from here you won't be lost !!
    You'll meet unpleasant and lovely persons like everywhere else in the world !!
    In fact, I think that going back to university is a good way to meet people and discover the city...
    Go for it and don't hesitate if you need anything, I'll be glad to help if I can !!

    Helena Meinhart-Diarra 06 Jan 2009, 09:44 - Report
  • Hello Faidra

    I am English and my wife dutch, we moved to Genk in Limburg Belgium only about 45 mins drive from Antwerp and it is fantastic, the country is clean and tidy, the people are very friendly, however they wont go out of there way to meet you but if you make an effort to befriend them you will find them most accomodating and welcome you. The cost of the housing like helena said is very reasonable and lots available (visit: www.immoweb.be), I cannot really find fault with Belgium, except maybe the feelings between Walonia and Flanderen but we as outsiders do not get involved with the politics. There is lots of History and nostalgia, visit Brussels, also vist Brugge where I first thought that Belgium was the place for me.

    B 13 Jan 2009, 01:29 - Report
  • to sofie

    Maybe you can help me...
    do you know any good equitation school?
    I want to go there on vacation and as this is my hobby I'd like to know more about that.

    tks a lot

    fabiana 13 Jan 2009, 08:05 - Report
  • Maybe this will help

    I realise that this is probably not very politically correct of me, but I too am newer to Belgium. I started keeping a blog about how to integrate, how the government works, and how to get a job, that sort of thing. It may be helpful for you. (It also may not), but just in case, here it is: http://euforus.blogspot.com/

    Linda_Margaret 14 Jan 2009, 12:03 - Report
  • to Fabi

    Do you know where you'll be staying? I mean in what region? So i can take a look for something in the area?


    sofie 26 Jan 2009, 02:40 - Report
  • Whats you opinion?

    Hello Faidra,

    As I can see there are many comments on your topic, and it long since you possibly been to Belgium...whats your current opinion?

    I think Antwerp is entirely different from Belgium(!) Life there is less or more mixed with International people. I think you will find friendly environment than any part of Belgium. And it is French speaking part of Belgium... those ppl are more friendly...

    Oh.. please let us know your current situation.

    Crow 13 Feb 2009, 12:51 - Report
  • To Sofie

    Hi Sofie!
    First of all, thanks for answering!

    I was thinking of staying near Fleurus area... do you know or have you been at this place??

    Well, hope hear from you soon.

    Fabi 26 Feb 2009, 08:09 - Report
  • Yeah, right

    Yeah, people are sooo shy and closed here!
    But when they meet you, they literally attack you and ask you tons of personal questions:

    -Where are your from?
    -AND why are you here?
    -Do you plan to live here and why?
    -What's your job?
    -How comes you speak the local language?
    -Don't you miss your family?
    -Do have kids and,if not, do you plan to have kids...?

    I am sensitive too and I try to live with it anyway.
    Of course forget about talking about philosophy, history or poetry...what are these things actually????

    L. 06 Mar 2009, 02:12 - Report
  • To Fabi and Faidra

    @ Fabi: There are three riding schools in the area of Fleurus:

    Rue de la Croisette 20

    Rue Trou à la Vigne 72

    Rue du Chêne 9

    I don't live in that area so I don't know whether these riding schools are good or not. But I do like horses blunk I hope you'll have a nice time in the Fleurus area!

    @ Faidra: It must be scary to move to another country. Especially when you have to leave all the ones you love!!!
    Have you ever visited Belgium? Maybe it's a good idea to take a long trip to Belgium, for a couple of weeks or months, then you'll probably be able to get a feel of the country, wich will help you make a decision.

    I think it can be a good idea to study again. I don't think you're 'to old' for that or whatever. It's a way of meeting people and feeling usefull.

    Finding a part time job in Belgium isn't hard, if you are prepared to do a less attractive job like cleaning or ironing or maybe even babysitting. It's well payed and employers are almost begging for cleaning personnel for example. Depending on your skills, you could also apply for a job as an operator in a call center that has Greek contacts for example. Native speakers are very much in demand too. What are your skills?

    I don't know Antwerp very well myself, but I do know that it's a very multi cultural city, so I'm shure you'll be able to find Greek people there.

    About the Belgians... I'm a Belgian myself and it is true that most Belgians are introvert, compared to other cultures. I've got a lot of friends myself who have many different cultures. They hug you, kiss you, come close to you, are really warm and generous and welcoming. Most Belgians (not all of them) are indeed a lot more reserved than many other cultures (like for example Mediterrenean, South American or African cultures). That's a fact. They simply don't dare to be on familiar terms with people they don't know very well. It's possible that you'd have to make the first step, but once that's done, most Belgians are very friendly. Okay, ofcourse there are irritating people amongst Belgians, that's true, but in every culture you find those type of persons.

    To get in touch with Belgians or immigrants, you can join a sports or hobby club for example, I don't know if you like sports?
    Ofcourse, if you go to college, or if you take Dutch classes, you'll be able to meet people too.
    There are also non profit organizations who organize nice evenings, trips or party's to either help immigrants come in contact with people of their own country, or to bring all sorts of cultures together to enjoy a multi cultural evening. Maybe you could even become a volonteer?
    I don't know if you are religious, but faith can bring people of all nations together aswell. I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses myself, and wherever I would possibly go in the world, I can find someone to 'come home' too, with people who also believe in God.

    I hope I have helped you a bit, if you need more information, just ask. I hope you'll be able to take a decision where you feel comfortable with! I wish you succes!

    Eva 13 Apr 2009, 04:12 - Report
  • Belgium isn't really so bad!

    Hi Faidra,
    I hope you are having a good time in Antwerp. I am a student at the university of Antwerp, are you studying there now? (If you may have said it, I'm sorry I haven't read it, but I just read the first reaction to your question and I just wanted to react to that because it is probably somebody who had some bad luck here in Belgium) But as I say in my title, Belgium really isn't so bad. I think you can find all sorts of people here, you have people who are more reserved but there are also very warm people. Antwerp is beautiful city to live in. Of course you have places that are less nice, but (no offence to anyone) most of the time it aren't Belgians that are living there. I don't know who posted the first reaction, but I suspect it was a foreigner. Well, I am a Belgian, I was born in a (small) town and since I am studying in Antwerp, I must say, I have become much more racist. But does this mean that I think that every foreigner is bad? No, I don't! So, why should you state that every Belgian is bad because you have had a couple of bad experiences? I have also had bad experiences with Belgians, it just depends on the people and not where they come from. And why say that we don't have any culture? Come on, Antwerp is thé musical-city! And they are of high quality! There are also a lot of theatres, mostly it is in Dutch of course. But I have also gone to a German play, so it doesn't necessarily have to be in Dutch. And what about the Antwerp six? Antwerp is also thé Belgian city for fashion! And what about the Belgian food culture? Are what about history? There are so much beautiful old buildings and also a lot of museums...and we wouldn't have any culture? Someone who says that, must be a culture barbarian! And if you've seen everything in Antwerp, you can visit beautiful cities like Bruges or Ghent! There you find a lot of culture too! To end I would want to end with an ironical note: We Belgians, not hospitable? Why then are there so many foreigners living in Belgium? We were open enough to let them all in...

    So Faidra, I hope you see that Belgium isn't that bad. I do hope you get to speak the language quite well, because most of the people appreciate that a lot!

    Oh yeah, and studying at the university when you're already in your thirties is no problem, we have a woman in her fifties that is studying with us!

    I hope my comment was helpful to you!

    Paulien 02 May 2009, 11:39 - Report
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