Paula (25), from Spain, in Brussels since 2019
“When I arrived here for an internship, I only knew Brussels from a tourist perspective and didn’t know what to expect. I saw Brussels as a very dirty, dangerous, small city since I only knew the city centre. By living here, I see it has so many things to offer. After two years my view has changed completely; I’ve discovered the secret places, the hidden gems. The longer I live here, the more I like it – especially since I made lots of international and local friends.
The restaurants are amazing, the nightlife and the events are endless. There are so many network opportunities, which make finding a job easier. You will always find a job here; even if it’s not the job of your dreams, it’s a way to get started.
You do have to make an effort to meet Belgians, but making friends in the expat community is easy. Meeting people is easy; everyone is in the same position. We’re all in a different city, in a different country. We all want to meet people and have some support.”
“People ask me why I want to live here, coming from Spain. Yes, it’s a very nice country in terms of weather and food, but taking everything into account, Belgium has more positive sides than Spain – at this moment, for me. Professionally it’s better, I’m growing more as a person than I would in Spain. In Spain, I would not find as good a job as the one I have now, especially not at my age. Here is where I have to be at the moment.
I’m improving my Dutch because I want to be able to express myself. I have friends here and my partner lives here. Belgium is a very welcoming, open-minded country, although I have to admit that I only know Flemish people, as I don’t speak French.
Brussels can feel cold at times, if you’re new, away from home, when the weather is dark. But overall, it’s a very nice place. You need to know where to go, who to talk to and find your way, but there are nice opportunities for everyone.”