Karim (33), from Finland, in Brussels since 2020
“I just started a new career as a diplomat and am in my first year of training. After a theoretical part, I chose Brussels as my first training post. The Finnish are strongly pro-European. The EU gave us unrestricted travel and the euro, for which we are grateful. We receive much more than we give to the EU, despite being so far from the place where everything is decided.
Unless you’ve been studying politics, it’s hard to understand how the EU works. That’s why I wanted to come to the place where it all happens. After a few months here, I really start to understand the politics and mechanics behind it. It’s a whole world on its own. What is decided in Brussels, has an impact back home – as a diplomat, I have to know how to work with that.”
“My whole experience here will always be marked by Covid. My wife and I arrived in October, right before the second lockdown. We managed to go to a restaurant just once to have some mussels, I just had to have them. After that, the only way to taste Belgian cuisine was through plastic delivery boxes.
When we arrived here, we didn’t have any anchor points. We had to find our way ourselves, really fast. The best solution was to go on long walks, without any destination, just to explore the city as much as we could. But I missed exploring shops, bars and people. We discovered streets and beautiful architecture now, but we only had a short time to enjoy the social part of living abroad. This week, we’re already returning to Helsinki and then I’ll be sent to my next posting.”