We expats have our own stories about how and why we ended up living in Belgium. According to a worldwide survey conducted by the Expat Insider, there are ten categories of expats depending on their reason for relocating. Which one below best describes your expat story?
1. The Romantic Expat
It was the power of love that drove you all the way to Belgium. Your expat story began when you fell under the spell of a Belgian. You eventually made the difficult decision to leave your country, family and friends, and hard-earned career to follow your heart. “Love makes the world go round,” is probably one of your favorite mottos. And your well-loved playlist possibly includes songs like “Listen to your heart” by Roxette, “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers, “Runaway” by The Corrs, or “Wherever you will go” by The Calling.
2. The Dream Destination Expat
For whatever reason, you’ve always dreamt of living in Belgium. You were probably never warned about the weather. Or maybe somebody told you about it, and you thought they were joking. Perhaps you were drawn to Brussels, the celebrated capital of Europe and the second most cosmopolitan city in the world. And you wanted to live amongst people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Or maybe you were after the fries, the chocolate, and the beer.
3. The Greener Pastures Expat
You were seduced by the promise of high-quality living in Belgium. You envisioned a place that offers stable living, employment, and retirement conditions, and access to better public services and social security. And you probably got the whole package, including the high cost of living and bureaucracy ordeals that come with it. Or maybe you wanted greener pastures in the literal sense and you chose Belgium for its rich natural environment.
4. The Adventurer
The thrill of starting a new life in a foreign land brought you to Belgium. You wanted to explore a different culture, learn another language, and meet new people. And you thought Belgians were an interesting people to study because they can live together despite intense political divisions, and they have a funny, complicated system of government. Another possibility is that you were excited by the notion of living in a country where you can never run out of new, exotic beer to try.
5. The Foreign Assignee
You are the classic kind of expat. You are in Belgium because you were sent by your employer. And the deal possibly covers all your expenses plus privileges for your family members. You may be a manager, a professional, or a skilled worker employed by a multinational company, an international organization, or one of the EU institutions.
6. The Career Expat
Just like the Foreign Assignee, you came to Belgium for employment purposes. But in your case, you applied for a job here and got hired. Teachers, academics, and researchers are some examples of career expats. Entrepreneurs and business owners also belong to this category.
7. The Foreign Recruitee
You were recruited by a Belgian company, and you probably intend to stay in Belgium only for the duration of your contract. Foreign recruitees, career expats, and foreign assignees may eventually decide to take up full residence in Belgium for a number of reasons including more work opportunities, romantic relationships, and better quality of life.
8. The Student
You are here to attend university either as an undergraduate or graduate student. Many student expats eventually become career expats or foreign recruitees.
9. The Family Expat
You moved to Belgium to join a family member who already lives and works in this country. You probably went back and forth several times to the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country and completed a bunch of requirements before you finally acquired a family reunification permit.
10. The Traveling Spouse or Partner
Your spouse or partner needs to stay in Belgium for work or education purposes. And no way will you settle for a long-distance relationship. Like the romantic expat, you therefore decided to relocate to be with your loved one.
Other types of expats
War, political instability, or persecution forced you to flee your country and seek shelter and a better life in another country.
You are a Flexible Expat if you often travel abroad for business.
If you return to a foreign country where you used to work or study, you are a Repeat Expatriate.
You are an employee sent from a foreign subsidiary to another country where the mother company is based.
This type of expat moves to another country seeking sexual engagement and adventure.