Each week I talk to someone who left their home country behind and moved to Belgium. This week the Brazilian Ana Elisa tells us about her life here.
1. Hi, Ana Elisa! Could you please introduce yourself? Tell us a bit about who you are, where you are from, where in Belgium you moved to and when/why you made that move.
I’m from northern Minas Gerais, Brazil, where I worked as an English teacher for a few years before deciding to move abroad. I had always wondered about what life was like in other parts of the world but I had never gone very far from home.
In 2009 I went to the USA and worked as an au pair for a year and a half. A few months after going back home I moved to a little village near Brussels to be an au pair again for one year. I had to go back to Brazil, but soon decided to come back to Belgium and start a life with my Belgian boyfriend.
2. What were your expectations before you moved to Belgium and did the reality align with those expectations?
When I came to Belgium for the second time I mistakenly hoped getting my visa and finding a job would be an easy task. I thought I would be settled and living a “normal” life in no time. Two years on and I finally feel like things might actually work out: I got my identity card, learned Dutch, went through the integration program and found work.
3. What’s the biggest difference between life in Brazil and living in Belgium?
There are many differences between life in Brazil and in Belgium. Safety, health, education, the climate, and the behavior of the people are only a few. For me, life in Belgium is more promising and I can do much more, even though there are barriers to overcome.
4. What do you love most about Belgium?
I love that it is the heart of Europe and you can easily access most of what you need or want, but at the same time it still has a comfortable and calm small town atmosphere.
5. What do you like the least about Belgium?
What I would like the least in any other country: bureaucracy and bad weather. I can’t fix those, so I focus on the good stuff.
6. What do you miss most about Brazil?
I miss my family and friends, their warmth and openness.
7. Do you think you’ll stay where you are now, or do you think you’ll migrate again someday?
I am completely open to changes when I feel it’s the best next step. Belgium is my home now and for as long as we’re happy here.
8. Could you share some of your favorite spots in Belgium with us?
Ghent and Bruges are gorgeous towns, where I love to spend time walking around. I also enjoy nature and quiet, so places like the Hallerbos, the Gaasbeek Castle and park or the seaside always make a great day out.
Thanks Ana Elisa!
Are you an expat who moved to Belgium, or do you know someone who is? I’m always looking for new expats to talk to. Check out the X-pat Files for more information on who exactly I’m looking for and drop me a line!