Article published on April 1, 2010
Article published on April 1, 2010
The experience of living outside your city, sometimes far from the parents’ sight for the very first time is so exciting! But how many of us are aware of the impact that cultural differences will have on our new lives that we have to face without the wise advises of relatives or friends.

It is often hard enough to move to another city and deal with regional peculiarities: Torino is not Lecce, Paris is not Marseille, Barcelona is not Malaga, and the prejudices within a country are sometimes hard to ignore.  But how many of us have crossed borders and ended up in another country?  It is not only another Nation, but also another culture, another language and so many more differences to absorb.

This is culture shock: when you have to start from scratch in every way for everything you thought you knew, when you have to forget all about how things were done in your place of origin.

In Brussels, many expats start their life subconsciously trying to find other new comers. However by locking themselves in that bubble, most of the Eurocrats hardly get to know what Belgium has to offer, even after living year in the capital. How is that a successful integration?

Of course you need to learn the language(s), adapt yourself to the local customs…One of the drawbacks of Brussels most highlighted are the opening hours of shops and supermarkets. When in some countries shops are open until midnight, in Brussels some doors close as early as 6pm!

Not always an easy task to get used to all the changes, but ultimately immersion is rewarding!

Just watch out the second shock once you get back home…