Expat Voices: James Drew on living in Belgium
Editor James Drew is only a few months shy of spending eight years in Belgium and he's still loving it - well most of it.
Name: James Drew
City of residence: Brussels
Date of birth: 25/05/1971
Civil status: Single
Reason for moving to Belgium: I applied for a sub-editor's position at European Voice, and got the job.
Lived in Belgium for 7 years 9 months
What was your first impression of Belgium?
Loved it - welcoming, easy-going, cultural, fun.
What do you think of the food?
What do you think of the shopping in Belgium?
I don't do 'shopping'.
What do you appreciate about living in Belgium?
The people, the cosmopolitan mix of languages and cultures, the food, the arts, the beer!
What do you find most frustrating about living in Belgium?
The tax, the bureaucracy, the communes, the queues!
What puzzles you about Belgium and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Nothing 'puzzles' me about the country - I miss proper English ale, and my UK friends and family, but that's about it.
How does the quality of life in Belgium compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
I have to say that it knocks living in England (well, living in London) into a cocked hat, as far as I am concerned.
If you could change anything about Belgium, what would it be?
The weather (surprise, surprise!)
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
If you don't already know how to, learn to speak either French or Dutch, or both. It is very irritating that there are more than a few British expats living here, who have been here for some time, and who have never bothered. Most rude, à mon avis.
Would you like to add anything that we haven’t addressed in the questionnaire?
Belgium, and Brussels in particular, is all about state of mind and quality of life. It's much-misunderstood by people who have never visited or lived here but, once you've made the leap, it's a difficult place (and lifestyle) to get out of your blood.
If you would like to share your perspective about life in Belgium and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorBE@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line.
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