Expat voices: Chalks Corriette, social entrepreneur
Chalks has three wishes living in Belgium: no more dog mess on the streets, more creativity in schools, and a united Belgium
Name: Chalks Corriette
Nationality: British Passport; Caribbean heritage
City of residence: Brussels
Date of birth: 18 March 1959
Civil status: Married
Occupation: Social Entrepreneur
Reason for moving to Belgium: Organization's World HQ location
Lived in Belgium: Since 1990 (with about 50 percent business travel).
What was your first impression of Belgium?
Having lived in the UK, Sardinia, the Netherlands and Bahrain, I had no trouble settling into Belgium.
What do you think of the food?
The food is universally fantastic and one would be unfortunate to have a bad meal, unless your friend cooked for you!
What do you think of the shopping in Belgium?
As some one that is not so interested by shopping, I find it acceptable. I hear many people say that the shop opening hours are not the best, but that's all part of living in a society where family is highly regarded. With a little planning, you can get everything that is important. Other items you may want can be found simply by talking to friends who have lived in Belgium for some time.
What do you appreciate about living in Belgium?
Quality of life, multicultural people, places and food. Plenty of nature and easy to visit other places like London, Paris, Amsterdam and Koln.
What do you find most frustrating about living in Belgium?
The people who move here and complain about the weather (it is Northern Europe after all), the difference in night life (yep, its not London, New York or Sydney), and the fact that the Belgians make little effort to get to know the non-natives (of course we forget about the fact that we make even less effort to get to know the locals). On a very personal level - schooling can be complex. If you have a child who has a learning difficulty, the system in Belgium is unforgiving.
What puzzles you about Belgium and what do you miss since you've moved here?
I wonder why so many people cannot see what is available to them, rather than focus on the things that they had in another country. I miss only close family. I have lived overseas all my life and have learned the value of making friends quickly, creating a strong community with the people that you do find yourself living near, and keeping good networks.
How does the quality of life in Belgium compare to the quality of life in other countries that you've lived in?
Belgium has a higher quality of life than most countries in the world in which I have either lived or had to work on projects. I guess because I have visited India, Africa, China and Brazil on development projects, I can very much appreciate what we do have in Belgium.
If you could change anything about Belgium, what would it be?
I would have 3 wishes: no more dog mess on the streets, more creativity in schools, and a united Belgium.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Enjoy Belgium for what it is and what it has to offer.
Would you like to add anything that we haven't addressed?
I connect many communities in Belgium. Business, Expat associations, Expat service providers, charities dealing with learning difficulties, events service providers, local and international people in the wider community. It keeps me very busy and I very much enjoy supporting the many communities that keep Belgium alive.
Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.