Brussels, Belgium Report of what it's like to live there - 04/30/21
Personal Experiences from Brussels, Belgium
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Brussels was my first post.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
USA and travel was easy before 2020.
3. What years did you live here?
4. How long have you lived here?
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Three bedroom apartment.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Very easy and simple. Grocery stores are on every block.
3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Numerous restaurants as well as services from Uber eats, deliveroo, and takeaway.
4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Either by Bpost or through USPS locations through the embassy.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
I lived in embassy funded housing.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Basic Fit gyms.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Getting around with just English is doable but of course it couldn't hurt to pick up some french. I used lessons on youtube as well as attended a class at a local commune's school for a short time.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
I recommend and small to mid-sized hatchback.
Phone & Internet:
1. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?