What do I need to know to be an effective and prepared expat American in Belgium?
April 23, 2012 7:18 PM Subscribe
What are the quirks to living in Europe that will surprise me as an American and what do I need to know to be an effective and prepared expat American in Belgium?
Practical advice I'm likely to need as an American planning to live in Belgium, Challenges and bonuses I'm unlikely to be expecting, Useful anecdotes, Expectations I will need to get used to, How living in Belgium, and Europe more generally, different from living in the US,Non-obvious things I might want to be careful to make sure to bring with me,
I'm going to Belgium this summer as a PhD student in the biological sciences in most awesome lab ever at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium. I visited the town and the lab once, and fell in love with it, but I've realized that I have very little idea of how to go about the business of actually living there.
I'm looking for:
Things that will be weirdand other things I haven't thought of that I might find useful or interesting.
Also answers to some stupid questions,
What is the best way to move my stuff? I have 8 shelves of books, which I can store if moving them would be cost prohibitive. I also have a reasonably nice bike, a desktop, and a nice big monitor that I love but has a Massive box. Which of these things make sense to take with me? How should I do that?For money, I can just get my bank (USBank) to print up a check in Euros and make a new account with a Belgian bank using that right?How do I go about looking for a house/apartment/roommate situation? Particularly while still in the States.I've heard people don't use checks even for large exchanges of money like paying for rent, does it really happen in cash? I at least get a receipt or something right?
I am already reasonably familiar with Belgian history, politics, language issues and geography and so do not need a primer. I also already know some usable French and am learning Dutch.
posted by Blasdelb to Society & Culture (50 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite