Home to me is where my friends are, where the sun shines, where I can be my true self.
Maša, 29 years, Croatia.
I was born in Croatia but grew up in Slovenia and the Czech Republic. My studies predominately focused on European and International Relations, hence moving to Brussels for work was an obvious choice.
I have been living in Brussels for five years now. Compared to some other European countries where I’ve lived, Belgium is really the hot spot for expats. A true melting pot of cultures and nationalities. I believe that as an expat in Belgium you can learn tremendously about other cultures, traditions, national days, wedding ceremonies- in that way Brussels feels like home.
Of course expat life also has its down sides, where the feeling of “home” feels rather distant. Reality is that you are far from family, you need to speak French or Flemish in order to get through red tape, no matter what, you are always the exception or an outsider amongst the locals.
I find that in the working environment cultural differences really stand out, especially when it comes to leadership, formalities, efficiency and getting your point across.
The Brussels Bubble is also known for its long working hours, networking and “the fear of missing out”. It’s not always easy to have a good work-life balance. My focus this year has also been teaching yoga in order to escape the tedious desk office life.