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Old Aug 21st 2003, 2:53 pm
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Default Europe(Belgium)

I have been thinking for awhile if I really need to write about it, but after I looked at some posting at this forum I decided that it could be useful for some people before considering moving to Europe.
I am of Belarusian origin and now a Belgian Citizen (through reunification of family).
Several years ago I went to the US to attend the Graduate School and did not expect that it would change my life completely. This was an exceptional experience for me. I could not believe how friendly and equal people are there. I received so much support from people, which I never met before. I never been checked by a policeman because of my looks or an accent or etc. I rented an apartment in couple of days. I got a job on campus as a Teaching Assistant. Then, I got my first credit card, then second and etc. Before graduation I started thinking about the way to not to go back to Belorussia (for many reasons) and learnt how difficult it is to get legal residency there. So, my friends told me about professional immigration to Canada. I decided to apply and got a letter that I have been approved. At the same time my parents pressed me to apply for a reunification visa to Belgium. So, I got a residency visa from Belgium too. I was thinking to go to Canada, but because of my family ties I decided, why not to try to live in Belgium. From the first day in this country I was comparing it with the US. First I was supposed to register in the City Hall and I did not see any smiling faces over there. They gave me some papers and said wait for a police, they will come to check you. I have been checked by a policeman two times as a criminal (at least it feels that way) before I got the documents. In five moths I was allowed to work and finally through my family ties I got some job there. I was trying to find any job by myself and could not. When I wrote dozens of letters to the companies they simply did not reply. First I thought it is due to my absence of experience in Belgium but later on I understood it is due to my nationality. I did the same thing in the US and at least I got some replying and interview appointments. So after I got a job (or I would say my family got me a job) I was thinking to move out to the separate studio and started looking for it. I tell you it was the hardest part. After they heard my accent they asked me if I speak English. After several unpleasant questions such as am I white? Do I receive any social security help from the government etc. Believe me I never been asked such discriminating questions before and it hurts. I have been given the same two answers: sorry, it is rented sorry or I can’t rent you an apartment. Again my family’s no accent Flemish spiking friend helped me to find a place. This is the only small part of my disappointments in here. Life goes on and every thing can be forgotten but I believe sometimes it is better not to have such experiences.
I never been in Canada though and it might be even worst there but anyway.
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Old Aug 23rd 2003, 12:06 pm
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cathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nicecathy22w is just really nice

Hi Andre

What part of Belgium have you moved to?
My in-laws live in Belgium and so I am quite familiar with the place - although I am not sure I would like to live there.

I am surprised at their treatment of you because they seem to have quite a diverse cultural population (especially in Brussels!). Amongst themselves there is frequent friction between the Flemish and the Walloons - had a bit of conflict within the family owing to that.

One thing is for sure - Belgium bears very little comparison to the US. I can only imagine how you must be feeling!

All the best in what you decide to do.
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Old Aug 29th 2003, 12:01 am
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I live in Belgium with my flemish partner (Im english) what you describe is what happens to most people on entering Belgium, I've been here almost 3 years now and have had 3 police visits a year since moving here, it's only to check that you do live where your supposed too etc. What I have noticed here is racism not only for coloured people but also white people of other races (such as the english and americans) Xenophobia I think it's called...a discrimination or hatred against foreigners.Don't let it get you down Andre I don't ,not all the Belgians are like that there are some good people out there
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