Are you wondering if it is possible to live in Brussels without speaking French? To work in Belgium without knowing Dutch and French? Yes it’s possible. Some expats live in Brussels for years without using any language other than English. The expat community in Brussels is so large that it is quite possible to limit your social life to an English-speaking bubble! So what are the advantages of learning French and / or Dutch when you live in Brussels?
Multiply professional opportunities
With English, you will easily find a job in European institutions or in private companies from the international sector. Some university research centers are also satisfied with the knowledge of a single language. However, if you want to work in direct contact with the public, you will need a solid knowledge of both national languages.
If you want to leave Brussels and settle in Flanders or Wallonia, you will need to know Dutch or French.
Brussels is a cosmopolitan city. Probably one of the most cosmopolitan in Europe. As you will have noticed, it is not uncommon for people to approach you in English, Arabic or Spanish in the street. In 2016, the newspaper Le Soir counted more than 104 languages spoken in the capital of Europe. Your daily life will be made easier by knowing French; in stores, in the municipality, at the gym, etc. It is in French or Dutch that you will also have to solve many administrative problems … (Hey yes! You will quickly understand that administrative simplification is not at all our cup of tea!)
Découvrir vraiment le pays
Enfin, notons qu’il serait bien dommage de vivre une expérience à l’étranger sans tenter de se plonger un peu dans la culture locale et de découvrir les particularités de notre petit pays si particulier! Sans apprendre au moins une des langues nationales, comment pourrez-vous sortir de votre bulle d’expatriés et vous lier avec des Belges, apprendre leur mode de vie et comprendre un peu mieux ce qui fait la “belgitude” ?
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