Picture of the Antwerp harbor

Prenatal yoga in Belgium -tips for pregnant women

prenatal yoga

At 30 weeks pregnant I started last week prenatal yoga at Yoga Loft in Brussels (http://www.theyogaloft.be) and I can certainly recommend it, after two sessions I already feel much more relaxed and stretched, I even regret it not starting it earlier :-). The teacher Carrie Sutton is really nice and she gives you tips (she has a son and knows how preparing for birth works). Today after the class we had tea with a small group and we chatted about our experiences as a pregnant woman until now and we realized that in Belgium you really have to find the information all by yourself and the information that you get even depends on where you live in Belgium. The gynecologists in general in Belgium don’t give much information besides that the baby is doing fine and the regular check-ups, I must say I am happy that I am following prenatal classes at BCT (http://bctbelgium.org) with my husband and that I am following yoga as this makes me feel much better and relaxed in order to prepare for giving birth.

If you want to share you experiences being a pregnant woman or if you want some guidance do not hesitate to contact me at julie@expatrelocationbelgium.com.

Have a nice weekend
Julie Craddock

Share your experience: expats moving back home

I recently read an article in the ‘ Economist’ (November 7th, 2015) stating that a quarter of firms provide no help for repatriates at all when it comes to bringing the employees home.

Most of the time they have to adjust to a lower standard of living back home and aren’t given a properly defined job or return to their job they had before without keeping into consideration their international experience.

Are you a returning expat and do you want to share your story please contact me @ julie@expatrelocationbelgium.com

no to happy returns

Banking in Belgium

As a relocation consultant one of the services that I offer is assistance with opening a bank account. KBC, ING and BNP are the 3 major banks that expats use. Personally I strongly recommend BNP as to me I had the best experiences with this bank.

Banking in Belgium

If you need help, do not hesitate to contact me.

Housing in Brussels

As an expat when you are planning your move to Belgium one of the first things you will plan is your house hunting. It may be possible that you are looking for a flat/house to rent or to buy. Most expats are renting but if you are planning to stay longer buying a house can be interesting too.

Depending on the area where you are looking to live in Brussels, the rent can be lower or higher but in general renting a flat or a house in Brussels city center is very expensive compared to other cities in Belgium.

Hereinafter you can find an overview of the average monthly rent:

Furnished two-bedroom house: 1700 EUR – 1800 EUR

Unfurnished two-bedroom house: 1500 EUR

Furnished two-bedroom apartment: 1300 EUR – 1600 EUR

Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment: 1000 EUR – 1300 EUR

unfurnished studio : 500 EUR – 700 EUR

Zaventem is a bit cheaper and lately very attractive to a lot of expats.

For more information or when you are planning a home search please contact us and we can assist you.

Expecting a baby in Belgium

Having a baby in Belgium but you have no idea where you can find support?

I recommend the meetings ‘parents to be’ at BCT – you can follow this with your birth partner and feel much more relaxed in order to prepare for birth – You can find more information on the following website: http://bctbelgium.org/support/prenatal-support/.

In addition being a pregnant woman and you want to spoil yourself, I recommend the pre-mummy arrangement at Shambalah (http://www.shambalah.be/en/aanbod-arrangement-07.php).

pre mummy

Organizing a wedding ceremony

Yayyy! Finally we found our wedding venue – we decided we will have the wedding next year in May in Menton (South of France), now it’s time to start preparing the wedding. Invitations were send so that people can prepare their trip to the South of France. Next week we are going on location to start preparing the wedding. One thing in particular is the ceremony how will we organize this? Tips are welcome 🙂 please send me an e-mail : julie@expatrelocationbelgium.com

Have a nice summer as summer is coming to an end but we have still 2 more weeks to go so enjoy!

Julie

Looking for a venue and a wedding dress

The two first things you need to do is finding a venue and a wedding dress as in Belgium you need to find your venue 1 year in advance and ordering your wedding dress can take up to 4 months.

Finding a venue is not easy and expensive in Belgium, prices range between 2000- 5500 EURO just for the room and in addition you need to pay the menu and drinks so this can get very expensive! If you rather want to have it simple you can rent a room in a school, etc.. and this is totally not expensive but not that fancy, it depends on what you want. You can also decide to hold your wedding in the Netherlands or France. Like in ‘Cadzand’ or in the South of France this is popular among Belgians as it’s not far and something different than the traditional Belgian venue. This is something I preferred so my wedding is in the South of France, I found a nice venue in Cap Martin,namely les deux Frères :-).

Finding a wedding dress is challenging as last week I went to two bridal shops, one in Brussels (Pronovias) and one in Antwerp (JPC Collection). The experience I had at the Pronovias store wasn’t good – they showed me dresses that were size 34 to small so I had no idea how they would look like as the dress didn’t fit at all. On top of that I really liked a dress I saw online (Mijas model) but they said they didn’t have it in store, when I called back the day after all of a sudden they had the dress! My experience at the JPC Collection store was much better, we could choose from books and they had most dresses in stock and they were really friendly and helpful. I already found one I really loved, namely the La Sposa dress model Eithel :-). We will see, will we take a short dress or long dress or both?

http://www.lasposa.info/wedding-dresses2015/fashion-collection-eithel

I would also like to thank Melissa and Magali for helping me with finding a wedding dress.

Planning a wedding in Belgium

I am engaged! Wow and I am so looking forward to plan the wedding.
Tomorrow evening I have a dinner with my girlfriends planned in Antwerp at my favorite restaurant Fiskebar.

I will regularly post on what to do and not to do and I will give future brides some recommendations.

I already have an excel-sheet at my disposal in which the steps to take are nicely ordered thanks to Kim one of my friends.

Keep you posted.
Julie

How do expats integrate in Belgium?

St. John’s International School conducted a survey with expats who used to live in Belgium, to understand what they did to integrate while they lived in the country.
The respondents were given 7 options, as well as the option to fill in their own response.
The top 3 answers:
1. Learn the local language
2. Explore the area where you live
3. Go sightseeing in Belgium

Respondents were also asked what they would change if they could be an expat in Belgium again.
Here are some of the answers received:
“I didn’t appreciate it as a teenager. I didn’t realize what a wonderful opportunity I had been given.”
“I would keep a journal or a blog of my time overseas.”
“Take language studies more seriously and put effort into learning French and Dutch.”

These responses seem to indicate that some expats may only realize the full extent of the expat assignment after their return home.

If you would like to find out more about St. Johns International School you can go visit the school on Sunday May 10th for the Community day and Family Day. If you would like to receive more information or if you want assistance in your school search please contact me.