±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Expat Experiences

Belgium > Expat Experiences


Sam Dowle, Ardennes

Friday December 08, 2017 (13:43:17)
Sam Dowle
Sam Dowle

Who are you?

My name is Sam Dowle, I am originally from the UK, I am 35yrs old.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to the Ardennes region of Belgium with my husband.

We had a holiday home there for 13 years. We moved over there as I had a head injury (post concussion syndrome) in Sept 2016, I needed a change and a lovely place to chill till I am fully recovered.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Signing up for a bank account and applying for an internet package proved difficult as we weren't Belgian citizens. It eventually got sorted.

Are there many other expats in your area?

We haven't met any other English people in the area. It is rare to see/hear any other Brits. We socialize with the people in our village which also helps us to learn the language (French) better.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

The locals in our village are very kind. When our house flooded our next door neighbour went in and tried to save all our belongings. Good neighbours are hard to find so we are very lucky.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest cultural difference? Hmm I do think people in Belgium are very organised & laid back/patient. Also, I love it when you walk in somewhere, a shop or launderette or cafe, and everyone says hello.

What do you like about life where you are?

Our life has changed completely as we lived on a sailing yacht in the UK so being in a cottage with more space is fab. Our views are beautiful and clean.

In Belgium I love how important recycling is to people, it should be like this in the UK. It is a very clean country and people take time to do things instead of rushing around like headless chickens.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

I would love to speak French better but I am slowly picking the language up. I have noticed Belgian drivers on mobile phones quite often - this makes me sad and needs to stop.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I absolutely adore Belgian food. It always looks much better quality than in the UK. I'm never one to turn down a waffle or two!.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

The advice I would give is enjoy this wonderful country, and learning the language is a must.

What are your plans for the future?

Future plans - I run an Instagram page called 'Beach bum en Ardennes'. The story of how a British beach bum copes amongst the Belgium Ardennes forest! I am an art teacher/interior designer as a profession so I would love to do some interior work or teaching. I am due to put my blog live in a couple of weeks' time too. Onwards & upwards.

You can keep up to date with Sam's adventures on Instagram.

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

Link  QR 

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

AXA - Global Healthcare

As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.

Bupa Global

Bupa Global is one of the world’s largest international health insurers. We offer direct access to over 1.2m medical providers worldwide, and we settle directly with them so you don’t have to pay up front for your treatment. We provide access to leading specialists without the need to see your family doctor first and ensure that you have the same level of cover wherever you might be, home or away.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.