Live, Work & Travel in Belgium
While the French speaking Walloons and Dutch speaking Flemish are reluctant to talk to each other, they are happy to welcome other nationalities and do so in droves. The capital of the European Union, Brussels is home to a large number of expats. Working travellers can find work in the low key tourist resorts on the coast or in towns such as Brugge. Au pair work is easy to find where English speakers are much in demand for the families of Eurocrats.
Working in Tourism
Without a mass tourism industry entry level vacancies are more likely to be advertised locally in French or Dutch or competed for with Belgian students on the spot. Most visitors come from neighbouring countries including the UK so there is some scope for English language speakers to have an advantage in Belgium's mediaeval cities, if not on the coast where local tourism prevails. Belgium.be and Visit Belgium can both be used to further research the country's tourism industry.
Teaching & TEFL in Belgium
There are several language schools in Brussels but according to Victoria Hebden, who taught English in Brussels, the majority don’t employ teachers, who instead work on a self employed basis with the schools as their clients. She goes on to say that teachers come and go so it is worth persevering when sending in your CV to schools.
Colin Barnett confirms the high turnover of teachers in Brussels. As are their students many teachers are in the European capital because of their partners' careers with European institutions and multi nationals. Colin's first students included Greek teenagers, Japanese housewives, an Italian MEP and a Vietnamese clairvoyant. Though it took awhile before he eventually found some Belgians to teach he was buoyant in his opinion of the opportunities for teaching English.
The Belgian English Language Teachers Association (BELTA) answers many of the Frequently Asked Questions for foreign English teachers settling in Belgium in their Guide To Teaching English in Belgium.
Au Pair & Nanny Jobs
Au pairs in Belgium are entitled to at least €450 per month and most agencies will be able to match au pairs with Belgian or expat families. Most, one would hope, will have a better experience than one half of the team behind the Overseas Job Centre, who once worked for a family in Brussels and remembers with no fondness being sent outside to pluck out blades of grass growing between the paving stones leading to the house. AuPairWorld has information for those wanting to work in the country.
Other Ways to Work in Belgium
Though working in Brussels is more of a white collar career endeavour working travellers will find short term knock on opportunities in the city's bars and restaurants and other businesses as a consequence of the presence of multi national businesses and European institutions.
Low Cost Options for Volunteering
From local NGOs to work exchanges we track down and list a number of opportunities for free or cheap volunteer work in Belgium on another website in our small group.
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link).You can get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.
More Resources from our Sites
Directory > Benelux Links - A large selection of links for finding work, searching for a home and travelling in Belgium.
Jobs in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg - Current vacancies from the Jobs Abroad Bulletin.
More Working in Belgium Resources
Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue - French and Dutch speakers can get more information on student jobs here.
Articles on Living, Working & Travelling in Belgium
Articles on other websites and blogs:
A Week in the Life – Day 1 – Travel and Work - This time the Hecktics shoot some video of their housesitting gig in Brussels.
How to See the World by House Sitting - Betsy Talbot writes her post from someone else’s cosy, top floor flat in an old building in Brussels.
Got information about living, travelling or working in Belgium? Write us an article or pass on a tip to other travellers here