As I’ve told you about Belgium week by week I’m sure you’re beginning to wonder about the relationship between Belgium and the United States. For the most part, Belgium and the US see eye-to-eye on a number of matters and get along rather well. Shortly after it’s founding as an individual country in 1830, Belgium began peaceful diplomatic relations with the United States. Following the World Wars, the United States aided in freeing Belgium from Nazi control, and from then on Belgium has been appreciative of the US. Belgium was a founding member of the European Union. As a result of its role as a member relations with the US have shifted more from the US-Belgian level to the US-European Union level. The two countries are still friendly towards one another.
Upon deciding to study abroad in Belgium I had to complete a process to obtain a visa allowing me to study here for four months. The process was quite simple due to the peaceful relations between the two countries. In order to get a visa I had to supply documents like my birth certificate and passport, as well as a letter from my university. As far as I know, the process to move here isn’t all that difficult. Although I’m sure there are a number of Americans that have relocated to Belgium, I have yet to meet any. The same goes for Belgians in America, and Portland more specifically. This might be due to the small number of Belgian natives. Either way, I have come to appreciate the friendly relationship between the countries, and the easy access I had and will have to visit in the future! Would you guys ever consider visiting Belgium? Or do you have different countries on your list of places to see?
As an American in a European country I feel completely comfortable walking the streets. Belgians tend to be very friendly towards my friends and me. Whenever a shop owner or restaurant waiter hears us speaking English, they tend to inquire about where we’re from in the US and what we think of Brussels. Overall Belgians are quite interested in meeting Americans, and more than willing to strike up a conversation. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t have stereotypes for Americans. Most Belgians, and quite a few other European countries think of Americans as incredibly loud people that like to spend a lot of money and eat a lot of fried foods. How accurate do you think this is? What stereotypes can you think of that Americans have for different European countries? After hearing about these stereotypes I have certainly noticed that my friends and I speak quite a bit louder than those we encounter on public transportation and at school. Coming to this realization and having to adjust something about the way of life I’m used to in the US was difficult at first. Overall, I haven’t had to adjust my way of life too drastically to avoid being spotted as an American in Brussels.
I hope you all have a great week 🙂