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96% of young expats satisfied with life in Belgium, but all good things come at a price

22 March 2017

96% of young expats (aged 18 to 28) who work or study in Belgium are satisfied with their expat life. Over 80% claim that their decision to move to Belgium has had a positive influence on their careers. These are some of the findings from a survey conducted by Leuven MindGate member BNP Paribas Fortis and executed by ThinkYoung.

The survey was meant to map the young expats' expectations before, during and after their stay in Belgium and six other European countries: Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK. In total, 6,349 young expats were interviewed.



53% moved to Belgium through an opportunity (e.g. Erasmus exchange program) given to them by their university or school. 39% wanted to learn a new language or new culture. 37% said they moved to Belgium to improve their resumé and broaden their career's options.

Young professionals

Over 80% of young professional expats moved to Belgium because of the career-opportunities that were present, while 50% moved here for their personal development. Other reasons ranged from learning a new language, the standard of life or quality of life. Surprisingly, only 10% indicated that they moved due to financial reasons.

Experiences in Belgium


After arrival in Belgium, 63% of expat students quickly notice that their social life has improved significantly. 6 out of 10 praise the quality of the Belgian education system and nearly half of all test subjects claim to have a better standard of life in Belgium. Affordable education (30%) and livelihood (21%) are also deemed as important benefits by students.

Young Professionals


82% of young professionals say that, thanks to their move to Belgium, they improved their career. 43% also said to have improved their social life and 42% has seen an improvement when it comes to personal finance. About 36% claim their standard of life has improved during their stay in Belgium.

All good things come at a price

In total, 96% of all questioned young expats indicated they are satisfied with their Belgian experience. However, 72% said that the cost of life was less expensive in their home country. This trend carries on when it comes to housing, making Belgium a more expensive destination for many expats.

Source: BNP Paribas Fortis & ThinkYoung

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