An important step when you’re moved to another country, is when you start calling your new home, ‘home’. Home is Atlanta. I love visiting my friends and family in Belgium, but it is not home anymore. You get used to guns and ammo in the aisle next to the children’s toys, you think it is perfectly OK to drive 5 hours to go to the beach for a Saturday out, you find it incomprehensible that stores are closing before 3 a.m. in the morning, you do not look weird when shops refuse to sell you a bottle of wine before 12.30 on Sunday, you will start drinking sweet ice tea voluntarily, and you actually believe chicken and waffles is a good idea for breakfast. Chances are you will still look for a choice of chocolate and you will dream of having frietjes met stoofvleessaus. But you will accept that those things will need to wait for your next trip abroad, to that far away country named Belgium.
All paperwork is done and all necessary arrangements are made. I can finally start this new chapter in my life as a Belgian in America. At first, my job description did not change moving offices. However, there are some remarkable differences.
Since 2015, the Erasmushogeschool Brussel (EhB) and Delaware Consulting have actively been collaborating to build bridges between the professional and educational world.
We firmly believe in the educational quality provided by the EhB. Did you know that EhB actually included some in-depth SAP training in the curriculum? That’s quite unique in the Belgian educational system.
So, I decided to take the plunge. I was going to leave Belgium for an American adventure. There are many things involved with moving to another country. One of the most intriguing parts is changing payroll. Delaware Consulting does not offer a classic expat package. If you want to change offices, you must change payroll.
In my case, this means I get paid in the USA, get US holidays, and US healthcare. No more Belgian company car, weeks of holidays and no more Belgian taxes (hooray!). I very quickly discovered that comparing compensation and benefits is not as easy as it seems.
My story begins the very first week I joined Delaware Consulting in the Kortrijk offices (Belgium). Just like everyone starting his first job right out of college, I had no idea what to expect. Other than a few weeks working as an intern at an accounting firm, filing VAT returns and booking invoices, I had no real-world experience. When you are in such a position, you make crazy decisions without realizing it. Decisions which may impact the next years, and perhaps even the remainder of your career and life. This is one of those stories. The story of a Belgian somehow ending up far away from home, in the United States of America.
17 11 2015
Before moving from Belgium to China in 2008, I never quite understood the significance of cultural differences. That was until one cold Thursday in December a number of years ago. I was on my way to a meeting with the IT director of Geely, a large Chinese automotive company that took over Volvo. I was hoping to make a good impression. Chinese winters can be frigid, and it was freezing outside. As we reached the company headquarters, I decided to leave my winter coat in the car. I’d put on my best suit for the meeting, and I wasn’t going to let a winter coat ruin my appearance!