Cristian Kanovits, 35, hailing from Germany and Romania, is well versed in many fields. He specialised as an economic engineer in energy and electrotechnique, holds a BA in Communication and Public Relations, a Master in European Studies (from ULB) and a PhD in International Relations. Cristian first came to Belgium as part of his studies. He then managed to get an internship in the European sphere, which opened doors to the professional world. Today he helps develop European policies. In this multicultural environment, Cristian feels like a fish in water. He likes it so much that he has decided to stay.
Cristian, why Belgium?
Cristian: I chose Belgium for its rich academic and professional environment. I first visited during my studies and then started working in the EU sphere. Today, I help develop European policies in a multicultural and inspiring environment.
How was your arrival in Belgium? Have you encountered difficulties?
Cristian: No, it was not really difficult. There are a lot of agencies, that offer online services to facilitate your arrival or help you find housing. When I arrived, I first stayed with a friend for a while. Then I lived together with another student, which is the norm. Then when the years passed, I decided to buy my own home. It have to say that the conditions for obtaining a loan here are attractive, especially for expats.
Are your friends also expats or have you been able to make Belgian friends?
Cristian: Most of my friends are expats themselves. My partner is of Greek descent. When I was a student, I had some Belgian friends but since then our paths have separated. Today, I predominantly meet other expats through my international workplace.
What do you do in your free time?
Cristian: Free time, what's that? Jokes aside, if the day lasted 48 hours, I would be delighted! But I still manage to find time to go to the gym, cinema, to read or to play with my little girl of three years.
Three years, that’s the age when children start going to school...
Cristian: Yes, she has just entered kindergarten.
How did you choose her school?
Cristian: We had several criteria. First, we wanted a school close to home. And we also wanted the school to have an international character. Our daughter’s school has a very dynamic system. One day they use English and the next day it’s French. At home I speak to her in Romanian and her mother in Greek. We were advised to wait before introducing a fifth language; so learning German will have to wait for a bit. The issue of languages is very important to expat couples from different countries and naturally influences the choice of school.
What is one of Belgium’s strong sides?
Cristian: Apart from the academic and professional wealth, which I have already mentioned, Belgium is a major tourist hub. You can travel to anywhere in Europe in no time!
Did you learn French or Dutch?
Cristian: I have a basic knowledge of French. Dutch, not yet, but I speak Japanese, Greek, Spanish, English, and then of course, German and Romanian, my mother tongues.