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Single Parent Moving to Brussels

(12 Posts)
user1469910385 Sun 31-Jul-16 10:29:30

Hi There

Please could someone help.

I have accepted a job offer and will be moving from London to Belgium at the end of October. The company will be putting me in touch with a relocation agency. But thought I'd start the process as it could be a while until they get back to me. Also, I was told if you get a good agent you are very lucky. So I thought if I can do my research beforehand then all I need to do is tell them and ensure there is a maternal which is attached to a primary school so there is no stress moving him up if I am still here in a few years.

Yes, I will be moving my son who will be 4yrs old in November and I would like to put him in a local school where he can eventually pick up the languages in French / Dutch.

My priority is sorting the school out then the area. I was thinking Stockel and have been told there is a school called Ecole Communale De Stockel. Therefore,I could possibly live in Woluve st Pierre.
Has anyone heard of this school. Are your children in the maternal or the primaire there? Or do you have any other recommendations.

I need to also ensure that I can get to Vilvoorde so I can start work at a reasonable time. I checked the timetables for connection and it could be anywhere from 37mins plus depending of the direction I go.

I will not not have a car when I move over. So transport is a must. I would like a 2bed and my budget is 800/ 900€ incl charges if possible.

I have read the blogs, but many of the communications are quite old and I expect a lot has changed in 4 years. Especially with the schools as I understand teach both languages in the schools.

I would like to be able to enjoy my life although i know it will be just him and me. But my priority is settling him into a maternalle to start in November.

Thanks in advance

lifeisunjust Sun 31-Jul-16 17:32:15

Avoid the relocation agency for any advice on housing, they are highly likely to suggest inappropriate housing for your needs and you will be better off doing your own research.

If you are working in Vilvoorde, you are best to live nearby and WSP isn't near at all.

Are you willing to consider Dutch schooling instead as Vilvoorde is Dutch speaking.

You will not get a 2 bed anywhere near Stockel for your budget but you will in Vilvoorde. You're likely to have to live somewhere cheaper.

Please don't go on any advice suggesting an individual school. Ecole communale de Stockel is one of over 100 maternelles in Brussels, there is more than that school. Most schools are fondamentale so maternelle and primaire are together. You don't need to worry about that.

Without knowing where in Vilvoorde you are working, I couldn't help you further. I do know someone who works out there and travels on public transport from Kraainem but it is not a straightforward journey for her. By car it is easier, if you are able to avoid the R0.

Name work location / company by pm and I might be able to help.

lifeisunjust Sun 31-Jul-16 17:45:16

Here is a map of public transport in Vilvoorde, you will need to zoom in.

Here is the train map, if you are working near Vilvoorde train station or get transported to work from there. Note if you wish to live in the east of Brussels, you can get on the train at Bordet / Evere / Merode / Delta / Boondaal rather than going all the way to Gare Centrale. The metro corresponds with the train stations at Merode and Delta. I bet few relocation agents would even know this. Merode - Vilvoorde is about 18 minutes and about every 20 minutes in rush hour. If you really wish to live out as far as Stockel, it's 20 minutes from Merode to Stockel. You'll get cheaper housing nearer Roodebeek metro which is 5 minutes less by metro to Merode. Delta is cheaper also to live next to.

lifeisunjust Sun 31-Jul-16 17:48:46

PS you are incorrect about language of teaching at schools. They are either French or Dutch and the other language is taught by law in Brussels only from the age of 8 but usually earlier. So you have to decide which language and never expect any fluency in the other language from school exposure of a couple of hours a week. Vilvoorde is VERY Dutch. Brussels is bilingual meaning schools can be either, but it's about 95% French speaking in WSP.

lifeisunjust Sun 31-Jul-16 18:29:07

You might just make it in your budget in Stockel, but the apartment will be quite small.

user1469910385 Sun 31-Jul-16 18:51:33

Hiya lifeisunjust

Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it. I will be working for C&A.
I was thinking Vilvoorde or Mechelen as I remember visiting Mechelen years ago and I liked it. I just want to ensure that my son is able to go to a good school and make friends from all walks of life I also wanted to ensure I can have a nice life as I used to live in Belgium many years ago. But I know it will be different with me and my son.

Personally, the school is important. I would prefer French as I speak a bit and I could continue. Also, if I return to the UK in a few years. It would be easier for my son as he can continue his exams in French as they do not teach Dutch. ButI would want hi to eventually learn both languages. But, if he goes to a Dutch school as I know they are really good. Then I would put him in there instead.

Yes, WSP is pricey. Then I was told WSL is cheaper. The company puts me in touch with a relocation agency. But I thought I'd do my research first as I was told the same thing which you just stated in your message.

I will not have a car. I was thinking of bringing it with me. But I think I will sell it before I move over so I can have a bit of cash to tie me over.

I apologise if my message is a bit all over the place. Although, I have approximately 3months until I move. I am stressing a little due to the schools.

Thank you for the links I will review them now.

Looks forward to hearing from you.

user1469910385 Sun 31-Jul-16 18:57:09

I used to live in Ixelles. But reading other peoples blogs. They advise to keep away from Ixelles as it is not great for schools and also it will be too late to enrol. And possibly too far to travel from.

lifeisunjust Sun 31-Jul-16 19:04:07

The French schools are equally as good as French schools, comparing the social classes and types of schools.

WSL and WSP, no difference in overall price, more a case of choosing particular area in each. Kraainem is a bit cheaper overall and although Kraainem metro is in WSL, it is next to lots of apartments in Kraainem.

Send me your email and I'll put you in touch with the person i know working for the same company who lives in Kraainem.

Living as far out as WSL/WSP/Kraainem, but you'll need to allow 60 minutes from that area and school drop-off to arrival at Vilvoorde station where you get picked up. That means as most schools have garderies finishing at 18.30 you are at Vilvoorde station after work at 17.30 latest or you pay someone to do school pick up at a rate of around 10 euro an hour which you cannot put on your tax return, unlike school garderie. Garderie doesn't usually open until 07.30 around the area either, a few open at 07.00.

If you do go for Kraainem/WSL/WSP, you'll have to get a school / apartment very near a metro station on line 1 to be able to make it to Vilvoorde in 60 minutes.
You won't find many multi-national families however in Vilvoorde schools, if you choose to go up there, Mechelen a bit more.

user1469910385 Sun 31-Jul-16 19:39:29

Thank you so much.

That's what I was worried about if I went to Vilvoorde. I want to be able to mix with different nationalities and which would be great for both me and m son.

My journey in London from home to work (door to door) is 1hr 15/30mins at the best of times and cancellations are a pain. So the 60mins does not seem too bad as long as I leave out on time. Plus I will have a better life over there.

I am now starting to feel much better as I thought it will be a while for someone to get back to me.

Thank you once again.

lifeisunjust Sun 31-Jul-16 20:02:07

I have sent you a private message with the email of your future colleague.

user1469910385 Sun 31-Jul-16 20:34:08

Thank you very much.

Longtime Tue 02-Aug-16 23:19:19

If you pm me I can add you to our Facebook group. You can then ask lots of questions though lifeisunjust is the expert of the group!

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