„Keep trying, Keep Applying“ – Nikhitha’s Experiences coming to Belgium

Talent Interlock - KEEP TRYING, KEEP APPLYING Blog Post1024

Written by Talent Interlock

We have met Nikhitha during one of our workshops on “Going Independent” last fall looking for answers to find out whether working as a freelancer in Belgium makes sense for her. A few months earlier she came to Belgium with her husband who started a job here at one of the big international companies. Even though her degree (Masters in Pharmacy) and motivation didn’t fall behind the ones of her husband the first months turned out to be rather tricky to find her position on the local labour market.

Talent Interlock: How would you describe your first impressions of Belgium and the start of your job search here?

Nikhitha: It was a very different feeling (compared to my home in India) when I first Ianded in Belgium last year. The job market in Belgium is rich but for a foreigner, it is difficult and very challenging.

TI: Which challenges did you encounter?

Nikhitha: The first challenge faced is the language. I was advised by everyone to start learning the language immediately if I intend to work here. Again, the language to be learnt depends on where you would like to find work. In Brussels, both French and Dutch can be prerequisites.

The second challenge concerns your degree certificate. If you plan to study ahead, then this will not be much of a problem. But for a job, some employers do ask for a Degree Equivalence. This can be obtained via NAARIC, though a lag of nearly 6 months can be expected. It is always better to do a short course in Belgium to double up the chances of getting a job. The courses are very specific to your field. There are short courses, advanced masters courses. This again depends on universities. Also, some courses are available only in the local language. You need to be very clear about what you need.

The third challenge is the work permit. With the new rules, though, this problem is solved. Now even dependent spouses are eligible to work in Belgium. We get a Work permit C. But if you intend to do something creative or something of your own, then you have an option of freelance work. I am very thankful to the Talent Interlock team who gave thorough guidance on this, for example on questions of “hoofdberoep” (main occupation) or “bijberoep” (side occupation).

If you need any further information regarding this, you may contact me on my mail nikhitha260893@gmail.comI would be happy to help.

TI: How long did it take you to find a new position here in Belgium and what will you do?

Nikhitha: It took me only 7 months. I use the word “only” because it is difficult to get it without language. I am taking my language classes side by side. I landed up a chance because of one of my friends. So, I would say it is very important to build a network, too.

TI: One important ‘lesson learned’ you can share with others who are newly arriving and facing the same challenges in finding a job here?

Nikhitha: Keep trying, keep applying for positions, and more importantly keep following up on your applications. Take up even a small position that comes your way. It is all about the experience. Do not hesitate to start as a fresher.

It took some time and a few stressful moments but Nikhitha is starting her new position next week! Congratulations and thank you very much for sharing your experiences!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for upcoming training sessions, networking moments or coachings at hello@talentinterlock.com

Nikhitha Narayana for Talent Interlock



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