When I was very young, I decided to travel, keeping Wallonia as my base.
At sixteen, I was in Moscow, at twenty in Kathmandu, and other journeys followed or are planned.
I have spent many hours of my travels meeting people on the other side of the world.
Today, I only need to travel for one hour to meet and talk to people here, all in the same place: people from Kyrgyzstan, India, Peru, China, Argentina and other European countries.
This very open-minded international community, with its vast cultural diversity, has chosen to live and work in Wallonia.
Some are here on temporary placements, which may or may not be extendable, and others have been living here for years.
What do they say about Wallonia?
The vast majority are very knowledgeable about our history, our specific features and our regional characteristics.
They have usually studied at university, at a very high level, as part of an international career path; their studies have led to them joining the companies working in every competitiveness cluster in Wallonia.
They join existing teams, enjoy the sense of shared experience and the accessibility of their new partners, whilst being amazed that Walloons do not make a greater show of their discoveries and knowledge. Our people are passionate about creating and pragmatic about sharing their knowledge.
Walloons are pioneers, in terms of innovations as well as the transmitting of their technological expertise and training, throughout the world.
They all recognise the ingenuity, simplicity, and resourcefulness of the Walloons. There is no need to roll out the red carpet to entice them to new regions and new projects. Their image is made up of ingenuity, adaptability and communication skills.
The Walloon welcome is no legend, even though some people are surprised that we don't make a bit more effort for them. In fact, it's as if they had always been here with us.