MEN FOLLOWING CAREER WOMEN by Ginny Suter
Ginny wrote numerous articles for Plug-In Belgium and Internationals in Belgium in the late 1990s early 2000's and presented a weekly radio programme for a local radio station in the Brussels Waterloo area.
Modern men following modern career women to Belgium have got their act together and formed a group. (Women with partners now account for about 7% of all executives posted abroad). It's called STUDS and was established in 1994 for the purpose of networking and giving mutual support inside and outside the home.
This club for 'male trailing spouses under duress overseas' organises social, sports and cultural events to help one another make the most of the transfer overseas. These are no ordinary trailing spouses, but men daring enough to follow their wives on an expat assignment and make the most of it. Some are retired, others have interrupted their own careers.
Golf courses, known for exchanges of good ideas are popular venues, and at times, so is Mac Donald's. The club meets once a month for lunch and general discussions. At the luncheon, individual members propose activities and outings. Events have included a tour of the World War I battleground in Flanders, a visit to Fort Breendonk and the Museum of the Resistance and a caravan to Antwerp for lunch at the Hard Rock Café.
The club has many members from the USA but also welcomes male trailing spouses from many countries, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Uruguay. The language of the club is English (or the STUDS version of it).
Tom Crosby, one of the founders explains. "Unlike women who now move overseas and find friendship and support in organisations like the American Women's Club, we pioneers have had no such support. One of the first people to realise this was Madeleine Leone (AWCB), when attending her "Hints For Living In Brussels" classes. As a result, she gathered together several of the male alumni from her class, introduced them at a lunch last May and formed the nucleus of this popular group."
Their first official meeting at Les Olivades in Waterloo and was a success. They then met at different restaurants months. Jim Houghton remembers the early meetings, "We'd talk about places to go, where to find things, beer, you name it." The autumn of 1994, saw a large influx of new members, as word about the STUDS was spread.
Today, STUDS has over 60 members, and continues to help trailing male spouses through social, sports and cultural events, and making the most of the overseas experience. Yearly dues are BEF600, and the monthly luncheon is held on the second Tuesday of each month at Golf du Bercuit.
Studs Spring Golf Outing is coming up shortly and will be held Tuesday, April 21 at Golf Club de Pierpont, which is about 15 km south of Waterloo. Tee off is at 8.30 a.m. followed with a Buffet Lunch and Awards. Price is BEF1,500 per person which includes green fees and buffet. For more information, just call Paul Wilson (number removed for this re-print) or Kevin Doyle on (number removed for this re-print).
Studs meet on Mondays & Fridays at McDonald's in Overijse on Monday mornings around 9.30am., and at the Pain Quotdien in Stokkel on Friday mornings around 10.00am. Every STUD is welcome. If you have any questions, call (number removed for this re-print).
©Ginny Suter - 1998
Original article appearing in "Internationals in Belgium" Dick Suter was an editor of the magazine and contributor and Ginny Suter was a regular contributor in the late 1990's and 2000's - The magazine had a circulation of 10,000 Please note that this article was first published many years ago and telephone and fax numbers are likely to be out of date and email addresses have been removed.
Source of images, unless otherwise stated - Suter family archives