August 18, 2007 8:24:00 PM CEST
My wife and I are moving to Brussels from New York City in September, so that I may attend school there.
We will both be teaching, but are interested in the cheapest possible option for housing.
Ideally we would like to find a small apartment, studio or sublet, furnished or unfurnished, for 500 Euro or less. However, we are interested in any housing options, and would also be willing to take a room in a house or flat.
The school I will be attending is in St. Gilles. It would be great if we
could live near by, but any neighborhood in Brussels would really be fine.
I understand that there might be some student housing available, but am
not sure where to look for it.
I know that in some cities there are housing options for singles or
couples to live with elderly folks or families for cheaper rent in return for
helping around the house. Does anyone know of something like this in
Any ideas you might have would be of great help to us! I am very grateful for any information, suggestions, or offers.
Thank you very much in advance!
I just saw your post so I'm sorry not to have responded sooner. I recommend that you look under craigslist.com for possible housing. I am enclosing the Belgium link:
At least this would be a good starting point. You can also go to craigslist.com and click on country Belgium.
Do you speak French or Dutch? I find it is somewhat difficult here in Brussels for many who do not speak French primarily. There are some who speak English here in Brussels but they are definitely more in the minority. Plenty of expats live here but usually they are hard to meet unless they are in your job or school setting. When I first arrived, I found grocery stores to be especially difficult because, of course, everything is labeled in French (and/or Dutch). It was really, really hard at first.. Getting used to the differences in products takes a lot of exploration and compromise, trust me.
Bring an umbrella (FOR SURE), jackets, scarves. It gets quite rainy, windy, and cold here and there has almost been NO summer - often you don't see the sun for days as well.
Bring all the shoes that you are going to need as shoes here cost an exhorbitant price (70E on up for any kind). I find clothes also expensive so a light jacket, medium jacket, warm coat, warm scarf - are the most important items.
Many grocery items are not available here that you may not be able to live without. If there is something that means a lot to you, bring a bunch of it.
Sorry I have not been more helpful about housing issue, but I see signs in windows of apts around in different areas. I'm not sure which school you're attending so don't know what area is your preference. The trams are very good here so you can get around with ease.
Try to get a furnished place as buying furniture, etc., is extremely challenging. You do not have the shopping capabilities here that you do in the States - not at all. Even in NYC, which can be challenging, it would be easier than here. Keep in mind, also, that everything works differently here - all electronics must have a heavy transformer or you're going to buy European electronics. A little adaptor will not work for many things.
Good luck - how long is your school gig? one year - four years? This could also make a difference in what you tote along.