Bruselj: mednarodno mesto

Vanesa Garpova

Brussels, as the capital of Europe, is a very international city full of young people. It is a live city, with events, exhibitions, and concerts. There is always something new to do or visit, a lot of green areas (parks, forests, lakes) + a lot of bars, and different types of beers. The people are open and friendly. Almost everyone speaks English. By train, it is very easy and well connected with other Belgium cities, as well as other European cities (Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt in cca. two hours).

Brussels is a poli-centric city. The city center is small and charming. Around it, there are a lot of nice, cute neighborhoods that function independently and are well connected with public transport. If you are searching for accommodation, I suggest you search south from the center like Saint-Gilles, Ixelles, and Etterbeek, …These neighborhoods are safer and full of young people and good nightlife with mostly locals. 

Searching for accommodation took some time and it wasn’t easy because I did the visits online before I arrived. I searched on the website The rents are slightly higher than in Ljubljana and they depend on the type of accommodation. Shared apartments are usually less expensive than renting a studio. The public transport is good and accessible, for people younger than 26 it is 12 euros per year. 

Mostly the internships in Belgium are not paid, but fortunately, I was paid by the studio so there can be a chance to find ones that pay the interns.

B612 Architects is a studio with 10-15 people. They work only on competitions for housing, schools, kindergartens… I had a very positive experience and learned a lot. My tasks were variable. My colleagues were all young and friendly. It was always teamwork and there was no hierarchy between us. We were having regular meetings with the two main architects and coffee breaks and lunches. Occasionally, we were also organizing drinks or activities after work. The work is officially from 9 to 18 (with an hour for lunch break + coffee breaks) but the schedule is not strict, so everyone decides when they come/go. They searched for English-speaking interns, but soon after I got there, I learned that all the documents, software, and meetings were in French. Luckily, I had a base in French, and I got to improve my skills, but it can be a bad point for some people. 

For the first three months, I was part of the conception phase of a competition for a new school and the renovation of existing buildings in a school complex in Brussels. We were a team of five, we were spreading the tasks equally and navigating between tasks which allowed me to do different things and decide where I could be most efficient. We won the competition, and we got the results while I was still in the office, so during the last month I got to be part of the second phase where we were closely working with our client, adapting the project, and doing regular meetings. In the meantime, I was part of another project for housing for elderly people and a center for people with disabilities in Brussels. We were preparing the project for the start of the construction phase. I was responsible for the ambiance, choice of materials, and lightning, working on the model and producing visuals for our client. Because it was a renovation, I also worked on finding creative solutions for re-using as much as possible from whatever was on site. 

I strongly recommend Brussels for a student exchange because it is effortless to create connections with people from all over the world.