Located right near the heart of Brussels, one of city’s nineteen communities is Schaerbeek. With it’s convenient location, beautiful architecture and abundant international communities, Schaerbeek is undoubtfully the best place for the international students in Brussels.
Close to the center and far from the noise
While looking for the place to stay, students would undoubtedly prefer to be close to their university. Seeing how IHECS is located right in the heart of the city, next to the majestic Grand Place, there’s hard to find a closer option, that’s not in the City of Brussels itself. For those preferring a healthy walk to school, it would take at most an hour to get from any part of Schaerbeek to the IHECS, and ones preferring public transport, would be glad to find out that line 25 or 92 of the city tram would easily take them to the city center.
Despite being so close to the EU institutions and financial heart of the city, Schaerbeek is completely different from it when it comes to the atmosphere on the streets. While certain parts of Brussels are mostly modernized, Schaerbeek has preserved the centuries-old architecture. With magnificent Josaphat Park in its center, Schaerbeek does it’s best to submerge it’s inhabitants in the atmosphere of the past. Walking down the streets of this commune, only cars passing by will remind you what century you are currently living in.
Save your wallet (in more meanings that one)
Located so close to the center, and with historical buildings to add, Schaerbeek is surprisingly quite cheap to live in. The real estate prices are lower than in any other commune of Brussels, meaning that renting prices are also lower than usual.
Besides, Schaerbeek is also a home to a large immigrant community. People of Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish, Asian and many other origins have converged there, producing a community where people of every nationality can be accepted as local. No need to worry that you are going to stick out! And more importantly, immigrants tend to open local shops and fast food joints. With constant competition like that, prices on food have never been lower.
Look around and enjoy the view
As I’ve already mentioned, Schaerbeek is mostly consists of old buildings with beautiful architecture, but there is more to this beauty than just residential buildings. And, more importantly, students are guaranteed to see all the beauties of Schaerbeek sooner or later!
Take for example Schaerbeek’s town hall, located in the Place Collignon. This gorgeous building, built in 1887, is obligatory to visit for international students for their registration. To do so, they would almost certainly have to pass near or through the Josaphat park, a public park that reminds of a small forest, with ponds and sculptures scattered around, reinforcing the atmosphere. And if you are going to school right after visiting the town hall, St. Mary’s Royal Church is bound to get in your way, why not take a look at it.
Finally, on your way to the airport, you can take a train there from the Schaerbeek railway station, another historical building, finished in 1902. As of 2015, this unique place is also a home of “Train World”, a national railway museum of Belgium, why not check it out before your departure home?
There’s probably even more to uncover about Schaerbeek. A commune with a long history, it’s now not only a part of Brussels, but a new home for thousands of people from all over the world. They weave their experience and lives in the fabric of Schaerbeek and it’s up to you, whether you want or not to try and leave your own stitch.
In any case, for the international student, there’s no better place to experience the architecture and spirit of the historical parts of Brussels while also saving money and time for the study than Schaerbeek.
Ruslan Starodubtsev – International student September 19 to January 20