Years ago, finding a home abroad was a difficult issue that
binded you with local Real Estate agents, newspaper ads and phone cabins. In this article I explain how things have changed with my own experience.
Days before I arrived
Leuven, capital of the Vlaams-Brabant Province is well known for its University, Beer Factories, Heritage and closeness to the capital of Europe: Brussels. But, as long as I knew from my hometown, living in a Student City is expensive.
Lesson one: Vraag en Anbood. Dutch for Demand and Supply.
I had to find a solution in a country I had never been before. And I guided myself with the data I had from Airbnb.
That´s why I went through Airbnb, spending its €15 voucher I had in my power. Sleeping in a place and walking through its streets can make up your mind about useful data like income per inhabitant, cheap and expensive places, etc. And the best option at that time (beginning of September) was Wijgmaal, in the suburbs of Leuven
Lesson two: Talk to your country´s expats.
After a couple of days going through Couchsurfing, Airbnb and other place I don’t want to remember where I stood for 30 minutes, I met in Aldi´s two Spanish expats that gave me access to the Local Community in Social Networks where I could learn how the renting market works in Belgium (Kots, Appartments and Single Family Houses). But everything I found there was expensive. The critical point was when one of them asked her fiancé, and he pointed out that the mother of one of his friends rented a room I could pay in Wijgmaal. Skies opened and I arrived to Gebroeders Tassetstraat. These expats and my landlord were lovely and explained me a lot of things, the most important for my integration were: lending me a
Belgium is a
Lesson three: Couchsurfing hosts are good aanbieders.
After a month, I had to leave that room because of a former agreement. And Couchsurfing was the solution: if somebody was able to offer a room for a day, it meant there was an idle space I could rent. What about closing a monthly fee I could pay for a room? That meant I had to move to Groeningestraat (5 minutes walking from Gebroeders Tassetstraat with my suitcases). I made a good deal, and that deal included another bike
In conclusion, don´t give up looking for lodging. There are alternatives to the