Could you give us a little brief about yourself ? (background, main passions, activities, …)
I’m 20 years old and I’m a British-Iranian, I’ve lived in Iran the UK and the UAE but I grew up in Dubai for the past 14 years. Last year I completed my Alevels and graduated from sixth form and decided to take a gap year before I start university. I decided to take a gap year to give myself the opportunity to try some new things, get some real-world experience and do some travelling before uni. So far I’ve done quite a bit of travelling and I did an internship at a law firm in Paris and now I’m doing an internship in Brussels at a cultural management company, next I will be going to China to learn mandarin and from then I guess we will see (laugh). I will go to university in the UK to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics but that starts in September.
Why did you choose Brussels ?
Well, to be honest, I had an internship opportunity here because of some networking that I did in Dubai and I thought it would also be a great opportunity to improve my French and experience living in a new place. Luckily, I have quite a few French housemates and hearing them talk has really improved my comprehension (laugh). My internship is at ENCATC which is a cultural management company and I’m really interested in arts and culture so I thought it would be interesting to see the other side or the managerial side of cultural and arts events.
What kind of accommodation were you looking for before your arrival ?
Since I had never been to Belgium before and I knew I would be staying for 6 months I was looking for a way to immerse myself into a community and get to know as many people as possible! Before this, I did an internship in Paris for a month and I had an Airbnb which was good but I knew that wouldn’t work for a much longer stay so for Brussels I looked for co-living options and Cohabs really stood out.
How and why did you choose Cohabs ?
I searched on a lot of different co-living websites and then facebook posts and I found some co-living options but they were usually with just 2 or 3 other people until I came across Cohabs. I had a really good first impression, I thought it was the perfect option for me since it’s a big international community. I filled out the online form which I thought was quite a good idea because you get the impression that it’s a careful process and you have to show that you’re the kind of person that would enjoy this kind of co-living experience and also bring something to it. I also did a skype visit with the Ma Campagne house manager Lilith who was super nice and the house also looked pretty cool- it’s actually kinda weird to think back to when I didn’t know her because we’re really good friends now (laugh).
How would you describe your roommates ?
Oh god, where do I start? They’re so down for anything it’s great, we’re all pretty young and a lot of us have similar interests so we do a lot of things together and I think we’ve really bonded. They’re fun, funny, outgoing, caring and I’m really gonna miss them.
What’s the most unexpected thing about coliving ?
Honestly, I didn’t expect all the partying (laugh), for a time it was a few times a week and now I think it’s like twice a week but it’s great. I also thought there might be some difficulties living in a house with 10 other people but I’m surprised at how well we all get along, we even went on a little trip to Amsterdam in November and I’m sure I will keep in touch with them and we’ll see each other after my Brussels experience. Also, I don’t know if it’s the same for the other houses but we literally do everything together from grocery shopping to going to the gym to going out which was unexpected.
Let’s imagine you’re 35 years old, you come back to Brussels to live here. Would you prefer living alone in your own flat or sharing a house with some young professionals ?
Well, I would certainly feel some nostalgia but I think co-living is a great experience for young people who are just starting their professional careers and want to have a dynamic and fun home environment, but at 35 I don’t think I would be interested in that.
Are you enjoying your life in Brussels ? What’s your favorite place and Why ?
I’m loving it! It’s a pretty cosmopolitan place which kinda makes it feel like home and like I already said I love my housemates. I also like our neighbourhood (Saint Gilles). My favourite place would have to be the city center or the ‘grand place’ because there are so many things to do and try around that area and I have a lot of good memories from there.
Could you tell us a funny story which occurred in your house so far ?
This one is pretty tricky because what happens between Ma Campagne stays between Ma Campagne so I can’t really tell you about the ones that come to mind straight away if other people are gonna see this (laugh). I suppose Mathilde already told you about Baptiste’s bike adventure accident? I mean if you visited us any evening you would see a bunch of people laughing and having a good time, and on weekends that just escalates (laugh).
Would you recommend Cohabs to a friend ? Why ?
Yes definitely! My experience at Cohabs has been the highlight of my stay in Brussels, I’v made so many amazing friends and had a great experience overall- I would 100% do it all over again if I could so I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a fun, dynamic environment and friendly co-living space.