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Uncovering Brussels: the flip side of the coin

Coming to live in Brussels is always a great and intense experience. Whether you are a professional or an intern at any of the several associations or institutions that are based here, you will be able to get the European vibe all over the city. Getting to meet dozens of people from different nationalities on a daily basis is something that doesn’t happen that often in other cities, but here it does. You might know that Place Lux on Thursdays is the place to be to do so.

Other than that, Brussels offers a very diverse array of plans for every single day of the week. Thus, there is always a good excuse to enjoy some Belgian beers in good company. These are some of the mandatory things to do at least once if you happen to be living in Brussels: “Marché de Saint Gilles” on Mondays, on Wednesdays Châtelain, on Thursdays the already mentioned Place Lux, Jeu de Balle is always a nice option for a Saturday morning, and the “marché du Gare de Midi” on Sundays is the best way possible to end the week.

Nevertheless, not everything in Brussels needs to be necessarily about fun and enjoying Belgian beer. Indeed, there is another different way to get to know people of different nationalities and from very different backgrounds. Despite the fact that this second way of doing so is not as known, and might appear far less attractive, I would say that it is as least as rewarding as the one I mentioned in the beginning. This second way of mastering Brussels is no other than volunteering.

Brussels, as any other capital in Europe, has lots of people struggling everyday to get some food or a warm place where to spend the night. In this regard, there are several websites demanding volunteers who are willing to help. Among them, the one I like the most is Serve the City. This NGO has already been working in Brussels for almost 10 years and is formed by nice group of international youngsters. In Serve the City, everything is pretty straightforward. You contact them. You meet them. You help. It is as easy as it reads. There’s no need at all to fill out annoying nonsense forms or papers and they are really flexible, so as long as you are committed and you are willing to help, everything should work. On top of that they have several different projects in many of the Communes of Brussels, with so many options almost every single day.

So don’t put the blame on your poor French skills or on your insane working schedule. Those are both lame excuses. I am pretty sure that you’ll be able to find a nice project where you can help in that dead slot of your agenda.

It’s time to discover and to improve this other reality of Brussels, move!


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