Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The last couple days have been a little hectic. On Monday, I was told I had to vacate my current housing by Thursday. On Tuesday, I started my frantic search for a new place to live for the next 3 months.

I'd like to mention that I was aware that I was only temporarily placed in my first dorm until Thursday, and that I was told by people at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven I would need to find other permanent housing. By the information that I received from IMEC (which is a separate entity than the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), I was lead to believe that I could actually stay in the dorm permanently. Everyone else in the dorm is foreign, and everyone permanently settled there, for durations ranging from 3 to 9 months. Somewhere throughout all this housing shenanigans there was an unfortunate miscommunication.

In this INBT IRES program, I was formally enrolled at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven as a visiting scholar. This university essentially makes up the entire city. Offices, lecture halls, and whatnot are scattered all over the city, and students bike around everywhere. During the academic year, a very significant portion of the population are students. I was told by some of my colleagues at IMEC that I should expect the city to be noticeably more empty in a couple weeks, when students are finished with their final exams.

Anyway, where I'm going with this is that since I'm enrolled as a visiting scholar at the
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, I have access to their facilities and their housing services. On Tuesday I went to the housing office and picked up a list of available rooms/studios for rent. That's all the help you really get. It's the individual's responsibility to find housing once you get to Belgium. This list comprises of addresses and costs of the rooms/studios being rented or subleted from students and landlords. Wow, that was a lot of conjunctions in one sentence. Anyway, on Tuesday I sat in the housing office, googled the addresses, and began calling away. They have a dedicated phone for students to use to call places. Good thing, because the roaming charges on my phone would be been astronomical.

The rooms/studios on the list weren't very helpful for me since a lot of the rooms were unavailable until July, so my options were very limited. I got a little bit of help from the people over at IMEC, in that they provided me with websites of some local companies that rent flats (studios/efficiencies). After viewing several places, I finally settled on a studio on the east side of Leuven. Biking to IMEC from this studio should be a little less than 15 minutes, so I guess that's not bad at all.

I would have preferred to have just stayed in my initial housing. There's always people around to talk to and everyone is foreign and working at IMEC. We could all really relate to each other. Additionally, it's close to the IMEC facilities and there is a grocery store about 300 meters away. This location was just very convenient. Oh well, I've tried everything I could to stay here, but alas I'll be kicked out by the end of tomorrow and moving over to a new flat. Speaking of which, I haven't exactly figured out how I'm going to transport my suitcases. It's a 1.5 mile trek from my current location to my new studio. I don't really trust myself to ride my bike with one hand and pull my suitcase with another, although I have seen people doing this. I feel like biking around is already dangerous enough, I don't need to complicate it by dragging a weight behind me. I guess the tentative plan right now is to go to IMEC and call for a taxi to usher me around everywhere.

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