The Commute: Despite being the administrative capital of the European Union, Brussels is a surprisingly small city relative to its political importance and population size. Four subway lines, seventeen trams, and fifty bus lines serve an area smaller than DC, meaning getting around town is quick and painless without a car; even more so when all locations of interest are so close together in the city center. CRA’s office is located on the city’s most beautiful tree-lined avenue (which our top floor terrace overlooks), leading away from the historic city center towards Brussel’s very own ‘Central Park.’
For the reasons above, getting to work is effortless and quite pleasant even by foot. Most of the junior staff walk to work in under 15 minutes, with affordable housing all over the city—one of Brussels’ big perks.
Lunch Spots: The Brussels office is located on one of the city’s main avenues, so lunch spots around the office are countless and varied. Ever heard of Belgian beer, waffles, chocolates, and French fries? Brussels is littered with fry shacks and cafés, where locals will go to get fried meat sandwiches and wraps, and of course fries. This city takes its food and drink very seriously, and also manages to faithfully reproduce and add its own twist to international cuisine. In the neighborhood (not more than a 10 minute walk away) you will find three of the city’s best burger joints, its best Japanese food, traditional Mexican, Peruvian fast-food, pizza joint, countless salad bars, and fantastic near middle-eastern food.
And if one day the decision fatigue sets in, the office is equipped with fridges and a microwave, and stocked full of free snack foods, and free Nespresso coffee capsules. So why not enjoy our lunch room’s view from the top floor?
Dress Code: Just as at CRA’s other offices, our official dress code is business casual—that means the usual collared shirt, dress pants, and presentable shoes for the guys, and suit pants or skirts for the gals. Unlike at other CRA offices however, we rarely entertain clients at our location, work in a somewhat academic environment, and half our senior staff themselves seem not so keen on collared shirts unless necessary. End result, casual Friday turns into casual all-week, usually. This isn’t officially encouraged, yet not officially discouraged either—if you get what I mean. You will probably find yourself overdressing in the beginning and eventually catch on to the more relaxed dress code, and what days constitute a strict, albeit temporary return to business casual.
Social Outings: Brussels’ nightlife is primarily famous for its plenty of very good choices of food and drink. Public events and entertainment can be expected on Fridays and weekends, but Thursday evenings are known as the EU institutions’ interns’ night out. Hundreds of young professionals crowd every bar in the EU district, and provide for a fun night every week. The Brussels office does not organize many official office-wide social events, however given that we are only 10 or so permanent staff we often organize lunches and after work drinks on the fly. Periodically, we all are also invited to welcome lunches for new joiners, be it for interns or new managers. Finally, a couple of times a year both the Brussels office Antitrust & Competition Economics Practice travels to and from London to enjoy a social outings and nice dinners.
“Try & Hire” internship experience at CRA Zurich amid the COVID-19 pandemic
José Bila is an associate in the Life Sciences Practice based in Zurich. He joined CRA in June 2020 as part of the Swiss “Try & Hire” program, where...