Living Abroad: An American in the heart of Europe

Kay Jebelli speaking in Brussels

Kayvan Hazemi Jebelli (Kay) is a lawyer at Hogan Lovells in Brussels, Belgium and one of King’s International Alumni Leaders.

Why did you decide to study in the UK, and why did you choose King’s?

I did an LL.M. in competition law, 2008-2009, because I knew I wanted to specialise and thought the best way to launch my career would be with a strong academic foundation. King's has an amazing reputation, and for good reason. Not only did King’s have too many competition law courses for me to choose from, but our lessons were supplemented by visiting lecturers from the highest levels of government and private practice. I enjoyed it so much that I stayed an extra year as a research assistant.

That all sounds very serious, did you still have fun?

I did! I tried to make the most of it, and threw myself into student groups. I remember awkwardly auditioning for a production of ‘The Visit’, by Friedrich Dürrenmatt – I didn't get called back. But I did get involved with the Postgraduate Law Society. We still have reunions every once in a while and I love going to a new city and meeting up with friends from my student days. We were a very international group.

How did you end up in Brussels?

I came here for the first time for an interview, got the job and have lived here ever since. I have considered moving back to London or to California, where I grew up, but this is the place to be for what I want to do. I've got such a strong network of friends here, it would be very hard to leave now.

Is there a strong King’s alumni community in Belgium?

There is. There are so many alumni who studied politics, social science or law who are working here in or around the EU institutions, it's incredible. I've been involved with King’s alumni in Belgium, and just last year we launched a new European & Competition Law Speakers series of events where we give a platform for alumni and professionals to share their experience and knowledge. It's great to be able to tap into that and celebrate the King’s connection.

How would you advise alumni to get involved?

Contact your local alumni representative and get involved. Tools like Facebook and LinkedIn are great. It takes a bit of effort at first, but once the ball gets rolling you'll realise that there were a lot of people just waiting for someone like you to take the initiative. Big annual events, like Duel Day and Alumni Weekend, are a great opportunity to start bringing people together.

If you'd like to get in touch with alumni in Belgium, contact alumoff@kcl.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Belgium’.