In 2021, Carola Bovi returned to her parents’ home in Turin, Italy, after completing a graduate degree at the University of Sussex in England. She had been studying conflict security and development, a topic she became interested in after living in Hong Kong during the 2019 pro-democracy protests, and began applying for jobs in the United States and Europe.
Hearing no responses, she poured her energy into volunteer work, and in March, she began helping a family friend, Rachel Brooks, who ran an after-school English program for local students, and also started lending a hand at an abbey in Cavagnolo that was housing Ukrainian refugees.
“I was like, ‘OK, tell me what to do,’” Ms. Bovi said, of herwork at the abbey. “I’ve studied this in school, but I don’t have concrete experience.”
She took on the job of managing volunteers during the day, and in the afternoons,drove to Ms. Brooks’s home 30 minutes away from the abbey to teach English to local Italian students. Some nights, she returned to the abbey for movie nights or basketball games. “I was volunteering 16 to 20 hours a day, just 23-year-old me managing something like 500 volunteers who were helping out in this mega-crisis,” she said.
And then one afternoon, Ms. Brooks received a call from the United Nations official while working at the abbey — Ms. Bovi had listed heras a reference on an internship application. Ms. Bovi soon had an offer letter in her inbox; the U.N. wanted her to start in New York in June.
While Ms. Bovi was excited about her new position, the issue of where she was going to live loomed as her flight drew closer. She needed a fully furnished apartment, since her internship would last just six months. “I had pretty much zero plan,” she said with a laugh.
One day during a break at the abbey, she began searching online forhousing opportunities in New York, and stumbled upon a company called Outpost Club, which rentsfully furnished rooms in “co-living” apartment buildings that it owns and manages. An urgent issue involving the volunteers arose, though, so she was not able to finish an application to Outpost, but her mother sent her a link to the same website later that week.
“My mom is the kind of person who will pressure you to do something and also do it on the side, just in case,” Ms. Bovi said. A few days later, she received a call from Outpost.
The company’s arrangement was ideal for Ms. Bovi’s needs. They offered to place her in a three-bedroom apartment in a building inBedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. For $1,394 a month, plus a flat rate for utilities, she would have her own furnished room but share a living room and kitchen withroommates.
The building had laundry facilities and a rooftop space, and Outpost provided her with a 3-D tour of the room, which helped assuage Ms. Bovi’s fears that the room might be too small and without closet space. The company would also provide cleaning supplies, and a cleaning service would take care of the common spaces each week.
$1,394 | Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Carola Bovi, 24
Occupation: United Nations intern
Getting to know the city: “I really like walking around — it’s my favorite way to visit new neighborhoods. Every time I walk into Little Italy, it cracks me up — I love it, but it’s like going back in time. They caught the essence of Italy from 100 years ago and made it modern.”
On her stuffed snail: “Gary was a gift from my boyfriend. He said, ‘You need a snail to accompany you.’ Before that, I had a llama. I have to give them equal opportunity to travel the world — Gary visits New York, the llama saw the U.K.”
All Ms. Bovi had to bring from Italy was her wardrobe, as well as a stuffed-toy snail named Gary.“My roommates at uni would say, ‘Your room is so minimalist!’” she said, referring to her college days. “But I am so done with having to pack up all those little tiny things every year.”
Once she has her own longer-term apartment, she will pay more attention to decorating; for now, she prioritizes a tchotchke-free environment.
Ms. Bovi also lucked out with her roommates. One of them is Dustin Eakes, a property manager for Outpost buildings. Living with him helps Ms. Bovi tap into the greater Outpost social network — for example, there are regular parties hosted at different houses. Mr. Eakes also offers Ms. Bovi a bit of stability, as Outpost renters are often short-term, producing a sort of apartment roulette. They have made a ritual of watching shark documentaries with their third roommate, Lisa Rodriguez, who just moved from Pennsylvania; the trio also tracks recent shark attacks on a board they have mounted on the living-room wall.
After beginning her internship at the U.N., Ms. Bovi learned that most interns stay in a house full of other U.N. interns — somehow, she had not become aware of that during the application process. However, she is grateful to have a bit of extra work-life balance.
“The U.N. intern house is cool because you have all these contacts at the different headquarters,” Ms. Bovi explained. “But I’m glad I can step away from work at the end of the day. Seeing people who work at different things and are staying here for different lengths of time, it’s cool.”
For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.