After our “Meet a Member” series, we’re happy to introduce our new member interviews segment: “Cohabs Stories”.
Imagine, you arrive in your new Cohabs house and meet your future best friend, business partner or fall madly in love with a housemate. That’s what happened to the people we’re introducing in this series: they met through Cohabs and made something great out of it.
So, on this International Day of Friendship, meet Chloé, Florian, Lucas and Tim, four strangers who met at Cohabs Ma Campagne 63 and became inseparable!
Could you introduce yourselves?
Lucas: I’m Lucas, 24, and I come from Nantes, in France. I studied engineering and used to work in the automotive industry, but then I started wanting to work on environmental topics. I found a job that suited me in Belgium and that’s how I arrived in Brussels! I heard about Cohabs through one of your members that was leaving the house. I just left for three months, but I’ll be back in September. Could you keep a room at Ma Campagne for me? (laughs)
Tim: I’m Tim, 28, and arrived in Brussels in February 2018. I had studied business in Paris, then lived in Madrid for a while, then again in Paris for a brief period. I knew I didn’t want to live there and my company offered to transfer me to Brussels. It wasn’t really planned, it just arrived. I already have a very good friend living in Brussels, at the Ma Campagne Cohabs house! So I didn’t hesitate a second and I joined Cohabs. No regrets! I left a few weeks ago to work as a supply manager for Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Chloé: I arrived in Brussels, in Cohabs Ma Campagne 63, in 2018 through a VIE program and found Cohabs by chance. Then I left for a Master’s degree in Ireland, and I came back to Ma Campagne. At the moment I work in digital marketing in Brussels. Oh and I come from Haute-Savoie and I’m 26!
Florian: I’m Florian, 25, and I come from a very (not) famous place called La Crèche. It’s close to La Rochelle, in France as well. I arrived in Brussels almost two years ago for work. I am a consultant as an engineer in renewable energy. When I got hired by my company, I mentioned that I knew nobody and wanted to meet people and loved house sharing. One of the employees there had been living in a Cohabs house so he recommended it to me and two days later I was moving in! It was so fast and super practical.
Can you tell us the story of how you met?
Chloé: I first met Tim at a Cohabs Halloween party, actually he was dressed as a woman!
Tim: The first impression is always the right one! (laughs)
Chloé: So we had a few parties together before he moved into my house, Ma Campagne, in January 2019. Then we met Flo in August 2019 because he moved in just a month before I left for Ireland. Now it’s been almost another year that we lived together. I also met Lulu at a few parties before we became housemates.
When did you realize you wanted to be friends?
Tim: We didn’t really have a choice honestly! (laughs). More seriously, Flo and I got along directly thanks to our love of partying! Chloé and I lived 9 months together, then again a whole year, and we became friends over time. Same with Lucas! I think that everything is intertwined, we all met at different times and quickly realized we were a great team. We had the same expectations when it comes to house-sharing and partying. Also, we love to be on the move all the time and did a lot of activities together.
Chloé: I mean, it really was thanks to beer, to be honest. (laughs)
Florian: The lockdown also brought us closer together. We stayed together a lot and really learned to know each other during that time. So of course partying was important, but this specific time made us realize we could rely on each other. It wasn’t an easy period, and when one of us was down, the three others were there to pick him/her up.
Lucas: Yes we were quite united and would support the other ones’ initiatives.
How did Cohabs influence that? What was the role of Cohabs in that?
Chloé: the events organized by Cohabs and the monthly brunch really helped!
Lucas: During the lockdown, there were also some challenges and activities proposed in the Cohabs app, it really created a bond.
Tim: Also, I think that Cohabs appeals to a certain type of person. We’re all open-minded, willing to share our house with 11 other people, so that’s the first filter that ensures cohesion in the house. Laure (Ndlr: our Community Manager at that time, now VP of Customer Experience) did a really good job at choosing profiles that were compatible to live together. Cohabs was really a facilitator to ensure that balance and a smooth cohabitation.
Lucas: We also really appreciate the effort that you put in to increase diversity and social inclusion! It was really positive to have Hassan live with us for example (Ndlr: Hassan is from Iranian Kurdistan and is part of our joint program with Singa to help newcomers settle in Brussels through shared housing). Also, before Cohabs we were already pretty much involved in various actions to help out refugees. However, Cohabs suggested a few solidarity activities and I think it also brought us together through our shared values.
Florian: It’s funny to observe that we really influence each other! We really made each other evolve.
What’s your best memory together since you’ve met?
(they ALL laugh)
Tim: Our cycling trip in Wallonia to visit abbeys! That’s such a good memory. We were 9 and left for three days with our tents and our bikes and did some camping, visited abbeys like Dinant and Maredsous,… It was so nice!
Lucas: We had the brilliant idea to do that in October in the rain and to leave a tent open though…
Chloé: Our Christmas 2020 little weekend getaway was also super fun! We rented a beautiful house in the Ardennes with all the housemates. Tim took a bath at 4 am and forgot to turn off the water, genius.
Florian: Every week, we also do dinners all together with the housemates. It’s always a super nice moment and the four of us really tried to be there every time. Usually, one person suggests a meal, and 2-3 other housemates help out with the cooking and all.
What are you doing now?
Florian: I’m staying 2 more months in Brussels then, normally, I’m going on a one-year trip to Southeast Asia! I already have my plane ticket to Jakarta. After that, I should come back to Europe, probably even Brussels, but nothing is set yet.
Chloé: I started a new job three weeks ago! So I’m staying here.
Lucas: I’m coming back to Brussels in September! I wanted to take three months off and go on a long cycling trip, I just got back. I’d like to stay in Brussels for at least 2 more years, then we’ll see.
Tim: I should be staying in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until mid-December to finish my humanitarian mission there. Then I should go back to Brussels for a few months, then probably go back. I’d like to do that for the next years: leave for six to nine months, then come back for three, then leave again… Hopefully, I’ll have some good friends to accommodate me!
What are your next projects together?
Florian: We should all meet in Indonesia, right guys!? (laughs) More seriously, with Tim in Congo, me in Indonesia, the Covid situation… Nothing’s planned, but in a nutshell, we’ll continue to see each other whenever we can and no matter what.
One last word about coliving?
Florian: Do it. Even if you’ve never lived in a shared house. Of course, you have to be open-minded and able to be a bit flexible with your standards. Cohabs does a great job at matching people with the right house.
Chloé: I remember I didn’t want to live with more than four people at first!
Lucas: When it’s well organized, that you have the right infrastructure and that there are nice events organized, everything is easier. Also, when you arrive in a new city not knowing anyone, it’s the best way to build an amazing network.
Tim: I have one last thing to add. Guys, you know that my life is different now and I was really looking forward to this call. I’m so happy to see you, it’s really a breath of fresh air to hear your three voices and to see that bench we used to sit on for so many dinners and parties. I love it here, but I miss you so much!
You’re interested in joining your own new family in Brussels? Let’s have a chat together, apply to join here!