A kot à projet (kap) is an association made up of 8 to 12 students, which in addition to live together in a community housing (a kot), are carrying out a project dear to their heart.
The project usually involves organizing activities for other students and the Louvain-la-Neuve residents. Kots à projet specializes in a specific field such as culture, humanitarian issues, welfare, sport, and the protection of the environment. In addition to organizing activities, kots à projet may also provide services or educate other students to their cause. In all cases, they enable the gathering and discussion.
There are now around 130 kots à projet in Belgium, 80 are located on the site of Louvain-la-Neuve, 30 in Woluwe and 15 in Namur. In total, the kap community gathers more than 1,000 students.
Kot Erasmus (where 8 Belgian and 10 exchange students live together) welcomes international students (Erasmus, CEMS, Mercator,... ) as they arrive at the Catholic University of Louvain-La- Neuve (UCL) and acts as a resource for them throughout the academic year.
At the beginning of the semester, Kot Erasmus (KE) opens its dorm rooms to international students to stay up to 3 nights while they organize their housing for the semester/year. During this time in the debut of each semester we also organize inexpensive gatherings and dinners to support the exchange program and connect students.
Throughout the semester/year, KE organizes various events to promote friendship, demonstrate Belgian traditions, and just have a good time. In example:
Theme parties: Halloween, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick
English-French conversation tables
Country presentations by natives
If you want to live in Kot Erasmus
With 18 students living at there, Kot Eramus is one of the biggest kot à projets. We try to live as a one big happy "family", which means that we eat dinner together every evening of the week. At the beginning of each semester, the flatmates of the kot are divided in 4 mixed (Belgian + Erasmus) teams. Each team is in charge of a different household job every week (i.e. cooking dinner, washing the common dinner dishes) in order for everyone to take part in the life of the kot. We also do some team building activities like a "rallye chambre" or a weekend trip near the start of each semester.
As you've read before, we organize quite a few activities and parties with the international students in our kot. But we also take part in the "kapiste" life of Louvain-la-Neuve, which means that we regularly invite people from other kaps for an "interkap" dinner and then party with them. You should then be prepared to see your home crowded and noisy some evenings of the week. Actually, Belgian students are pretty strange – we party during the week (at least twice or three times a week) and rest during the weekend ☺.
To conclude, to live in Kot Erasmus, you should be someone who:
does NOT need to have a good French level
likes life in community and spending time with his/her flatmates
likes meeting new people and cultures
wants to discover the (really) crazy Belgian student's folklore
likes being in an international environment
likes sharing his/her own culture (especially typical food ☺)
likes organizing events and helping people
likes partying with LOTS of people
doesn't get crazy if all the dishes are not done or if the floor is a bit dirty
doesn't mind too much if the place is a bit noisy and crowded after 10 pm
If you recognize yourself in all these points, then the Kot Erasmus adventure is made for you! To apply for the Kot, just send a mail to UCL housing service (and to us too in order to let us know ☺). See you next year !
Note from a former Kot Erasmus international student
So I lived in Kot Erasmus during the Fall semester of 2015, and it was without a doubt an amazing, fun experience that was really the highlight of my exchange in Louvain-la-Neuve. While I would recommend living in the kot, I would only recommend it to people who are really interested in participating in the life of the kot. The kot is truly meant to be like a family – you eat together, you work together, you support and love your “kot mates” and they support and love you back. It’s a phenomenal experience if this sort of thing interests you. HOWEVER, if you just want your living situation to be somewhere where you go to sleep at night and would dislike having the obligation of having to work at events that the kot organizes, then the kot is NOT for you. The Belgians take the kot extremely seriously and it would be a big disappointment to them if the international students didn’t seem interested in the project of the kot. If you have any specific questions about life in the kot from the point of view as an exchange student feel free to find me on Facebook and send me a message