The easiest explanation is:
VICO = Vivienda compartida = Shared House
What does that mean?
When we are talking about VICOs, we refer to it as Viviendas Compartidas. That’s Spanish and means shared houses. It’s a house in which various people live together and share the social areas, like the balcony or the kitchen. They won’t share only this, but also experiences and time. How do these experiences look like? They are activities with friends of the VICO: to cook, to travel, to party, to talk about the world and a lot more!
VICOs en Colombia
In Colombia, the concept of VICOs or roomies is not so common like in Europe or the states. The reason are cultural differences, so it is usual for a Colombian to live longer with his parents. It is cheaper and the child is safe in the arms of the parents. But there is a shift towards VICOs, more and more people choose not to live with their parents. A lot of them because they must go to bigger cities like Medellín and Bogotá to study. FOM wants to help that persons find the perfect VICO for them.
In our time here in Medellín we had some serious problems to find a good VICO. That´s because the information and the webpages are very bad structured. Although we speak Spanish, we had trouble to find something good. So our aim is to help people find a VICO.
Coliving = Responsibilities.
The liberties when living in a VICO are big, but at the same time you take over more responsibilities. Colivining or Convivencia in Spanish is a balance between these two. You live together with different people, that is very nice and at the same time complicated. The easiest example: After everyone having invited some people over, the kitchen looks really dirty, but none wants to get up and clean this up. It would be great if everyone would do it, but finally one person does it.
This person is mad at the rest of the VICO? Yes.
But will this person hate the rest and will never talk to them again? No, because the next time the other ones remember that they didn´t clean and that this time is their turn.
In a VICO you will shape yourself as a human being, you learn from other persons about new cultures and at the same time it makes you more independent. You have to talk to the other ones if there is same problem so you can solve this problem together. Your parents aren’t there to help you.
That’s what living in a VICO is about: It is a co-living with all its benefits and disadvantages. There will be problems, but that is only a small part of the whole. At the end, when you came home after a long day of university, you will be glad when there are people you can talk to, cook with and forget the stress. That´s what we mean with VICO.
Where does the concept come from?
VICOs aren’t anything new, but in Colombia not so usual. For example, in Germany it is called WG or Wohngemeinschaft. In English Roomies, shared flats, roommates. In France the name is colocation o coloc. But as we are in Colombia we stay with VICO. If you are lloking for a roomie in Medellín or a shared flat or a piso compartido, you are looking for a VICO. You don’t share only your apartment, but also a part of your life.