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Inadequate housing for foreign students

Foreign students in Rotterdam are forced to live in trailers, hostels or appartments that cost over 600 euros a month, writes Erasmus Magazine. It’s a sharp contrast with the big ambitions of the Erasmus University. The chairman of the university recently said that they only deliver international quality.

Other cities face similar problems. Foreign students at the University of Delft temporarily reside in a hostel in The Hague. German students in Groningen have to take care of themselves. ‘A girl emailed me that she had been sleeping in her car for three weeks already and was kind of fed up with it’, says Bob de Greef of the Groninger Studentunion. Approximately seventy students of the Wageningen University are located in Hoenderloo, which is thirty kilometres from Wageningen.

Fortunately foreign students studying at Avans don’t face these problems. ‘We have a room for every international student’, says Jacqueline Milius of the Avans International Office. Avans has an agreement with the housing associations in Den Bosch and Breda. ‘Academies tell us how many foreign students they expect and we arrange that amount of rooms.’

These rooms are only available for one year though. Foreign students who will stay in the Netherlands for more years have to search for an other room themselves after the first year. They can apply with housing associations.

It is difficult to arrange cheap housing for foreign students, states Remco de Maaijer, chairman of Kences, the overall organisation for studenthousers. ‘They have to be furnished, students have to be able to move in within a day and you never know exactly how much rooms you need.’

A lot of parties are involved in housing foreign students: housing associations, universities, city council and immigration service IND. ‘Both the demand and the problems differ per city’, says Lisa Westerveld of the Landelijke Studentenvakbond (LSVb). ‘There are cities that place Dutch students first. That leaves the trailers for foreign students.’

Remco de Maaijer of Kences thinks something has got to change soon. ‘If we go on like this the Netherlands won’t attract foreign students any longer. Which has a bad influence on the Dutch knowledge economy.’ [AvE/HOP, AR]

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