New international students always get appointed a student accommodation, but they have to leave it after a year. The International office (IO) says that these “renewers” without a student accommodation can always ask for help, but that they cannot guarantee an accommodation for every student.
Original text: Joep Dorna
Translation: Lorin Posthumus
Sleeping on a campsite, on a hotelboat or on your teacher’s couch. This is the reality for some of the international students in Groningen due to the shortage of student accommodations. Luckily, in Nijmegen, things are organized a lot better. All of the 1,100 international students, if they registered on time, got appointed a student accommodation for their first year in Nijmegen. When they decide to stay another year, they will have to search for an accommodation themselves. This appears to be a very difficult task for some of them.
A hundred messages
Malik* is one of these international students who does not have a room yet. He does not want us to give his real name because he is afraid it might have a negative influence on his search for a place to stay. ‘I’m currently in my second year’, he says. ‘At first, I lived in an SSH&-accommodation, but you get a one-year contract only because of which I had to move out during summer. It is impossible to move to another SSH&-accommodation because the waiting lists are simply too long.’
Malik is staying with a friend at the moment, but he wants to move out as soon as possible. ‘I contact everyone who put a room up for rent on the internet, basically. But I have not had a single answer yet.’ According to Malik, that problem is caused by the fact that a lot of student housings do not allow international students to live there. ‘They all prefer Dutch students. It is incredibly hard to get a room anywhere for international students.’
The IO says that the troubles concerning this matter is known, but according to them every students who finds themselves in this kind of situation can knock on their doors. ‘Of course we want that every international student has a good place to stay’, says the IO-head Wessel Meijer. ‘but we cannot always help the “renewers”, as we call them. When secondyear students register at our office they are put on the bottom of a waiting list which is meant for international student housing, simply because we prioritize those who just arrive.’ There is a waiting ist of approximately 20 renewers who do not have an accommodation yet at this moment.
The IO, however, does guarantee to ‘always keep on searchin’ for those internationals without a place to stay. Meijer: ‘renewers who do not have a room yet and are completely clueless as to what to do are advised to contact us.’ Last week, the office has been able to appoint 15 student accommodations to those renewers in trouble. ‘We were able to help the distressing causes known at our office this way.’
Malik says he has not heard anything from the office yet, despite asking for help a month and a half ago. ‘I filled in a form with my contact information and my wish for an accommodation. They did not contact me after that.’ He has a new plan now in his quest for a place to stay. ‘I think I will just drop by the accommodations which are put online. Maybe showing my face will help because my hopes of getting a room just using my messages is not very high.’
*Malik is a fake name, his real name is known with the editors