Student union AKKU has looked into the housing of international students at Radboud University (RU) and University of Applied Sciences (HAN) in Nijmegen and Arnhem. According to a report presented recently, students in Nijmegen are generally secure in their accommodation, but there is room for improvement.
Original text: Vincent Veerbeek
Translation: Aafke van Pelt
AKKU decided to instigate this investigation following commotion surrounding the living situation of international students elsewhere in the Netherlands last summer. In Nijmegen things do not seem to be so bad, but the student union was still curious to see what the exact situation was. The investigation was primarily focused on measures taken by institutions concerned with housing, such as the SSH& and the RU’s International Office (IO). Results show that about forty percent of international students are provided with housing by the housing department of the IO, which cooperates with student housing provider SSH&. Moreover, the IO stimulates students from Nijmegen who are going abroad to sublet their rooms. Students’ complaints are primarily about practical matters such as rent prices and the facilities that are present.
Despite these predominantly positive findings, AKKU also cites some issues. One of these is for example a lack of integration since international students often live separated from Dutch students. Another problem the student union anticipates has to do with the fact that ‘short-stay contracts’ are heavily promoted – these are mostly meant for students who are here for one semester or a year and they offer fewer possibilities for students who are following their full study in Nijmegen. There is a chance problems will arise given the increasing number of foreign students who are doing their full studies here. Another risk is that many students find their housing through the private sector. In general, international students are not always as headstrong as need be, especially if the rental agreements are in Dutch. AKKU’s primary advice is improved consultation between housing organizations and parties representing the wants and needs of international students, even if they are not directly concerned with housing.
In conclusion, the report shows that despite the fact that Nijmegen scores above average, there are still a considerable number of issues which need attention and there is definitely some room for improvement. The report partially confirms the statements made to ANS last September by Wessel Meijer, head of the IO.