Together with student housing corporation Idealis, Wageningen University will explore whether they can offer a room to sandwich-PhDs for three months after their arrival in Wageningen. The university wants to improve the precarious housing situation of this group of PhD students.
© Herman van Ommen
According to a recent survey by the Wageningen PhD Council, many PhD-students are facing difficulties in finding a room in Wageningen after arrival. The sandwich-PhDs, who are doing their thesis research partly in Wageningen and partly in their home country and who need a short stay several times during their study, are especially having problems finding a room or apartment. Moreover, several PhD students from Asia and Africa have small grants and cannot afford to rent a room on the private market in Wageningen.
The Wageningen PhD Council organised a meeting about the housing situation of PhD students on 6 March. During this discussion some international PhDs stated that their first few months in Wageningen were the most critical period for them because they were still unfamiliar with the organisations and networks in Wageningen to find a room. As a result of this meeting, the university and Idealis are examining the plan to give the sandwich-PhD a temporary room for three months. After this period, the students would have to look for another room in Wageningen.
Apart from this, the university also wants to give better instructions about the student accommodations to the chair group of the university, according to Frank Bakema, manager of Education & Student Affairs. ‘The chair groups lack knowledge about where to go for a room and which rules and procedures the students have to deal with to register for a room. We can improve a lot with better information.’
70 to 80 international sandwich PhDs come to Wageningen each year, this from a total of 300 PhD-students. According to the enquiry of the PhD Council, 40 PhDs have no room at the moment and have to stay with other students. Bakema: ‘I would like to receive the names of these students because I will have a room for them the next day. We have empty rooms at the moment in our student accommodations in the ‘Scheikundegebouw’ and at the former military compound in Ede, so there is room for PhD-students.’
Bakema thinks that the university should also give better information about living in the Netherlands. ‘Some PhD student want to live in a house of their own and want to bring their family with them, but you won’t find an apartment with three rooms for 300 euros in the Netherlands. Living in Wageningen is expensive. We don’t expect that a forty-year-old PhD-student wants to stay on a corridor with 10 younger students, so together with the student housing organisation, we will look for suitable rooms for this group of students.’