News - September 14, 2017

‘Many international students homeless’

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau,Linda van der Nat

According to the National Union of Students (LSVb) and the Groningen Students’ Union, hundreds of international students in the Netherlands are still without accommodation. The problem is most severe in the big university towns. International students in Wageningen seem to have got away lightly so far.

© Guy Ackermans

All sorts of horror stories have been coming out on Facebook and the LSVb’s Housing Hotline over the last week and a half. In one case, a British student who had been looking for a room for weeks dropped out of his university and went home. ‘The stories seem to be exceptions, but there are plenty of them in the cities with big student populations,’ writes the LSVb.

From the Groningen Students Union (GSb) too, we hear that overseas students are homeless because the higher education institutions are not doing enough to help them find accommodation. The University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences have established 100 temporary housing units, but that is not a permanent solution, says the GSb. So chairperson Sjoerd Kalisvaart urges the institutions to take action: ‘Start by making sure students have a roof over their heads. How can you focus on your studies if you don’t know where you are going to sleep?’

Last week the student housing providers’ umbrella organization, Kences, announced that the shortage of accommodation for international students is probably smaller than it was. Director Ardin Mourik says there are still big problems in Utrecht and the big cities but there are ‘fewer extreme cases’.

The room shortage in Wageningen mainly affects Dutch first-years. Nearly 40 percent of the Dutch students who want a room had not found one yet during the AID. The figure for international students is 10 percent.

Student housing provider Idealis says that as far as it know, there are no international WUR students without a roof over their heads. Spokesperson Marisca Wind; ‘All the international students sent to us from WUR are catered for. And we haven’t heard any tales of international students who are still homeless or have gone home.