Student - October 10, 2018

First-year students exchange train for mediocre room

Albert Sikkema

Many of the first-year students who were still looking for a dorm room during the AID have found something since, as was revealed by a small poll done by Resource. These are often temporary and mediocre rooms, but they’re still better than nothing.

Jonatan den Haan’s garden shed. © Jonatan den Haan

Students Soshanna Blaauw and Martijn Visser were both still searching for a dorm room in Wageningen during the AID. Blaauw stayed over with friends for a bit, while Visser set up a tent on a camping near Wageningen and lived in a trailer for a month. Both have found a temporary room since. Blaauw: ‘I am subletting until the end of November. I will have two interviews in the next few weeks.’ Visser has found lodgement for a bit longer: nine months. ‘I am safe for the moment and can focus on studying.’

Jonatan den Haan is urgently seeking a new room. During the AID, he had found an eight-square-metre garden shed in Wageningen for three months. On 1 October, he is still in that shed. ‘The size is not even the biggest problem, to be honest. I have no running water, so I have to do my dishes in the shower. And lately, it has been getting colder at night; my little heater cannot keep up with it.’

But some first-year students get lucky. Jeroen Theelen still had not found anything by late August and had to travel almost seven hours a day from his parental home in Grashoek (Northern Limburg) to Wageningen. It made it impossible to follow lectures at the university. But luckily, he found a room in Ede just in time. ‘It isn’t ideal, but it’s obviously much better than all that commuting.’ Theelen found a permanent room in a private house. He had gone through six interviews before he found this room.

I hear more people complain about the room they have than about not having a room.
Kalle Michielsen

Other first-year students keep commuting. Like Kalle Michielsen, who had to travel for 2½ hours a day during the AID from his parental home in Elst (Gelderland). And he still does. Travelling takes a lot of time, but he is now saving money by not having a room. ‘The most annoying aspect is that I can’t join my friend for an evening out in Wageningen.’ He will try to find a room again in December/January, when the housing market will offer more options.

Michielsen does notice that the dorm room situation is not as bad among his fellow students as it seemed during the AID. ‘I hear more people complain about the room they have than about not having a room. Like the ones who found a temporary room in Ede, on the Kazernelaan, where they have to share a kitchen with 70 students.’

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