Nieuws - 12 juli 2011

How are things now with... Catalina?

In this final week, we will be looking back at the academic year; how did things end up for some of the people featured in the news? Today, it’s the turn of Colombian student Catalina Angel.

Catalina (second from the right) and fellow sufferers in the Hof van Wageningen, October 2010
Last September, Catalina emerged as the spokesperson for the international students complaining openly about their accommodation: crammed together in Hof van Wageningen hotel rooms without Internet, with poor showering and cooking facilities, all for a high rent. There was some improvement in conditions following the threat of a hunger strike.
How are things now, Catalina?
'Good. In November I found a flat in Wageningen with three other international students, and we are now enjoying living there. I don't want to live in accommodation run by Idealis any more.'
How do you feel when you look back at the welcome you got in the Netherlands?
'I have mixed feelings. I think Wageningen is creating a bad impression by giving students that kind of welcome. Most international students I know did not achieve very good results in the first period because the accommodation problems cost them so much time and energy. On the other hand, the situation did lead to a lot of friendships because we were all in this difficult situation together.'
Have the University and Idealis learnt from this?
'I doubt it. I read recently that in future international students will get a guaranteed bed rather than a guaranteed room. If you think about it, this means they can put you up in virtually any circumstances they like.'
Is that wise?
'Of course not. Now all the stories about the appalling accommodation are circulating in the countries the students come from, which is damaging the University's reputation. That is a pity, as Wageningen is one of the best universities to do your degree at.