Wetenschap - 10 januari 2002

International students find accommodation with private landlords

International students find accommodation with private landlords

The recent shortage in accommodation usually offered by Wageningen UR to international students led to a request in the local press for people with rooms to spare. There were enough reactions to house about fifteen international students with private landlords.

One person offering room in her house is Karin Braakhuis. She has rented her attic to international students for a number of months. "The first occupant was a German girl. She spent two months here. After that we saw the advert in Wb and replied, as we were aware of the shortage in accommodation. Last Monday a couple of girls from the Czech Republic moved in here."

Radka Jelenova and Jitka Slapakova are obviously very pleased with their spacious attic accommodation. The women have a kitchen and separate sleep and living area for themselves "In the Czech Republic we live in dorms, with three persons in one room. W don't mind living here." The two Czech students arrived in November and will stay until March in Wageningen for a student exchange programme in the department of Agricultural Economics.

Before they departed for the Netherlands their university in the Czech Republic sought contact with Wageningen University. Slapakova: "In Wageningen they said that all rooms were full, but the Czech university advised us to go anyway. We were told that there were large, furnished rooms for rent." On arrival they were able to move into a flat in the Groen van Prinsterenstraat. This was an SSHW apartment, and officially reserved for a family, but they didn't come and the SSHW offered the girls the rooms instead.

However, they could only stay in the apartment until December. That meant a weekly visit to SSHW for Slapakova and Jelenova, and a growing realisation of the housing problem in Wageningen. "SSHW promised every time to arrange a room in three months, but that wasn't possible. The capacity of the university is very large and they are very friendly to foreign students, but the housing capacity in Wageningen is small," as Slapakova puts it.

Jan Harkema of the SSHW is assuming that accommodation for international students will not be a problem next academic year. But, he adds, the university must let SSHW know how many students they expect well in advance. If there are short-term gaps that need to be filled, then at least they will be able to turn to people like Braakhuis. "Of course we are not a private rental agency, but if the need arises again then we will resort to this solution. We want to help the international students where we can."

Monnique Haak

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