Student - November 14, 2010

Making way for St. Nicholas

The last foreign students left their temporary accommodation in the Wing at the Hof van Wageningen hotel on Friday. Not that the accommodation shortage is over. But the contract was.

Friday 12 November: the last of the foreign students staying in the Wing are packing their bags. They hit the headlines last month with their protest against what they saw as poor living conditions. The students have not had long to enjoy the improvements made as a result of their campaign, because their time at the Wing was up today. A more illustrious guest is moving in: Saint Nicholas is to occupy the wing and will hand out gifts to children from a real four poster bed.

I'll survive
Most of the students are moving to the Brink Residence, the other temporary accommodation complex offered by the Hof van Wageningen hotel, about 400 metres down the road. Frank Nonhebel, coordinator of the stopgap housing, is helping the international students to move. They are not all happy with their new accommodation, he has discovered. One student burst into tears this morning when she saw her new room. She wanted to go home when she saw that she was going to have to share a room again.
The makeshift cupboards and curtains partitioning the bedrooms make the rooms dark and gloomy, says Nonhebel. But a German student who has just moved rooms within the Brink Residence is stoical. 'It's not perfect, but I'll survive.' And some of the students are cheerful. One of them is moving into a room on the Haarweg and has just spoken to his new flatmates. 'They are OK'.

Long wait
Once the Wing students move in, there will be 133 foreign students in stopgap housing at the Brink Residence. There are a further 63 VHL students in rooms at Landal Green Parks in Hoenderloo. This time last year all the foreign students had found a room of their own; this year there are still 200 students on the waiting list. And the waiting times are long. Student housing provider Idealis has more than ten rooms available every week as graduating foreign students vacate their rooms.
The rental contract with Landal in Hoenderloo expires on 17 December. At that point, the VHL students who do not have a room will come to the Brink Residence too. And there will still be new international students arriving. Nonhebel expects eight next week, 14 in December and 60 or 70 in January. They will need a roof over their heads too.
So the likelihood of the number of foreign students in stopgap housing going down in the next few months looks small. The university has extended the rent on the Brink Residence until the end of February. A maximum of 180 students can be housed there. Initially, the university hoped that all the students would have a permanent room by Christmas.  

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