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Over fifty international students still without housing: 'The problem is high on the agenda'

Some international students at Saxion sleep on couches or in hotels because they cannot find a room. In Enschede it concerns approximately fifty students, in Deventer only a handful. The majority of the students who are currently looking for a room, are from the EU. In total, the new influx of internationals this year is about 800 students.

Read this article in Dutch here
Contrary to what Saxion previously stated, there actually is a housing shortage among international students. The problem is a lot smaller in numbers than at the University of Twente, according to Dionysia Loman and Marloes Buter of the International Office. Saxion, therefore, has not considered issuing a negative study advice to foreign students like UT. "We are hopeful that we will still find a solution for these students, which is very high on the agenda. You want students to focus on their studies as soon as possible, not on the search for a room."

According to them, the International Office tries to think creatively; for example, by first looking for temporary housing, or by looking in neighboring municipalities. Loman: "For students from the EU who are going to study in Enschede, it may even be possible to find accommodation across the border in Germany." Some of the students who don't have a room yet can start their studies online, but that varies per program.

The housing shortage among international students is greater than in recent years, Buter says. "Back then it was really about individuals, or people who had registered later, for example. Now the numbers are larger."

Overstressed

The housing shortage among foreign students cannot be seen in isolation from the overstressed room market in the first place. Loman: "We think that the room shortage in Enschede will only increase in the coming years in a structural way." Saxion is therefore in discussion with both the municipality, the UT and market parties to come to structural solutions, they say.

That Dutch students are not always welcoming to international students in their student house is not a new problem, according to Loman. The International Office has been hearing these stories for some time now. Loman: "That applies especially to the accommodations where ballotage is required, which is often difficult for foreign students." 

The majority of the foreign students still looking for a room are from within the EU. “All international students receive an housing offer from Saxion”, says Buter. “In the past, non-EU students were required to accept that offer, but that has been discontinued. Some of them reject the room offer from Saxion - for whatever reason – and finding themselves in trouble.”

The two call on international students who are in need of a room and have not yet reported to the International Office to do so. "We are in full swing to arranging things, and we can also be creative. For example by finding living room just across the border. Moreover, when students contact us, we will have a better scope of the problem."

Bas Klaassen

Bas Klaassen