International housing: still room for improvement

| Michaela Nesvarova

Reportedly, many international students in cities such as Utrecht, Amsterdam and Groningen have been struggling to find accommodation. The student-housing situation in Enschede is better than in other cities, but there is still room for improvement.

Photo by: Rikkert Harink

With the start of the new academic year, (not only) international students have been searching for accommodation. Not all of them are succeeding. Is it especially difficult for international students at the UT to find suitable accommodation? And is the university easing their search?

Guaranteed housing for non-EU citizens

‘We want to support everyone – students, employees and guests – in finding appropriate housing,’ says Amir Ametovic from the UT’s Strategy and Policy department. ‘However, the number of students is continuously growing and we only have a certain number of rooms available.’

For this reason, the University of Twente now guarantees accommodation only for students and researchers from outside of the European Union. ‘All visa students are guaranteed to have housing for one year,’ clarifies Ametovic. ‘We create a housing offer for them and they are free to accept it or reject it. If it comes to students from within the EU, we can currently only help them to find housing by referring them to other parties, which we collaborate with.’

Problem smaller than in other cities

‘This year, we were able to offer housing to all visa students and most of our offers got accepted,’ continues the International Housing coordinator. ‘To our knowledge, also the majority of EU students managed to get accommodation. Of course, there are always a few students who don’t find a room, but the number of these cases in Enschede is certainly not as large as in other cities.’

What are the main reasons these students have troubles finding a place to live? Unrealistic expectations might be the answer in some cases. ‘Some students start searching too late, some have too high standards and a budget that is too low,’ says Amir Ametovic. ‘For instance, they might expect to find housing for €100 a month because that is normal in their country. I also remember we offered housing to a student, but he refused because it was 25 minutes by bike away from the campus and he thought it was too far.’

Housing for everyone

‘In either case, there is still room for improvement,’ thinks Ametovic. ‘In the future, we want to try to create housing offers for everyone. We are working together with the municipality of Enschede, housing association De Veste and other parties in order to ensure housing for all (international) students and international staff-members and guests.’