If you watched the news, you’ve probably heard about the problem of student housing in the netherlands. Maastricht has severe problems to get room for all of their students, while in Groningen people had to live in a giant tent. But how is the situation in Enschede? This is the campus of the university of Twente. Right now we have 10.000 students studying at the UT. About 2500 of these are living on campus. The houses on campus are owned by three different external housing providers. De Veste, who owns about 2000 rooms, of which almost all are taken. Camelot, the new housing provider that owns the Hogekamp, has 445 rooms of which 150 are taken. And lastly, Logica, who owns 24 rooms. These rooms are specifically for first and second year ATLAS students. But okay, that’s nice and all, but you might wonder: how do I find a room then? Well, the UT has launched a new platform in the beginning of this year, called Roomspot. This is a collaboration between the UT, Saxion, De Veste, Stichting Jongeren Huisvesting Twente and the municipality Enschede. The idea is to have all housing offered at one location. De Veste and SJHT both post their offers here. You can register on this website for free and it will give you a complete overview of available rooms, studios and appartements. It also contains a locked, seperate part specifically for international students that have a VISA. This part also contains the rooms that Camelot offers in the Hogekamp. Students with a VISA are guaranteed a room in their first year of studying. Then, what about costs? The costs for rooms on campus heavily depend on the housing provider. While the costs for De Veste are on average around 300 euros for shared housing, the costs for solitary living can be more expensive. Camelot’s rooms cost more on average and require a larger safety deposit. Logica’s prices are similair to De Veste’s. However the pricing for student housing in Enschede is considerably lower than for the rest of the Netherlands. So, what is our situation concerning housing? How difficult is it to find a room here? How do you applie for a room? And does it matter whether you speak Dutch or not? You’ll see in this video. What does the University Council do regarding to the housing problem? It has been discussed last consultation meeting, where we touched upon the recent news around Camelot, and the situation around housing in general. The general conception is that it’s a responsibility of the university. However, it’s not a direct responsibility. Since we are not own houses, but rather work together with partners. They can point out certain things, for example set some conditions, give some advice, However in the end it’s always the decision of the partner we’re cooperating with. I am program manager housing, that means that we composed the housing policy in March 2017. In that document were all kinds of activities, proceedings and goals we wanted to realize concerning housing. And I was asked to manage that. The policy says that we want to help everybody find a room, but we can’t guarantee it to everybody. So we made a cut. All students with a VISA are guaranteed a room for the first year. We try to help all European and national students by creating enough rooms and possibilities. You used to live on campus, did you find it difficult to find a room here? Yes, I asked the organisation that’s taking care of houses here, and they rejected me for a couple of months, but finally they had a room available for me. But it was untill I was already here, so I had to look for another place to live before I moved to the campus. I’m Europian and the rooms here that were furnished, are for international students and not Europian people. I was really lucky. I signed in for one of the rooms in the Box, and I got in through lottery. One in 160. At first I wanted to live with other students as well, but when the time came closer I also started looking for individual rooms. I sent around twelve mails, and that’s not even that much. I heard people who sent 40 or so, and didn’t even get a room. I got a lot of personal complaints as well, if I could discuss it or push it forward. We discussed it in the University Council and we put that in the consultation meeting and we forwarded it to the CVB. The university truely recognises the problems, knows about the supply and demand issues we have, and they are also working on providing qualitative and quantitative housing. However again, it’s constraint within the collaborations with the partners we have, since we don’t have own housing. It was difficult for me to get a room on campus, while I was back home I applied for a couple of rooms via Roomspot. So after applying, I had to send an e-mail convincing them why I wanted to be part of the house. Having done all that, I haven’t heard from them, I was a bit worried. And then I had to get to the Netherlands. So, upon my arrival I went to the student services and told them that I applied for rooms and haven’t heard back from any of them. Then the lady spoke to the housing officer, and the next minute she comes back and gave me a room. I was just lucky. Because I had a couple of friends who searched for weeks. You sent e-mails, but why do you think it is that people don’t reply? I wouldn’t know. What I did was just sending an e-mail that I wanted to be part of the appartement. But maybe I should’ve written something to convince them, I didn’t do that, I just went straigh to the point. When I came in I realised I was supposed to tell them what my hobby’s and habbits are. That’s probably why I did not get a response from them. In terms of housing the Student Union makes sure the students voices are heard. There are really a lot of different policies within the UT. Ofcourse we are not directly involved in the housing policy, that’s the UT’s jurisdiction. But we do try to advise on that. Are there certain opinions that you hear a lot from students? Well ofcourse, we just got a new building on campus. So ofcourse there’s a lot of comments associated with that. We also hear questions all the time about what the easiest way is to find a house. A lot of international students have difficulties finding rooms in Dutch houses. We are looking in to the reasons for this. But in general in the Netheralnds I think it’s a problem that there are to many students for the houses available. Why do you think that it matters so much whether someone speaks Dutch or not? We’ve been asking around about this a lot actually. We don’t have any concrete results on why that is. What I’ve heard from stories is that international students think they can’t come in to Dutch houses. But I’m also hearing that from vegetarian people. I don’t know if specifically international people are the problem, or that it’s just certain groups that are different. I am also planning on perhaps moving to the Netherlands. Enschede and the students here are really welcoming to internationals. But I think it just makes it easier for Dutch students to have another Dutch housemate. Does it matter to you if someone speaks Dutch or not? Yes, we do have a slight preference for someone who speaks Dutch. When I come home after a long day of lectures, I find it just easier to communicate in Dutch. If someone is willing to learn Dutch, then that would also be fine. International people often are not able to come to visit first, and then it’s difficult to get a good impression. You have to make a selection somewhere. I’m really not against international people, I like them a lot. But it’s just easier to be able to speak Dutch every now and then. It’s just very easy to switch to Dutch. It’s not that we don’t want to speak English, but in a conversation i just really easily switches to Dutch. And that can be problematic, because you get kind of excluded. That’s why Dutch people mostly want more Dutch people. In the beginning we say that it doesn’t matter, but you have to be willing to learn Dutch, Later on you have to be actually talking Dutch, at least that’s what we hope. Because then you can actually really be part of every conversation with us. In terms of advice, I meet with people from the UT to talk about housing and other things which are important for students. A student sent an e-mail to the Student Union and I actually met with him to discuss the issue. You are actually quite approachable in that? I really try to be. And I think this is an important and really current issue. So if you have questions, feel free to contact me or meet with other students and talk about it. We would like to hear your opinion. Recently, there’s a lot heard about Camelot. What is going on there? There is a lot of news. Is it about the high prices, the questionable contracts, even questionable whether it’s legal, with double costs, about required purchases etcetera. That’s a bit controversial. We pointed that out and the university also reacted officially to that in the newspapers themselves. Camelot is just like De Veste a housing offerer, a commercial party. Just like De Veste and SJHT they made rooms available for the students of the UT. For now they only offer them on a different UT-part for VISA students, so not all students can see that. At this moment a lot of dicussion has been going on about the prices. Why is it so expensive? That is Camelot’s choice. They say that they have a system for that, which is conform market. The rooms are also furnished and have lots of facilities, based on that they decided on a price. Also depending on how big the room is etcetera. Was this price known by the UT beforehand? Yes, the price was known. But we also tell students to start looking for a room in time. We also now have different flyers and gave them to the collegues of M&C. Prepare students that they have to start looking in time, especially in August, when it gets busier. And if you are a little to late, you might have to get one of the more expensive rooms. Because everyone wants the nicer and cheaper room. I hope there is some change happening in the coming years, because it’s a topic that keeps re-occuring. So I hope we can clap some hands in the end and say done.