Student unions: many international students homeless8 September 2017
According to the Dutch Student Union (LSVb) and the Groningen Student Union (GSb) yet again this year the shortage of rooms for international students is soaring. But according to the student housing providers the situation is actually not so bad. In Eindhoven at least there is no cause for panic; as far as is known all of TU/e's 'internationals' have housing.
Going back home
For example, a British student who had spent weeks looking for a room disenrolled from his university and has now returned home. “Such stories would seem to be exceptional but are a frequent occurrence in the large student cities,” writes the LSVb.
According to the Groningen Student Union (GSb) students from abroad are also on the streets because universities of applied sciences and universities are doing too little to help them find housing. Conversely, together with their municipality, the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences have furnished temporary accommodation to cater for a hundred students.
That, says the GSb, isn't a long-term solution, and so chairperson Sjoerd Kalisvaart is urging the institutions to take action: “Start by making sure that students have a roof over their heads. How can anyone concentrate on studying when they don't even know where they are going to sleep?”
Last week Kences, the alliance of student housing providers, informed the HOP that the housing shortage among internationals is probably less severe than it used to be. According to director Ardin Mourik there are still significant problems in Utrecht and the Western Conurbation (the Randstad), but there are “fewer excesses”.
As far as is known to Education and Student Affairs (ESA), the TU/e service, new international students at TU/e all have accommodation: 90 students with housing provider Vestide and 330 with their colleagues at Camelot. "Moreover, there are still rooms available in the Student Hotel," explains Peggy van de Voort of ESA. "So that's always an option."
At the University of Amsterdam, where five hundred foreign students were still on the waiting list in July, the shortage doesn't appear to be so bad. The magazine Folia reports that 34 students are still waiting for a room. Exactly a year ago, hundreds were roaming the city.
At Wageningen University the room shortage is significant among mainly first-year students who are Dutch nationals. Almost 40 percent of the Dutch students who want to live in rented rooms have not yet managed to find somewhere, compared with 10 percent of the international students.
The quality of education seems to have slipped at TU/e. In the latest Dutch-language guide to universities (Keuzegids Universiteiten), Eindhoven's university has dropped from third place in the overall ranking to seventh place in the course of a year. "It's understandable but it's not good," says President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers, "and it is all the more reason to push on with introducing an upper limit on student intake to our programs. This is a result of the strong growth in student numbers."
Eindhoven's iGEM team has arrived in Boston. In the coming days, the students will participate in the Giant Jamboree, competing with nearly three hundred teams from all over the world. Their competition entry is their project GUPPI, in which they propose encapsulating tumors in a gel to prevent them growing and spreading.
As well as professors, from now on associate professors (UHD-1) at TU/e may also confer doctoral degrees on PhD candidates. Sixty associate professors were awarded the right to confer doctoral degrees at the start of this academic year after the move was approved by the Upper House of Parliament in the Netherlands shortly before the summer recess. “We couldn't wait to introduce this here.”
Before you google yet another one of my invented diseases and subsequently begin to question the title of this story, let me tell you this. With a new academic year having begun and a shiny new batch of freshmen accompanying it, the university is full of people suffering from the so-called octopus syndrome.