No more homeless international students in Tilburg

If it’s up to International Office director René Voogt, there will be no shortage of housing for international students this year. Voogt eloquently presented his plans to the University Council, without shying away from answering difficult questions.

Last year, 115 international students failed to find accommodation in Tilburg. As the situation was getting out of hand, the university provided temporary housing in a hotel and in the vacant building of Tilburion. Voogt explains that the costs were high. The last minute solution amounted to 76.000 euros.

The plan

The International Office wants to up the number of rooms and apartments to 400 available units in August for degree-seeking students. These are the rooms that are reserved beforehand by the university, also referred to as the contingent. For exchange students, the International Office wants to reserve another 250 rooms. Internationals who fail to find housing, will receive active guidance from the International Office finding free-market accommodation. As a third point of action property owners will receive support, since landlords often have difficulty setting up international rental contracts. If these measures prove to be insufficient, price agreements will be made with the hostel located on the Stationsstraat and hotels (Ibis and Bastion). This involves an approximate 60 accommodations.

Following the presentation, the University Council had a few questions for the director of the International Office. “Why is finding housing so problematic for international students, while it isn’t for domestic students?” Voogt explains that many room owners prefer to rent to Dutch students – ‘Dutch only’ – because of longer contract terms. Dutch students also have more time to search for housing; after their enrollment on May 1st, they have plenty of time to find a room before September and they have the possibility to go to multiple viewings before making a choice.

The principle that students are responsible for organizing their own accommodation remains in place, Voogt added, but Tilburg University will provide support if needed. The TiU international faction responded by asking why this only applies to international students. “Dutch students will find their way, and leftover rooms will always return to the market”, Voogt said. In addition, the university will raise awareness abroad on the fact that finding a room in Tilburg can be difficult.

The matter will be re-addressed in the University Council on April 7th.

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