Video: Homeless internationals welcomed at I.S.A.T. summer camp

Video: Homeless internationals welcomed at I.S.A.T. summer camp

Student organization I.S.A.T. has set up a summer camp for internationals who are having trouble finding accommodation in Tilburg. For the next twenty-five days, their home will be a grassy campground near the city center. Univers was present at the first day of camp.

Hundreds of international students from all over the world have flocked to the Tilburg University campus for the start of the academic year. For those who haven’t found a student room in Tilburg yet, the newly established international student organization I.S.A.T. is offering an alternative to temporarily crashing on a fellow student’s couch: a 25-day camp session at Stadscamping Tilburg.

Homeless internationals

The summer camp is I.S.A.T.’s answer to the recurring student housing problem in Tilburg, which leaves many incoming internationals still desperately looking for a place to stay after the start of the semester. Instead of exploring their new surroundings and focusing on their studies, homeless internationals must deal with the stress of searching for accommodation, facing exclusion by ‘Dutch only’ room offerings and avoiding scammers that prey on room-seeking internationals.

“We are aware that this is a very difficult situation for new students,” says I.S.A.T. board member Antonia Telbizova. “We want to bring security to these students and welcome them in a way that allows them to have fun and explore Tilburg during their first month here.” 

More than a tent over students’ heads

I.S.A.T. teamed up with Stadscamping Tilburg and Decathlon to create an affordable temporary home for incoming internationals. Approximately fifty students are setting up camp on the grounds of the Stadscamping, a campsite near the train station and with the Spoorpark as its backyard, from August 15th until September 8th. “Upon arrival, the students receive a camping package that includes a tent, a sleeping bag, an air mattress, pillows and lights.”

But the 25-day summer camp gives homeless internationals more than a tent over their heads and a sleeping bag to keep warm, Telbizova explains. “During their stay at the camp, students will receive help from the board of I.S.A.T., the International Center Tilburg and volunteers in searching for accommodations, going to room viewings and looking at contracts.”

And of course there’s no summer camp without roasting marshmallows over campfires and making new friends. “We have lots of activities planned. We’ll have bonfires, sports games, a movie night, a party at Club Smederij and much more.”

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