Perhaps some might have heard the rumors – in September there will finally be an alternative to international student housing on campus called Student Hotel. Even though the new U building will be a major improvement to the outdated F, Student Hotel is definitely something to consider for students who want a hassle free experience.
The concept of all-inclusive, privately funded, and non subsidized student housing started in Scotland, as Frank Uffen – the marketing manager of the Student Hotel – explains. “Our research revealed that there is a high demand for quality housing both by students who want a stress-free start of their study and by parents, who wish to see their children in a safe environment”.
There are a variety of options for the rooms, and the students can sign their contract for a maximum of one academic year. Included in the price are all the great perks – flat screen TV, wireless internet, high-speed cable, modern furniture, a bike, study rooms, on-site fitness gym, and more depending per room. But all of this, of course, comes with a price tag of at least 595 Euros per month.
Hugo van der Wal, an Erasmus student who did research about the housing market in Rotterdam, explains that even though the price is a bit greater than students would pay normally, there is a growing demand for quality short stay rooms and a very limited supply. He is certain that “the value for money is just greater as compared to existing alternatives”. Uffen adds that many students don’t realize all the ‘hidden’ costs that they will have to incur anyway when to move to Rotterdam – purchasing a new mattress or a set of cups add up. “And you don’t have to go around selling your bike and coffee table when you are moving out”, Uffen rationalizes.
Lack of supply
Yet some still remain unsold. Len Larsson Ohman went through painstaking process of finding a place himself which caused a lot of stress, but he still would not pay the price for Student Hotel that he finds unreasonable. “In general, the flat prices in Rotterdam are very high in comparison to other European university cities, and the supply is horrible”.
According to Len, the university does not do a very good job in helping international students find alternatives to Stadswonen, and he would like to see informal channels set up by the university, where student volunteers could advise incoming internationals on housing. “I think it’s essential to get in touch with someone who knows Rotterdam – you can learn about normal prices and good locations”.
Len thinks that some people will go for the Student Hotel because it is an easy solution and a secure one too. Yet, others will definitely not want to miss out on the crucial international student experience – the romance of finding your way around with huge bags, without speaking a word of Dutch. MD