Everyone knows your mother shouldn’t tag along, right? But what do you need to do to get that room when you’re invited to a ‘hospiteeravond’? EM asked four students who recently organised such evenings for tips.

#1 Don't copy-paste

It starts with the messages exchanged, says Nikki Jansen (22): “I look at the first sentence. It’s hard to believe but some people put the wrong name in their opening sentence. That’s when you know it’s a copy-paste message. These are rejected immediately. I also advise people to keep it short: who you are, what you do, and why would you be a good fit for this house. No one wants to read a long text, especially when you have a lot of people responding.”

#2 Try to have fun

And on the evening itself? Max van Winden (21) compares it to a birthday party where you don’t know anyone. “Whatever else you do, try to have fun, don’t take it too seriously. The housemate selection evening is meant to see who clicks with the other housemates, says Stan van Aaken (23). “If it doesn’t work out, don’t take it personally or feel you did something wrong. You just weren’t the right fit.”

#3 Don’t force it

According to Max, the most important thing is to “Be yourself.” But don’t force it. Luna Goudswaard (21), who until recently lived in an all-female house: “some people can be really pushy, interrupting others, something I find very irritating. Give other people a chance to speak.” Stan also cautions against overdoing it: “Don’t try to come across as something you’re not, and don’t brag. People see right through that.”

#4 Gifts are akward

Should you bring a gift? Beer always makes a good impression, says Nikki. But another kind of gift? “Don’t do it”, says Stan. Gifts were sometimes a feature in the housemate selection evenings organised by Luna. “Bring a gift only if you can pull it off without making things awkward.”

EM is looking into the student housing market in September. We will publish several stories about the room shortage and the living situation of (international) students. Do you have tips, questions or comments? Mail them to [email protected].

Read all articles in our special about housing shortage.