The hostel is fun, but the snore-filled dormitory not so much

Eugeen (second year International Business Administration)

Two weeks in the hostel

Has lowered standards considerably, but remains hopeful

IBA-student Eugeen.
IBA student Eugeen is forced to stay in hostel Ani & Haakien. Image credit: Wouter Sterrenburg

“The first year of my study was completely online, so I followed it from Kiev. This year, I have a few subjects where I have to be physically present. Although there was a form you could use to apply to take the year entirely online, I unfortunately did not qualify as an ‘exceptional’ case. Luckily, I knew in advance how difficult it is to find a room at the moment, so I don’t have a lot of stress yet. Even though it is annoying of course that so far, I’ve only been rejected when I apply for rooms.”

“At this point, I’m not specifically looking for a good room anymore. At first, I thought about a furnished studio, then an ordinary studio, then a room, but now I’m happy if I find anything at all. The location doesn’t really matter to me; I can definitely manage a 30-minute bike ride. I’ve also made a concession in terms of my budget and now I would accept a rent of 800 euros. The hostel is more expensive because it’s such a busy time, so staying here will cost me more than that this month.”

“Being in a hostel has advantages and disadvantages. The people are chill, there are some fun film and karaoke nights and the free coffee is great. On the other hand, as a light sleeper, a snore-filled dormitory is no fun at all. I always wake up a few times every night, despite my noise-cancelling earplugs. The other night, for example, someone was eating an apple really noisily at two o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately, that’s part of life too. I would love to see a message appear in a group app right now that says: ‘We have a room available, who wants to move in with us?’ But until then, given how long people stay here on average, I will be here for at least another week. I hope…

IBA-student Eugeen.

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Students still in hostels seeking accommodation

Many students remain in hostels out of necessity, as they have been unable to find…

Searching in other cities out of desperation

Olive (third year at the Willem de Kooning Academy)

Two weeks in the hostel

Has been looking for three months, but hasn’t found anything yet

WDKA-student Olive.
WDKA-student Olive. Image credit: Wouter Sterrenburg

“I’ve just got back from the UK; during the pandemic I was with my mother who is in a risk group. Before that, I lived in the Student Hotel. That was incredibly expensive and I was treated like I was exchangeable. ‘For you, ten others’ – that kind of mentality. I’ve been looking for a room for almost three months now, in every possible way. Kamernet, Facebook groups, via via, even Reddit… I had hoped that once I was in Rotterdam, I would be able to find a room more easily. That’s a huge disappointment.”

“It seems as if the shortage of affordable rooms has gotten worse compared to two years ago. I know enough people who are also looking for rooms to move into together, but the houses are just not out there for all sorts of reasons. There are still advertisements with a big ‘DUTCH ONLY’ sign above them, or they are looking for a student who is working. I want to work, but I can’t really do that until I have a place to live. Out of desperation, I’m now looking at other cities and am willing to pay more.”

“My study supervisor at the WDKA was only able to help by sending me a few websites, but I already knew those. Unlike the EUR, they don’t have their own accommodation on offer. What surprises me is that there are no companies where I can just walk in and they will look for me or come up with an offer. I am now in a very friendly hostel, but the lack of privacy, the overcrowded kitchen, the alarm clocks of everyone in the dormitory… I don’t know how much longer I can bear it. I hope to find a place soon.”

Suddenly a place after months of trying to find somewhere

Tomas (master’s student Strategic Management)

Three weeks in the hostel

Has been looking since June and has temporary accommodation until the end of January

Masterstudent Tomas in de keuken van hostel Ani & Haakien.
Masterstudent Tomas in de keuken van hostel Ani & Haakien.

“In two weeks’ time, I can move into my temporary room in Noord; I’ll be stuck here until then. It is a huge relief that I have found a room, at least until the end of January. I had been looking for a room together with two friends of mine since June. First in Portugal, then for a few weeks in Rotterdam staying with an aunt of one of my friends and then back in Portugal. It wasn’t until mid-September that we participated in an online information session given by the international office where we got tips on how to find a room. We were actually hoping that they had rooms available, but that turned out not to be the case. It was a very stressful time, because apart from looking for a room, I also had to work hard on my master.”

“At the end of September, we sat an exam that we had to be physically present for. When we flew back to the Netherlands two days before the exam, we received a Facebook invitation to a viewing in Noord on the day before the exam. We hit it off with the woman who rents out the flat and after months of trying to find somewhere, we suddenly had a place to live. A huge burden fell off our shoulders, so now I don’t mind staying in the hostel for a while. Because of the noise around me, I have to communicate via chat during tutorials, but I’ve gotten used to that too.

“Because the room is only available temporarily, I’ll have to look for a new home again for the second half of the academic year. But then I will feel better prepared and I think it will be easier than this first time. By then, exchange students will have left and hopefully there will be more available. Also, I know that you have to send hundreds of inquiries to get a handful of offers. It is what it is.”