Student Sushumna, first-year bachelor Management of International Social Challenges (MISOC), is sitting in the lounge of the CityHub hostel on the Witte de Withstraat. An IKEA bag which she uses for her groceries lies on the yellow chair next to her. She arrived in Rotterdam on 8 August and spent two weeks in this hostel. “I came very early on purpose so that I could look for a room in peace and quiet,” she recounts. This was difficult to do from her home country of India. “I was also afraid of being scammed, because you read about that kind of thing everywhere.” She found a room through Kamernet and on Monday, she moved into her new room in Dordtselaan.

Sitting next to Sushuma is Han, also a first-year MISOC. She will be staying at CityHub for a little longer. The Vietnamese student found a room in Kralingen via HousingAnywhere, but her rental contract starts on 1 September. The accommodation costs of 69 euros per night are a drain on her budget. “I arrived on 14 August for Eurekaweek, so I have to pay over a thousand euros in total for the hostel. But I don’t have any other choice. I’m already happy that I managed to get a room,” she adds.

Fewer long-stays

Fewer and fewer hostels are offering long-stay rates, according to a survey by EM. CityHub still has a monthly rate, but StayOkay and KingKong have scrapped this. “During Eurekaweek, students could still stay with us for a week, but now we are only offering shorter periods,” says an employee of StayOkay. KingKong does the same, the maximum stay there is one week. Manager Bart den Uijl: “Now that everything is back to normal, we’re more geared towards tourism. It’s more lucrative to sell single days than a long stay.”

Stefano enjoys a sunny afternoon on the outdoor terrace of KingKong before he heads to his new room. Image credit: Feba Sukmana

The Italian Stefano is planning to follow the Global History and International Relations master’s degree. He is staying at KingKong and celebrating his success on the outdoor terrace on Tuesday. “I just got confirmation that I get a room on the Pleinweg,” he says happily. He arrived in Rotterdam last Sunday for a viewing appointment on Monday. “I had posted on all kinds of Facebook groups that I was looking for a room. The owner of this apartment approached me because he was looking for a flatmate. It is a small room, but it is better than nothing,” he says. He had reservations at KingKong until Wednesday, but has already packed his suitcase. “I took a risk just to come here without a plan,” he goes on to say. “But it’s sheer luck that I can move into my new room tonight.”

Moving to a hotel

The skating rink at the Toepad sports complex is empty this week, states Ruben van Goor from The Sleeping Agency. “It won’t be very busy next week either. So far, we’ve had ten reservations.” Meanwhile, the receptionist at the ROOM hostel still sees students walking around. “Of course, we don’t have an exact overview of how many students are here, because we don’t ask them that when making reservations, but there are at least ten,” she recalls.

Student Madeleine (Communication and Media) lugs her suitcase from ROOM to the Vasteland tram stop. She came to Rotterdam from Nuremberg, Germany, ten days ago for the Eurekaweek, even though she did not have a room yet. “The plan was that after Eurekaweek. I would temporarily stay with a cousin in Amsterdam until I found a room,” she explains. But during the introduction week, one of her fellow group members came up with the idea to book a hotel room together at the Novotel Brainpark. “I thought it was a brilliant idea. It’s fun and a stone’s throw from the university,” she says. “And it is just as expensive.” For a three-bed room, they pay around forty euros per night per person. At ROOM, she paid 38 euros a night for a dorm she shared with fourteen people. “At least at Novotel, I can take a shower and walk around in my bathrobe,” she laughs.

Madeleine can stay at Novotel until 6 September. What if she still can’t find a room after that? “Then I’ll have to move to Amsterdam after all,” she says with a sigh. “I do hope it doesn’t come to that. I really don’t feel like commuting and I like it so much here in Rotterdam.”

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