Students abroad are facing accommodation issues post-COVID

Students abroad are facing accommodation issues post-COVID

Some Indian students are facing issues in finding accommodation in the city where their higher education is based in.

Finding accommodation in cities where the higher education of students is based has become an issue for international students. This has happened despite countries like the US and the UK claiming to have given more visas to Indians this year.

The plan of the students to study abroad was disrupted due to Covid-19. However, they have now started journeying amid ease in visa policy and the cases of Covid-19 decreasing. Students stated that they had to defer their plans to join during the current semester. This was either met by an option to struggle to find accommodation in the countries they have opted to study.

One of the students who got an acceptance letter from a UK university deferred her admission to next year as the accommodations on the campus were already booked. Some people suggested her not to wait. However, she did not want to book before getting her acceptance letter as this would cause a financial risk.

Post-Covid effect

A report by University Living shows that, compared to last year, there has been a 60 per cent surge in accommodation requirements among students. The reasons include the supply-side challenges, global housing crisis, inflation impact, construction challenges during the lockdown and decreased viability of the project that has resulted in redefining capital investments.

It is seen that the same problem is being observed in off-campus accommodations. This has led to delays in the moving process. Most students avoid paying for off-campus rooms before they get visa approvals. Therefore, this leads to an increase in accommodation prices in last-minute bookings.

A student who is studying at the University of Tilburg, an MSc in Communication and Information Sciences lives in a shared independent house which is 11 km away from her university. She is paying a €900 as rent per month.

There is a residential crisis in the Netherlands. Thus, the university can\’t do anything about it and are not accountable for the accommodation. The university strictly mentioned the students to accept the letter only if they had accommodation.

The student stated that it was easier for local students to find a place to live. This is because of a communication gap and not racism. A lot of landlords communicate in the local language, rather than English.

Another student who completed a diploma course from Germany stated that such situations can be overcome if one shares a flat with local students. Moreover, it was easier for us to find a place as local landlords trusted local students more than international students and they had a guarantee.

Popular countries, fewer houses

Approximately 64 per cent of international students take more than one semester to find accommodation. Moreover, nearly 24 per cent find it within a month of starting their course. This data was revealed in a recent report by the Swedish National Union of Students.

In the major cities of countries like Canada and the UK, housing issues are being highlighted. These countries are preferred most by Indian students. In the UK, all accommodations close to university campuses are booked in all major cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bristol.

With inflation and an increase in room rents and a decrease in accommodation, students are turning to cities that are close to the cities of their universities. This is sometimes a 40-minute train ride away.

The increase in the number of students for higher studies who have been heading to the UK is directly proportional to the rise in housing issues. Experts say that the problem increased in the UK when the country achieved its target. This target was of admitting 6 lakh international students nearly 10 years ahead of time.

There has been a rise of in accommodation enquirers and there has been an increase in UG students. Therefore, the on-campus accommodation is packed to capacity. Incoming undergraduates in cities like Manchester, Glasgow and London have missed out on university accommodation.

This is due to the influx of students. Late applicants have been instructed to retry for the intake of next year. Some students have even been offered accommodation in cities that are not less than an hour away from their respective universities.

Finding a way out

Experts stated that students should be proactive in order to avoid housing problem. Students must be well prepared in advance and start exploring the options. This must be done as soon as universities decide to open the applications. Students must not necessarily wait till the last day or the deadline.

Also, students must get in touch with other Indian aspirants and plan accordingly. International students are encouraged by a majority of the universities to contact one another from the same country or cities before joining the classes.

Students must consider renting apartments. They can share them with several other students. Moreover, they can opt for a partial refund in case they face a delay in obtaining their visa. They can also look for accommodations that allows them to defer their rental contract.

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