Hot Potatoes

No More “I don’t know” on Euroculture Housing Issue

Eunjin Jeong l eunjin.lynn@gmail.com

Housing is a very important issue for MA Euroculture students because they get to move constantly as part of the curriculum. For some, getting a room in new places has been easy but as most of them admittedly say, they were lucky. The truth of Euroculture housing is here: It can be very difficult and if you are not lucky, you are all on your own. Looking for a room in a foreign country can be a very stressful process especially if you don’t speak the local language. Also, it’s possible that the semester already started and you are without ‘home’, living in a hotel or hostel. I examined the housing situation of Euroculturers, in collaboration with Niccolò Beduschi (Euroculture 12/14) who brought up the issue and ask three questions in an attempt to get more housing support from MA Euroculture Consortium and some universities which are not providing any housing service.

Why don’t we start by looking at ‘very good’ cases?

BILBAO

The University has helped us find a place. You send some necessary documents before a set deadline and one month after you receive information about your place. They send you information of your apartment (address, cost etc) and ask if you’d like to accept the offer. Bilbao is really good in that service.”

KRAKOW

Euroculture Krakow team was really helpful throughout the process. They gave us advices on web pages, kept track of our accommodation status via E-Mail and coordinated semester rooms with Laborooms (kind of dorms from a private company). I am really happy with the “service” of Krakow.”

Question #1. How could Bilbao and Krakow so good at these services when others are not?

And here are some ‘could have been better’ cases.

GRONINGEN

It is possible to find a place “through the university” but only by paying a fee of one month of rent.”

STRASBOURG

You can get student housing, but it is not in a good condition (ok, it’s cheap but that should be the only positive thing!). The application process for the student rooms was easy and worked out well. But you definitely need French in order to get along with everything.”

Question #2. Should we not expect a decent room if we cannot afford a high fee or speak good French?

And here are some ‘could have been a lot better’ cases. The problem not only comes from the lack of support from the university but also the fact that there are too many students looking for a room at the same time. Still, they can do more than just saying “I don’t know.”

UDINE

Most landlords want you to have a contract for a year. Actually, there are many ads from people looking for roommates, but because they all look for people who will stay long, finding a place is very difficult, although if you have time, it’s not impossible.”

UPPSALA

The university at the beginning did not help us find a place until at last we were told that some rooms were reserved for international master students. Many of us got those. However, it’s very hard to get rooms in Uppsala in general.”

GOTTINGEN

Everyone had to search for their own accommodation as far as I know, and we didn’t receive any help from either Euroculture Goettingen team or the university. They just recommend me websites for the private market. You can apply for student dorms, but you get on a waiting list with the average waiting time of 20-24 months. Some people even had to stay in a hotel for a few weeks, even when the semester had already started.”

Question #3. We all know we are adults who need to take care of our own affairs. But what if it’s REALLY DIFFICULT?

This simple poll and possible following comments/debates will be collected and sent, in a month, to the Consortium and each university to show Euroculturers’ opinions on the issue. Many thanks go to Niccolò Beduschi and other Euroculture students for providing the information(quotes) I used to write this article.

Eunjin Jeong, Editor-in-chief

Eunjin is from South Korea and studied Education for her BA. She began MA Euroculture in October 2011 in the University of Göttingen, later studied in the University of Strasbourg, did a research track in Uppsala University and currently finishing her MA thesis in Strasbourg. Her research interests lie in finding ways for diaspora groups to feel as ‘citizens at heart’ in host countries. Eunjin is a part-time realist and a full-time idealist.

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2 replies »

  1. I was surprised to read that the housing situation in Uppsala is considered problematic. In my experience, the University deals with this issue very well: shortly after being informed that I would be studying there in my second semester, I received a Housing Application Form. After filling that out, I knew where I would be living within a matter of a few weeks. The entire process was easy and well-organised! Of course, this may be a new procedure and others may have had worse experiences in trying to find accommodation in Uppsala, but I was so pleased and impressed with this service I felt I had to mention it.

  2. Hi, Leonie. I had the same experience as you when I was in Uppsala. But I would still consider our cases as very ‘lucky’ as Euroculture Uppsala team told me that it was only possible because I was applying at the ‘right timing'(and I applied far earlier than others). Many of my classmates didn’t get support from the office and had told me that I was very lucky to get help. I also think they are trying to extend their service slowly, because they do know the situation, which is a very good sign. Hopefully in the future, more Euroculturers could get the support that we’ve received. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us 🙂

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