Is the housing
really that bad?
New York, USA
Michiel Klaassen spent four months in New York doing an internship for RTL News. He found that the $1,000 he spent each month on rent and bills was money well spent. ‘My building had everything except someone to clean my clothes. For that I had to go to the Laundromat, but I was happy to do it.’
He shared his kitchen and shower with his flatmates, but he had a toilet in his room. ‘There was no separate room, just a small wall that did nothing for my privacy. It was surreal!’
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East Michigan, USA
David Meulenbeld, an American Studies student, spent a term in Michigan and paid the staggering cost of just under $3,000 (just short of €2,500) for four months’ accommodation on campus. ‘There were cheaper places,’ he claims, ‘but I chose the most expensive.’
North Carolina, USA
A German student who is doing her Bachelor’s degree in American Studies in Groningen also did an Erasmus exchange to Chapel Hill in North Carolina. She opted for private accommodation with three other American students. ‘It was just a regular apartment and I was there for four months’, says Tina Kosanke. ‘All bills were included and I had my own shower and toilet. However, we did have to clean everything ourselves, of course, and the cost was €420.’
Stephana de Wolfe, an English Language and Culture student currently on an Erasmus exchange in Salford near Manchester in the UK, thinks that her accommodation is overpriced at £276 per month. ‘I pay way too much’, she says, even though this rent also included all bills. ‘There are just two bathrooms and two toilets between nine of us, although we do have one big kitchen, which we all have to clean.’
There are some benefits to living on the campus, though: ‘We have a great deal for the gym – we only have to pay £20 for the entire year! The usual cost of the gym is £140 for students who don’t live on the campus.’
The UK, according to Psychology student Nicole Nienhaus, is reasonable in its housing costs. ‘I was there for one term. The price was £65 a week,’ which works out at £260 a month (just over €300). ‘I had my own room, but we did share the kitchen, toilets and showers.’
Uppsala was ‘good value for money’, says Ilse Kwaaitaal, a former Psychology student. ‘It was €320 a month, but I had a big, single room, which was 18 square metres in size, and my own toilet, although I did have to share the kitchen and shower.’ Ilse had to clean her accommodation, but the rent was all inclusive ‘and anything broken was fixed promptly’.
‘I paid €500 a month’, says Maurits van Eijnatten. ‘However, with the exchange rate changing occasionally, that was sometimes not enough and I would get a letter saying just that. Also, even though we all left the apartment as neat and clean as when we arrived, I still had 3,000 kroner deducted from my deposit.’
‘Young people in Portugal live with their parents for much longer’, according to Paul Schüren, an International Business student who did an Erasmus exchange there. ‘There is therefore much more choice for students looking for somewhere to stay.’
Paul was all too happy to pay the €350 monthly rent that he was charged for the 20 square-metre single room in an apartment he shared with two others. ‘We were really lucky. The place we moved to was in the middle of the city and we even had a cleaner come in every week.’
Jena, Germany, and Warsaw, Poland
Maryia Amelchanka, from Belarus, who is studying Theology and Religious Studies, has lived in two international houses in two different countries, Germany and Poland. Both were a lot cheaper and, according to her, better than she has found in the Netherlands.
‘My room in Germany was €275 a month’, says Maryia, ‘but the room was awesome. My room in Poland was only €115 and that was still better than here. I was really surprised. I expected more from the Netherlands.’
Linguistics student Marieke Nijmeijer spent four months in accommodation on campus and paid a mere €160 a month for a single, nine square-metre room. ‘I had my own sink’, says Marieke, ‘but I did have to share the toilet, kitchen and showers, which were cleaned twice a week by cleaners working for the university.’