What problems do Europe's international students face with regards to housing, and how do we fix them?
HousErasmus+, a two-year research project funded under Key Action 3 of the Erasmus+ programme, sought to answer these questions. The study, led by the European Universities Foundation and Erasmus Student Network, shed light on the housing situation for mobile students across Europe. Over two years, a range of students, universities, housing providers and student associations were surveyed, to assess their experiences and practices around accommodation. Meanwhile, a series of study visits and regional sessions brought together relevant associates to gather the best practices and analyse both national and local trends.
Based on these investigations, nine key problems in the field of international student housing were identified. For a full overview of the results and recommendations, consult the report and policy recommendations booklet.
Students and key stakeholders (such as universities) have asymmetric perceptions of housing as a challenge to student mobility.
The organisations surveyed agreed that more collaboration between shareholders is needed, if the housing problem for mobile students is to be addressed.
Students are often culturally and practically unprepared for their mobility period, particularly regarding their housing needs and challenges. Accessible, high-quality information should be available to students embarking on exchange.
1 in 10 mobile students experienced attempted fraud during their housing search, and quality assurance remains an issue. Students should use secure payment and booking services where university- or state-provided accommodation is not available.
With accommodation being the central output in a mobile student's budget, this expense can be seen as either a driver for, or social obstacle to, participation in exchange programmes.
There are simply not enough beds in many university cities. Investment in student accommodation is needed to overcome this critical issue.
Legal issues may make securing accommodation for a mobility period of just a few months more complicated, whilst housing providers may see such short-term rentals to be less attractive and more problematic.
Many students reported issues with their landlord or housing provider linked to differences in language and culture.
Students that undertake a mobility period in a work environment rather than a university, have less support and face the additional challenge of having no host university.
HousingAnywhere is proud to part of the HousErasmus+ project. Based on the research results, we pledged to help 25,000 students find housing abroad, by offering our service for free to their universities. We continue our mission to innovate and simplify the search for accommodation abroad, and fully embrace the recommendation that stakeholders must work closely together. Find out more about the project in its entirety here.