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Student accommodation crisis goes global

On March 22 students occupying a building at Manchester University were forcibly evacuated. The students, who had occupied the building for over a month were protesting against the rent costs and living conditions in university accommodation.

They are not alone. The student housing crisis is world-wide, and it is hitting international students particularly hard.

At the beginning of March around 40,000 Chinese students descended on Australia, following their government’s decree that they could no longer study on-line at home for foreign degrees. According to Reuters, at The University of New South Wales, where a quarter of all student come from China, its on-campus accommodation was staff were rushing to refurbish university apartments. At nearby Sydney University the 2,400 dormitory beds were already taken but they were leasing 700 more from outside providers.

In Dublin, where problems with accommodation last year saw English Language students sleeping in their cars, language schools are looking to build their own residences. The accommodation shortage is also hitting local students with one set of parents writing to the government complaining that their daughter, a student at the University of Limerick, was living in a garden shed, according to the Irish Times.

And the problems are not restricted to the Anglosphere. In January the Dutch government urged its universities to cap the number of international students they enrolled. Insufficient housing and packed lecture halls were the main reasons given for the request. Student housing is sparse in the Netherlands where most students live with their parents and commute to university using free student train tickets.

Image courtesy of Library
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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