When looking for a house, it helps to have a network. That's what they think at Leiden United, a student association that describes itself as ‘focused on closing the gap between Dutch and international (exchange) students’. All seven student tenants featured in this pictorial are members. And they have found a room.
Ishana Durante Bose
"Originally, I had a room where I had to share a kitchen with 10 students. It took me five months to find the place where I'm currently living; I was registered with 20 different housing agencies, three of which actually responded to me."
"I am completely happy here, in the city centre, but still with plenty of privacy. However, it is expensive: 750 euros a month. I'm not sure what I will do after I graduate; probably go back to England, where my family lives.″
"I have a perfectly good room for 485 euros a month; I'm really happy with it. Originally, I found something through Kamernet.nl, but it was a pretty big disappointment; fortunately, this one became available through the same landlord. Staying in the Netherlands is an option, or another country in western Europe."
"I love life here, the lifestyle, although it is weird that as a foreigner you can't join a student association. Going back to the US doesn't appeal to me. Although I do miss the space sometimes; I'm from Colorado...″
Huajie (Catherine) Fan
"I didn't have to look for a room; this was offered to me as part of the exchange programme. The room is great; it's on the ground floor, I can sit on the couch and study and look out the window, and park my bike outside my front door."
"I love Leiden. I'm paying about 450 euros, for me that's fine. I'm thinking about coming back to Leiden to study archaeology after I graduate in the US.″
"It took me a couple of months to find this place; I'm pleased with it because I have a separate bedroom. I do miss having space for a big dining table for sharing meals with friends; I am Italian, after all."
"I can make music to my heart's content here, and I have a part-time job to ease the pain of the 500 euros a month it costs. I definitely want to stay in the Netherlands; I love the vibe. Plus, there are more jobs than in Italy."
"There are four of us sharing a large apartment; we found each other on Facebook. We have a great landlord; if anything breaks he fixes it right away. For me, the search process was stress-free; if I hadn't been able to find something I would have been able to stay with my Dutch boyfriend's parents. I'm paying 600 euros, which includes everything. After I graduate, I would like to stay in the Netherlands, or at least in the European Union.″
"This is a wonderful room, but it does have some issues; I fixed up a lot of things myself. I'm paying 485 euros a month. That's affordable because I have a part-time job. Finding a room was difficult; although the university advertises abroad, it's really hard for male students and foreign students to find something; people prefer to let rooms to women and Dutch. I think the Dutch are nice, I love the city; if I can find work here I would stay.″
"I spent a month or two looking for a room; eventually I found this one through Facebook. My room is small but comfortable, and you're allowed to redecorate; I was going to paint the walls, but haven't gotten around to it. I'm paying 330 euros, which for me is just manageable; I have a part-time job, too. I'm really happy in Leiden and the Netherlands; I would like to work here for a few years after I graduate.″