In 2015, worldwide outrage was sparked when it came to light that a United Nations intern was camping on the lake shores of Geneva as he couldn’t afford accommodation. Now, in 2019, the student organisation of Tilburg University has set up a summer camp for internationals unable to find permanent accommodation. 

Hundreds of students from all over the world have arrived in Tilburg eager to start the academic year. Accommodation is competitive (seemingly like everywhere else in the Netherlands) and to help people get on their feet the student organisation has came up with a plan; a 25-day camping facility until they find accommodation.

Summer camp provides more than just a roof

Approximately 50 students at the camp are provided with a sleeping bag, an air mattress, pillows and lights. Volunteers are also on hand to help students in their quest to find a room and assist them with contract and translation queries. As one student said “At least I have a place to stay”.

There is a strong practical element to the camp and given finding a room is harder and is only getting harder so why not have a stop-gap in place to prevent new students being completely homeless upon arrival? “We have lots of activities planned. We’ll have bonfires, sports games, a movie night, a party at Club Smederij and much more” Univers reports.

Finding accommodation is hard

Not only do the students have to move to a whole new country, but they have to contend with all the difficulties that arise with an accommodation shortage – hiked prices, “Dutch only” exclusions and scammers eager to prey on vulnerable and desperate students.

“We are aware that this is a very difficult situation for new students,” I.S.A.T. board member Antonia Telbizova tells Univers. “We want to bring security to these students and welcome them in a way that allows them to have fun and explore Tilburg during their first month here.”


VICE investigates the camp for students in Tilburg:

Het tentenkamp voor studenten in Tilburg

Door woningnood moeten studenten in Tilburg in een tentje slapen voor 450 euro per maand. We vroegen de inwoners hoe ze het verblijf ervaren.

Geplaatst door VICE Nederland op Vrijdag 30 augustus 2019


Have the international students been shafted or saved? Do you think this is acceptable? Let us know in the comments! 

Featured image: pooch_eire on Pixabay 


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