The housing situation of international students is a long-standing challenge in the implementation of Erasmus+ mobilities. The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education, a quality framework for Erasmus+ mobilities in Higher Education that all Higher Education Institutions need to acquire in order to participate in Erasmus+, established that HEIs should “Provide active support to incoming mobile participants throughout the process of finding accommodation”, elaborating on the exact responsibilities for sending and receiving institutions. The involvement of Higher Education Institutions with the issues varies greatly, with remarkable practices supporting students to access housing and cases in which not much support is provided. Building on good practices can help to improve the situation in places where the challenges are more acute.
At the moment, the raise of inflation and the cost of living crisis have contributed to worsening the situation with several reports in the media coming from countries such as Belgium or Italy. ESN national and local associations and student unions have been monitoring the situation closely, working to support the students and trying to find solutions.
The latest data from the ESN Survey 2021 shows that more than 15% of respondents reported having a lot of issues with their accommodation and that the degree of dissatisfaction with the provision of accommodation was among the highest of all the services provided by Universities. Issues with accommodation are closely interlinked with potential issues with anxiety and stress.
Main issues encountered by students during their mobilities (ESN Survey 2021 data)
With the objective of gathering evidence and a full understanding of the situation, ESN and ESU are launching a snap survey on international student housing. The findings of the survey will help to come up with proposals targeting Higher Education Institutions, National Authorities and European Institutions.