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The University's focus is teaching and research. And after last year's job cuts, we just can't deliver more housing service, says International Office in response to angry reader comments
Critical comments on UniversityPost.dk on housing counselling have now been replied to by the International Office.
Full-degree Master’s students have been calling for more service from the University of Copenhagen on housing on UniversityPost.dk. According to Colombian student Felipe León there is a »disappointing lack of support from the University of Copenhagen regarding a quite basic practical issue: the accommodation of full-degree international students.«
León is not alone in his frustration. Students like Sorin Pirau from Romania have also voiced their anger with the housing system for internationals on these pages, and readers’ comments on other housing articles on this site have shown profound dissatisfaction.
University management decided in 2010 to provide housing only to short-term students who are studying up to two semesters at the university, according to Trine Sand of the International Office.
The Faculty of Life Science is the exception to the no housing service for full degree students rule. Up until 2007 it used to be its own university and had access to various flats and kollegiums. This Faculty can therefore help all international students, including those who are full-degree.
Until 2010 there were three housing staff for the whole University. Now there are just two left due to job cuts.
Not surprisingly, the lack of personnel means that the office can accomodate less: 650-700 students, down from the 900 they helped in 2009, she explains.
»A lot of students would like to receive help with finding housing«, commented Sand, »but it is a question of resources.«
The priority of the University is teaching and research, not housing, according to Trine Sand. She adds, however, that she is sympathetic to the full degree students’ situation.
Many capital cities have similar housing issues for students. And with 370 rooms available and over 2,000 applicants, not even those who can receive help, actually get help from the Housing Office.
According to Sand, help is available through various organisations such as Central Nomination Committee (CIU) and Student- and Youth Accommodation Office Copenhagen (KKIK). Here full degree students can apply for housing in various dormitories.
Sand recommends students that they should be more open to housing further away from the centre. She gives the example of a group of 100 full-degree students in 2009 that demanded housing and were given places in a dormitory by CIU in Roskilde. However, all but one turned down the offer in hope of something better.
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