Research predicting the top 10 exchange destinations in four European countries, carried out by the Dutch company, has found international students are increasingly searching its platform for accommodation in smaller university cities.
“Cities need to work with universities and the private sector to create enough rooms for all international students”
However, it expects that the big cities will continue to attract the most students.
Rotterdam topped the list for for the Netherlands, Berlin for Germany, Barcelona came top in Spain and Florence championed in Italy in the firm’s first prediction report.
While traditional international hubs continue to do well, smaller cities such as Murcia in Spain, Rotterdam and Florence are becoming more attractive due to speciality courses, universities’ reputations and affordable accommodation.
Zaragoza in seventh position for Spain, an increase of three places, with cost and quality of life proving key measures.
“Zaragoza is one of the cities students from Barcelona University’s are moving to for a city life, but not at Barcelona prices,” a HousingAnywhere spokesperson told The PIE News.
In Italy, HousingAnywhere gets feedback from students that the big cities are ‘too full’ and that they prefer the smaller university cities where they benefit from a sense of a community, they added.
“A better distribution of students could help balance the housing problem”
HousingAnywhere says the the European Commission’s commitment to double the budget for Erasmus+ will lead to more students embarking on a mobility experience than before.
“I’m happy to see that smaller cities like Murcia and Florence are moving up,” said HousingAnywhere founder, Niels van Deuren said.
“Rather than everyone descending on capital cities where students need to compete with expats and professionals, a better distribution of students across the country could help balance the housing problem.”
Van Deuren added that more action is needed to solve the issues that stem from internationalisation.
“Research has shown that problems linked to housing present a major challenge to mobile students, with nine key issues being identified, including diverse laws and regulations and a general lack of awareness among universities,” he said.
Students are moving out of bigger cities because they cannot afford to live there, the spokesperson added.
“A lack of enough accommodation suitable for international students is largely the reason for this,” they said.
“Spreading out to neighbouring cities is one solution, but to make studying in the big cities available everyone, cities need to continue working together with the universities and the private sector in order to create enough rooms and apartments for all international students.”