For the third year in a row, the UvA has housed foreign UvA students in bungalows at Droompark Spaarnwoude, an hour’s bike ride from the Roeterseiland Campus. Some students declined the offer to live there. ‘After going out, I’ll have to stay with friends in Amsterdam.’
‘This is mine’, says UvA student Beatrice Maurilli (18, Psychology). She points to one of the black chalets boarding a lake complete with ducks and cattail reeds. ‘The view is beautiful. It’s like I’m on vacation.’
Beatrice lives with two other international students at Droompark Spaarnwoude, a holiday park between Haarlem and Amsterdam. For the third year in a row, this is one of the UvA’s ‘emergency solutions’ to the problem of how to accommodate 3,000 international students. The UvA reserved 24 chalets for 96 students. Two students to a bedroom. They can stay for six months.
The park is not a popular choice of accommodation among students: at least 50 on the waiting list turned it down. It’s about an hour’s bike ride from the Roeterseilandcampus, and even further for students at the AMC or Science Park. Spaarnwoude is dark at night. There’s a train station, Halfweg-Zwanenburg, and in fifteen minutes you can be in Amsterdam, but international students can’t travel for free like the Dutch.
‘We wondered how the students would get along with the park’s other residents’, says Droompark manager Teun Jansen. ‘But it’s going well, and actually I think it’s because they’re from abroad: here only for a short period and eager to study.’
What about the students’ concerns about it being so far away? ‘It’s important to try to resolve these issues. For those concerned about cycling in the dark, we’re installing additional lighting.’