What options are there in general?
September 26, 2023 – 11:33 a.m
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Photo: Leon Zimmermann
Photo: Leon Zimmermann
View of Aschaffenburg from above: It is not easy for students to find an apartment. Photo: Victoria Schwab
Photo: Victoria Schwab
A young student from Malaysia will begin her studies abroad at the Technical University (TH) in Aschaffenburg this October. She urgently needs accommodation, ideally before she starts her journey to Germany – but finding an apartment or a room turns out to be more difficult than expected.
The language barrier but also the cultural differences make the search difficult, and she doesn’t yet have any friends in Aschaffenburg with whom she could stay. The student is still without accommodation and the semester is getting closer and closer. What now?
The Malaysian student is not an isolated case. She is one of 150 so-called incoming students at the TH and they need somewhere to live. In addition to the international students, there are also hundreds of German students who are also looking for an apartment or a shared room. But the housing market in Aschaffenburg is tight.
If you are a student from abroad and need help, please contact the “International Office” of the TH Aschaffenburg. There, manager Ernst Schulten and his team answer questions about, among other things, finding accommodation. Since this semester, Yuen Tian has also been supporting the team as the new contact person. A few years ago she was a foreign student and had to rely on the help of the International Office.
All students, regardless of their background, have several options when looking for accommodation: There are the TH’s dormitories, one of which is on campus and another in the immediate vicinity. The Würzburg Student Union is responsible for these dormitories. However, anyone interested must apply for this, and there is no guarantee of getting a place to live. However, according to the student union, exchange students, people with disabilities, single parents with children and parents with children will definitely get a place. However, students whose parents live at the university location where they are studying, who have had a rental agreement terminated by the student union in the past or because of other exclusion criteria that are listed on the union’s website have no chance.
There can be no talk of preferential treatment for international students, but it is true: “Anyone who is an exchange student is guaranteed to get accommodation,” says Ernst Schulte: “We try to serve everyone, but we can’t at the moment.”
In principle, the student usually turns first to the Würzburg Student Union because the TH’s two halls of residence are the cheapest option with rental prices of 322 to 369 euros. “The students receive feedback very quickly as to whether there is still capacity available. If there is none, then the next step is to ask us in the International Office or the Student Office.” There are a total of 143 residential units on campus, and 122 more in the home on Schoberstrasse near the TH.
There are also two “transitional accommodations”, which the International Office only offers in exceptional cases, as Ernst Schulten explains: “We try to temporarily accommodate students in Air B’n’Bs and perhaps also cushion the culture shock.” Even in the event of a “worst case”, i.e. if neither apartments, rooms nor Air B’n’Bs are available, there is a final solution: the hotel, but that is not cheap either (see “Background”).
The opportunities in Aschaffenburg are already good, says Ernst Schulten, but they are still not enough. In the coming semesters, the housing shortage will become even more evident: the “Software Design International” course is available in English for the first time, so more foreign students will apply to the university in Aschaffenburg in the coming years – and correspondingly more living space will be needed. Intercultural shared apartments (WGs) are the most popular, says Schulten.
However, not every apartment or house is suitable for shared apartments, according to Gödert-Immobilien from Aschaffenburg. This could have different reasons. Not all living spaces are suitable due to their layout. It also depends on the neighbors, because not everyone can imagine living in a house with several students – among other things, there is great concern about loud shared parties.
“It’s not uncommon for a landlord to call and ask: There’s a student from abroad, what’s he like, does he even speak English? Can you trust him? That happens all the time,” confirms Ernst Schulten: “You can in every culture have someone they can trust or not. Something like this can happen with German but also foreign students. We always try to get the landlord to be open and understanding for the typical problems that can arise in intercultural communication “And if things get really bad, we’ll come and mediate.”
In addition, says Schulten: “Those who have had positive experiences will continue to be happy to rent to foreigners in the future.”
Background: How expensive are apartments, shared rooms, etc.?
The Aschaffenburg Hotel Wilder Mann, among others, offers three different apartment sizes and two different double room sizes for special prices for longer stays. Prices are calculated per day and depending on the length of stay. In category A, the best and therefore most expensive category of apartments, the day costs 78 euros for a period of seven days or more. Cleaning and breakfast are not included; residents have to pay for them. If the student stays for a month, he only pays 60 euros; if the subscription period is at least six weeks, the price per day is reduced to 49 euros. For the smaller apartments, the costs are reduced by around ten euros.
The TH also arranges accommodation online via an accommodation portal – accommodation should preferably be in the city or in the surrounding area in order to enable students to travel to the university quickly. A look at various housing portals reveals: Renting a one-room apartment in the city of Aschaffenburg but also in the countryside costs around 450 to 500 euros on average. According to the real estate agent Engel und Völkers, a room in a shared apartment costs 400 euros cold. That’s not cheap.
What is it like in other student cities? In Berlin, students pay an average of 500 to 600 euros for a one-room apartment. In Frankfurt, the basic rent for such an apartment is on average 700 to 800 euros. Of course, it can always be more expensive, but also cheaper. (pink)
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