Accommodating international students: help with housing would be a start

Laurie Berg (UTS ), Bassina Farbenblum (UNSW) and colleagues surveyed international students on their housing experiences – what they found is disgraceful

Some 36 per cent of international students move into shared housing when they arrive – and over half of them are exploited, by deceit over what they would get, by over-crowding and exploitation by owners.

Perhaps not surprising given 98 per cent of them organise their own housing, often via social media. And they do so, “without assistance from their university or college.”

“The findings underscore the need for education providers to provide housing services that assist international students to find decent share-houses and evaluate housing offered on-line, both offshore and onshore.”

It’s the least institutions, particularly in big cities, could do in return for the international student fees that keep roofs over vice chancellors’ heads.

Ditto state and federal governments who are very keen indeed on international students as review streams.

“There is a clear need for increased government enforcement to break cycles of impunity and hold accountable the many accommodation providers who are repeatedly engaging in deceptive and exploitative practices in relation to international students. At the same time, the data indicates a pressing need to strengthen international students’ legal rights and access to justice, particularly in share houses, boarding houses and elsewhere in the marginal rental sector,” Berg and Farbenblum state.

The survey is part of a project, funded, to its credit, by the NSW government (CMM April 10).


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