The purpose of this blog is very simple: I want to highlight how impossible it is to find accommodation in The Netherlands, and how easy it is to find accommodation in Colombia.
Originally, I was a GLOCAL going to the Erasmus University of Rotterdam for her last year of the program, as I am highly interested in Creative Industries. My partner looked for a degree for himself there, so that we could all move to The Netherlands and spend a year studying. We bought tickets and had everything ready, except one thing: a place to live.
We thought two months ahead would be enough time to find our sweet new home. Yet, it was impossible. We were both looking for six hours a day, every day, and couldn’t find anything. We even went to Rotterdam — we had already bought the tickets anyway! — to see if that would make things easier. I went to negotiate in-person with two Airbnb landlords. The monthly fee for a studio went down from £2,200 to £2,000 thanks to the visit! It sounds crazy, so, I will explain the reasons why this happened to us:
- We are a family with a baby, so student accommodations and anti-squat places wouldn’t accept us.
- To rent a flat, landlords ask for a monthly salary 3x the amount of the rent, and you have to work in The Netherlands. In case of having a guarantor, this person should earn 5x the amount of the rent.
- Sharing accommodation with friends is very complicated in The Netherlands, as municipalities have strict rules about how many people can live in one place (tax related, I guess…). So, even if it was a three-bedroom apartment, they would only allow a couple to live in it.
- Temporary accommodation, like Airbnb, was unbelievably expensive, being £2,000 the monthly average for a small studio.
All of this said, Rotterdam became a burden that we couldn’t afford. So, I had to change tracks to go to University of Los Andes, in Colombia, and get everything ready in a couple of weeks. The first thing I checked was the accommodation situation in Bogotá to make sure we were going to be able to find a house. And we did! I found a flat, with lots of space in the living room for our baby to crawl around, and very close to the Uni. It was $500 per month, which is within the range of what is affordable for a GLOCAL scholarship holder.
Moving continents back and forth with a nine-month-old baby wasn’t the easiest, but GLOCAL staff and UniAndes were very helpful and agile in making it happen. Changing tracks to Bogotá was a difficult decision, but, overall, it was a great experience, and totally worth it.