[White Paper] UNICA calls for concerted efforts to overcome housing challenges among international students

10 June 2024 | From UNICA

[White Paper] UNICA calls for concerted efforts to overcome housing challenges among international students

UNICA has just published a white paper highlighting the urgent need to address the challenges related to housing among international students. The documents is a result of dialogue between International Relations Officers of UNICA members universities and two students organisations, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and the European Students’ Union (ESU), especially during the last UNICA IRO Meeting, which took place in November 2023 at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.

Building on the findings from ESN and ESU’s 2021 joint survey on student housing conditions, the white paper identifies a significant gap in resources available to International Relations Officers (IROs) for managing housing-related issues. To address this, the two organisations prepared a set of recommendations for Higher Education Institutions emphasizing the need for robust support structures, measures to combat scams, and initiatives to ensure equal treatment for international students. However, as presented in the document, the realisation of these recommendations and the broader aspiration for meaningful and lasting changes require collaborative endeavours.

Therefore, together with ESN and ESU, UNICA advocates for a collaborative approach involving Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), university networks, student organizations, and public authorities to foster an inclusive and supportive environment for international students.

What’s next?

With this paper, UNICA, ESN, and ESU seek to instigate actionable strategies that pave the way for a more inclusive, supportive, and secure housing environment for international students across European universities. As a result, UNICA is currently developing a novel handbook titled Handbook on Assistance to International Offices for International Student Housing.‘ This handbook aims to offer practical solutions to IROs and international offices to address housing-related issues faced by international students. It is complied with real-world input from UNICA member international offices. The handbook is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2024.

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