Onafhankelijke journalistiek over de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | Sinds 1953
13 juli 2024

& Cultuur

‘It was exhausting trying to find accommodation’

How are you doing, after almost two years of pandemic? There is even a chance that students will be confined to their rooms for the third spring in a row this year. In this ten-part series seven Dutch and three international staff members and students tell us how they are faring. Part six: Salma Bel Lahdab, third-year student from Spain.

“Covid caused of course a lot of uncertainty. Apart from that I was very busy with house hunting. I do feel very lucky with my current situation. I received an offer for a room from someone who saw articles about our protest. And we both had a mutual connection who got us in touch. I’m really happy where I ended up. Yet I don’t know how long this room will be available for me. I take it as a sign that maybe I’ll have to leave Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I don’t see myself going through another hunt for housing. It would be the fourth or fifth time and it’s not worth it going through that again.

When a few students and I organized a housing protest on the VU campus, I also needed to find accommodation. My brother did me a favor by allowing me to stay with him, but I could not remain there. When we decided to organize the protest, we worked on it constantly for nine days, so I had less time and energy to look for houses. I find it beautiful to help others as an activist. The support and appreciation we received gave me a lot of energy.  Once the protest was over, I realized: oh shit, I still don’t have a place. It was exhausting, overwhelming and stressful trying to find accommodation while keeping up with my studies.

Time to rest

After being away from Spain for two years, I visited my family in Mallorca after I found accommodation. When you’re desperately looking for housing, it’s impossible to plan anything because you might be invited to a viewing at any moment. On short-notice I decided to see my family for five days. I don’t become homesick easily, but afterwards I was surprised how much I needed that time to rest.”

Also read: 
Pandamn it (6): Anthropologist Younes Saramifar. And in Dutch, Pandemoe (1): VU Amsterdam host Corrie Koning, Pandemoe (2): Student Nathanael Korfker, Pandemoe (3): sports instructor Mickey Richards and Pandemoe (5) Professor of New Testament Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte.