Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
18 June 2024

Campus
& Culture

‘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.

 

Comment?

Stick to the subject and show respect: commercial expressions, defamation, swearing and discrimination are not allowed. Comments with URLs in them are often mistaken for spam and then deleted. Editors do not discuss deleted comments.

Fields with * are obligated
** your email address will not be published and we will not share it with third parties. We only use it if we would like to contact you about your response. See also our privacy policy.