Finding a roof over your head is among the pre-departure essentials for any international student, especially when most universities in The Netherlands do not offer dormitories. Trust me, finding a stay here as an international (or not) can be even harder than becoming a Harvard student.
First thing is to know reliable housing sources. There are of course plenty of trust-worthy housing websites in NL that you can reach out:
SSH is commonly recommended by your desired university when it comes to student housing. One thing to remember is to register for a room as soon as possible, starting from the very first moment that vacancies are opened. One big plus is that having an SSH account is totally FREE, as long as you have an acceptance letter from your institution. However, one thing you might need to consider is that SSH normally offers stays for only first year Bachelor’s or Master’s students, which means after one year, you need to move out and find a new stay.
Kamernet is also a good name when looking for housing in The Netherlands. With a Kamernet premium account, you can search, filter, respond to rooms and arrange viewings with the landlords in any city in Netherlands, unlimitedly.
With this website, you can find stay in more than 300 cities in Europe, whether it comes to rooms, apartments or short-stays. You can filter your preferences using the website’s filtering options ranging from sizes, type of room, distance from city center, and even the possibility to register with the city municipalities.
Still no luck with housing websites? Then hopefully you can still look for something from groups on other platforms (e.g. Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.) However, be mindful of some below life-lessons gained from our fellow students in The Netherlands:
1. NEVER PAY until you (or your friends) see the room with your own eyes
There are of course lots of scams, and many first-time students fall for this. One useful tip is to rent a room from someone you know well enough. In case you cannot view the room in person, make sure that you can video call the landlord or whoever owns the room, even when they promise to send you pictures and videos. Or it is better to have someone you trust to view the room for you.
There are actually some keywords to spot SCAMMERS, things like ‘the owner is currently abroad‘, or “I am away for holiday“, “I’ll send the keys once the contract is signed“, or “NO physical viewing possible at the moment”. Those are 100% SCAMS!!!
2. Still in doubt? Google the image
If the room looks too good to be true: shiny floors, classy furniture, neat and tidy kitchen, etc. everything is low-priced, be CAREFUL!!. You can avoid such potential scams by Googling the images first. If you see the room images elsewhere on a website, then highly likely that the person steal the images and try to scam innocent newbies.
3. Never trust new Facebook account with silly avatar/ unreal names
If you see a Facebook account with a very ridiculous name, or a newly created account. Based on my experience, these types of accounts are MAJORLY scammers. So have a good eye on whom you will pay your money to!
Hope my tips will give you a helpful hand on being scam-free when finding your shelter!