International students don’t have to waste away in the city: enough has been arranged to deal with their corona-related problems. That is the result of a survey initiated by the CDA (Christian Democratic Party) group.
At the initiative of Councillor Miriam Frosi of the CDA, council questions were asked last month about corona-related problems among foreign students in Eindhoven. Born and raised in Italy, Frosi herself also arrived in the city as a newcomer, hence the involvement.
“Sixteen percent of the students at Eindhoven University of Technology are international,” she says. “In these troubling corona times, they sometimes have serious problems: many have lost their side jobs and struggle to pay tuition, rent and groceries. Loneliness is also a problem among the students.” It could have dramatic effects for Eindhoven if these problems make the city lose its attractiveness to international students, Frosi emphasises. She is referring to the big tech companies, who badly need talent from across the border.
The answers to the council’s questions show that the municipality of Eindhoven is well aware of the distressing situation of international students in the city. A corona portal has been created especially for this occasion, where students can find referrals to all kinds of organisations if they need help. The Eindhoven city council also states that international students, like any other citizen in the city, can make temporary use of facilities such as the food bank. However, this also depends on the assessment of individual applications. The municipality also wants to help tackle students’ psychological problems. Just like other residents, students can use the basic facilities for this. In addition, teachers and coaches associated with educational institutions also play a role in this. “I am happy to read this,” says Frosi.
At a national level, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has taken measures to alleviate the financial need of the students. Students who have graduated receive a compensation amount. Those who have finished their studies do not have to pay, as usual, for the entire academic year, but can pay with three months of tuition, which is considerably less. A solution has also been found for unpaid rent or rent arrears. Because of these measures, the municipality of Eindhoven sees no reason to conduct additional discussions about this problem itself.
Still, Frosi wants to make aid to students even better and more visible. At the beginning of the school year, she plans to organise an informative evening that tells what Eindhoven is doing to welcome newcomers and make them feel at home. Per WhatsApp she writes: “My mission is: make Eindje a warm home for everyone ❤️”