Student housing and co-optation

What is student housing?

Student housing is the primary accommodation form for students. Student housing is available in Enschede, Hengelo, and  the university’s campus. 

Student housing means you will be sharing a house with 2 to 24 roommates. Within the house, you always have your own bedroom (8m2 - 27m2). The other facilities, such as the bathroom(s), kitchen, living room, laundry facilities, and garden/balconies (if available) have to be shared with your roommates.

Houses do not just differ from each other in facilities and number of roommates, but also in the way roommates treat each other. It is common roommates become close friends, while within other houses interaction is fairly low. When looking for a room, it is important you look for a house with social norms that match your wishes. This will greatly improve the living experience for both you and your roommates. 

Through our websites we offer as many rooms as possible. Still haven’t found what you are looking for? Take a look at the university’s list of housing providers.

Caution: Sometimes it may take longer than you expect before you have found a place to live. Therefore you should start looking as soon as your application has been accepted by the university.

What is co-optation?

Your new accommodation is going to be your new home – and that is a place where you want to feel comfortable. To achieve this for everyone, matching people with similar preferences and interest to live together is highly valued in Twente. Therefore, most student houses employ a selection process for their rooms. This process is not handled by the university, but by the occupants of the houses. The result is the current tenants of student houses selecting their own roommates. This is called co-optation.

Why is co-optation used?

Co-optation is used because it has a number of benefits:

However,  like all systems, co-optation also has some aspects which may not feel great for everyone. Some students compare co-optation to applying  for a job, and consider this unpleasant. Additionally, there have been instances where it took (too) long before someone had found a suitable room. Nevertheless, the majority of students benefit of this system. 

Anyhow, keep in mind it is completely normal to have to apply for multiple rooms before you’ve found the perfect spot. Don’t doubt yourself if you receive a couple of rejections first. Sometimes it takes a while because a great number of people can apply for the same room. Sometimes it just needs some time before you and the other tenants are a match.  Starting early might prevent you from being left without a place to stay when the semester starts. 

The Student Union tries to optimise the system as much as possible. If you have an experience you wish to share, or have a suggestion for action we should take, feel free to contact us. Although we try our best to help, we cannot be held accountable for your experiences. Neither can we get you a room, as we don’t own any of the houses displayed on our website.

How do I find a room?

Most of the rooms will be offered with a short description of the room and the way roommates are expected to behave. Based on these descriptions, you should select houses that appeal to you. This way, you increase the chances the tenants would like you as their roommate. However, don’t be too critical – the more houses you apply for, the greater the chance you’ll find a room quickly!

When you’ve found a room you like, it’s time to apply. The application process starts with your first response. This first response has to be a fun note which includes some information about yourself. Such a message should help tenants to already get an impression of you. The message should include the following information: Your name, age, and study; your hobbies and interests; and what about the house appeals to you (e.g. “I like that you want to go for drinks every weekend”). However, the message is not a resume – use fewer bullet points and more humor! Reacting in this way is essential, even when the description does not explicitly prompt you to do so.

If your message has been received positively, you will be invited for an interview. Sometimes interviews are with your potential roommates only, sometimes the other applicants will also be present. Not all interviews will be the same: some are mostly practical (e.g. if you smoke or not, what your food preferences are), others will be more personal. Dutch people are known for being very forward. This means you might find some of the questions Dutch people ask to be very personal or intimate. They are not trying to offend you though, they are just trying to get know you! Sometimes the interview will feature questions which are purposely ridiculous. Do not fret about those – a good laugh can be a great bonding experience! 

When you are still living outside of the Netherlands at the time of your interview, you can request an interview through videochat. If this is the case, mention this in your first message! Unfortunately, a video interview means you can’t visit the house before agreeing to move in.

Co-optation tips

Living together, the key to success

Maybe you have lived with other students before, or maybe this is going to be your first time. Either way, we have compiled some tips to help you turn living with others into a great experience: