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 your housing 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? Try the university’s Alternative Accommodation Handbook.
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 what is called co-optation.
Why is co-optation used?
Co-optation is used because it has a number of benefits:
- It offers people the opportunity to live with roommates who have similar preferences and interests. This results in a good vibe in the student houses, and minimises the chance of conflicts occurring.
- You know what kind of people you’ll be living with before you move in. This is great, as it allows you to feel safe in your new home.
- Co-optation results in student houses filled with people who are committed to their house and each other. This makes it easier to make clear agreements with each other, and offers you some people to socialise with right from the start.
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. It should help tenants to already get a bit of an impression of you. The message should include the following information:
- Your name, age, and study
- Your hobbies and interests
- 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.
- Tell something about yourself in your first message to the tenants. Do not just write you are interested in the room – this will appear like you do not really care and usually means an immediate rejection.
- Do not bring family or friends to the interview. The interview is about you, not about your lovely friend or mother. If you are traveling with them, ask them to wait elsewhere.
- Do not make promises you ca not or will not keep during your interview. This will lead to tensions once you have moved in.
- Show an interest in your potential roommates. Ask them questions too!
- While interviewing, be clear about what you expect and want. This way you can all make clear agreements before you move in.
- Currently, many of the student houses on campus are mainly inhabited by Dutch students. Being able to speak Dutch, or demonstrating a willingness to learn the language may be an advantage during the co-optation process!
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:
- Get to know your roommates! They can become your friends for life if you invest time and energy in them and the house.
- Most of the student houses will come with certain practical agreements between roommates. For example: whether and how often you will cook and eat dinner together; how and when you have to opt out of dinner; cleaning of common rooms; purchases of shared goods and groceries; and which social activities will be engaged in together. These may include special evenings devoted to the house, organising collective parties, or going out together. Ask about existing arrangements, and keep the promises you make.
- If you run into something you do not understand or cannot execute, talk about it! Ask about what it means, and possibilities for work arounds. If your roommates do not know what is going on in your mind, they cannot take your wishes into account.
- The cost of expensive purchases and unexpected bills to the house will often be split. Take this into account. In some houses meetings will be called to discuss these things.
- At many houses the living room is considered the social corner. If you are interested in socialising, this is the perfect place to hang out. If you want to study quietly, your room or the library may be a better fit.