Foreign students struggle to find a room in Dublin
2018-11-01 13:00:32 -


By Juliette Chantitch


As of last year, Ireland has over 220,000 students in higher education. Some 10 per cent of them are from other countries, and many are living in the capital.

Or trying to live there, at least. Dublin is in the midst of a significant housing crisis, where living in the city centre in quality housing at an affordable price is more dream than reality.

Ranked the 34th best student city in the work according to the TopUniversities 2018 list, Dublin welcomes students from all over the world. But finding a place to stay has become a struggle.

At a bare minimum, students will have to fork out €200 a week for a shared bedroom and shared bathroom in a dedicated student apartment with many others like them. Add an extra €50 a week onto that for slightly more privacy.

Costs pile up if students want to avail of other services these luxury blocks provide, such as gyms, games rooms and laundry service. Many of these are not required by most students, but could be used to justify the astronomical rent.

It’s a price all of society is paying. According to Union of Students in Ireland (USI) president Síona Cahill, 429 students were counted as homeless in Ireland on the night of the last Census in 2016 - comprising eight per cent of the total homeless numbers that year.

It’s a situation that directly affects their access to education, she says, and all because they could not “find or afford suitable accommodation”.

Sometimes, students have no other choice than to stay in hostels or couch-surf with friends, rather than rough sleeping.

“There has been a failure of essential planning by Government in tangibly addressing shortages in provisions for homeless people, and slow progress in the development of much needed social housing,” Cahill adds.

Irish students have been at the forefront of protests organised to force political moves on the housing issue. ‘Raise the roof, not the rent’ is the slogan of the primary campaign which held a nationwide series of demonstrations on 3 October last.

Their protest is just beginning, which will be of cold comfort to students like Pietro, a 21-year-old from Italy who came to Dublin on the Erasmus programme in the final year of his law degree and came face to face with the city’s housing shortage.

Forced to rely on the kindness of acquaintances for his first few days here, Pietro was left with no option than to pay for student accommodation - at a cost of €1,000 a month.

“The prices in these accommodations are high because you have no other options,” he says. “You have to choose this place because otherwise you would have nowhere else to sleep. They just follow the market law.”

Pietro admits that his situation has discouraged him. “People going to Dublin as well [as me] told me to look four or five months before moving, but even they found their accommodation very late or did not find anything at all. This is a very bad situation for everyone. Especially if you are a foreign student, it’s difficult.”


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