By Imasha Costa
With the announcement of the university returning back onto campus, the hunt for accommodation has taken students out of their comfort zones, in the hunt for a place to live, whilst attending in-campus lectures. Cork City has seen an increase in the students’ demand for accommodation. Cork students nearly spend the summer searching for accommodation online, and this could last for nearly hours and hours every day for several months.
UCC President John O’Halloran, sent out a university-wide email, on the 25th of August, which mentioned that students would return to campus on the 13th of September. Many students were given three weeks notice of having to search for accommodation. Websites such as Daft. ie advertise accommodation above 600 euros a month usually, which is not feasible for many students. Therefore, many students resort to social media to find accommodation. Groups on Facebook or stories on Instagram usually allowed students to find a place to live, however, these places are also prone to rent scams.
On speaking to one UCC student, Claudia Zedda, an international student that is in her third year of International Development and Food Policy discusses how she struggled to find accommodation for the upcoming academic year. As an international student, many are prone to searching for accommodation online, resulting in being roped into “luxurious” student accommodation that is aimed especially at international students.
Ms Zedda states that it’s harder to find accommodation in Ireland when you are not living there.
‘It’s difficult, you try to email as many landlords as possible on either daft or Facebook, and most of the time only 20 per cent of the people that you contact reply the day after, and it is just very unorganized. You are excluded from finding a house if you are not living in Ireland and I was in Italy for a month where I was searching for a place to live as I was desperate for a room and I only eventually did because a girl that I knew in college had a room going in her place.’
‘It took me nearly 3 weeks until I found a place to live. I had posted something on Instagram and the person that I am living with now, was like “there is a room here if you want it.”’
Claudia was able to find the place that she currently lives in at the end of August, which was two weeks before college was meant to start. As an international student, Claudia states that this is not feasible especially when moving from another country and the desperate unknown of whether there would be a place to live or not.
Sheila’s hostel and Brú Bar in Cork City has noted that they have seen an increase in Irish and international students that are searching for accommodation. At the moment, Sheila’s hostel hosts approximately 100 students, with most of them being Irish students. However, the Brú Bar Hostel states that they host more international students, and do not allow long-term stays. This incentive that only allows students to stay for a maximum of seven days makes them eager to find a place whilst living in the city, allowing them to view rooms and or houses.
On speaking to another UCC Student, Chloe Boland, Chairperson of the Feminist Society, she stated that finding housing in Cork City before the academic year was a nightmare. Originally from Tipperary, Chloe was living in Cork City initially in student accommodation provided by UCC. However, she did eventually move out into a college house with her friends. Misreading the contract, Chloe did not realise that the rent they were being charged was actually more than what they were paying. The landlord at the time was charging around 520 euros every 2 weeks for a place that was not even in a decent condition. Deciding not to renew her contract for the upcoming academic year, Chloe was once again left to search for a place to live before the academic year started which at the beginning was not successful. Chloe and her friends were scouting through different accommodation websites for hours and hours of their days over the summer trying to find a place but were unsuccessful. Chloe was eventually able to find a place to live after a friend had offered a room.
Students have been struggling to find a place to live since universities in Cork had announced the return of students back onto campus. Chloe’s and Claudia’s stories are not the only ones that are there. Talking to other UCC students has allowed myself to understand that some still do commute to and from the city.
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