Four new walls in Holland

Student housing in Delft, the perennial pebble in the shoe of international students in search of best value for their rent money. So what do some new internationals think of their new (Duwo) homes?

A common point of discussion among many new international students residing in Duwo accommodations is the relatively secluded atmosphere of the housing. “I don’t even know the name of the person living next door,” says Patrick Lim, from Indonesia, an MSc Architecture student living in Roland Holstlaan. MSc Architecture student, Ignacio Basterrechea, from Guatemala, a Sebastiansburg resident, concurs: “Because both the building and apartments lack common spaces, it’s really easy to feel isolated. My roommate is my best friend here and probably the one I spend most time with.” 

The students felt this situation ran contrary to what student housing should be: lively, thriving places to live. Kristian Groth, from Germany, an MSc Integrated Product Design student, is however pleased with his on-campus Space Box home: “It doesn’t feel secluded. That I can reach out to my neighbors and others living close by is an advantage.”

Regarding Duwo’s services, some students were satisfied, while others complained of problems like broken furniture and slow responses to complaints. “The services are good, but the response to problems isn’t so satisfactory,” Lim says. “It’s difficult to get help immediately. We must wait for a couple of days, and when I call up the office, I don’t get the impression that there are many professionals there to handle problems.”

Groth held a similar opinion: “Sometimes they’re quick about things; for instance, when the heaters stopped working, the fixing was pushed by Duwo and was made alright in no time. But minor problems aren’t always immediately attended to, and sometimes these small problems affect day-to-day life.” Ignacio was pleased with the minimal paperwork that comes with renting a Duwo accommodation: “I’m content with the services provided by Duwo, considering the fact that you don’t have to deal with several Dutch companies for different services. All I need to do is call up the caretaker and he takes care of the rest.”

Cem Korkmaz, from Turkey, also a Sebastiansburg resident, agrees. “Duwo saves me quite some bureaucracy. Service providers, like ENECO, have an unreliable reputation: many peers of mine say they’ve been charged excessive bills for things they didn’t use.”

One-time fee

In the past, international students have complained about the high costs thrust on students for compulsorily buying of utensil boxes and overpriced linen and furniture. Duwo has since taken steps to counter these complaints, even starting a pilot project this year in providing unfurnished rooms.

Jayadeep Premnath, a first-year MSc student from India, moved into an unfurnished Duwo room this year. “When I came to Delft and accepted the keys for my room, I knew it would be an empty room,” he recalls. “Yet it was really exhausting after a 12-hour flight to see no bed in your room or even a chair to rest on. It took me about a week to buy the essential furniture. I wish Duwo had a system where they’d arrange furniture at a one-time, fixed rate for students who choose unfurnished rooms. Providing unfurnished rooms is a good initiative from Duwo, but newcomers will find it difficult to arrange everything by themselves in a totally new country.”

Although it was international students themselves who pushed Duwo for the unfurnished room option, many now see the drawbacks. A one-time fee from Duwo for furnishing a room seems a reasonable proposal, given that Duwo’s ‘utensil box’ sale was deemed a success. Cem agrees, noting that without housing amenities like furniture, utensils and services, “Duwo places are pointless to rent”.

As for the fair pricing aspect of Duwo accommodations, dissatisfaction remains. “The cost is too high,” Groth says. “You can get bigger spaces for much less outside Duwo. 400 euros for a 16m2 space is too much. Maybe 350 euros maximum for such a space.” Lim agrees: “If I can find a cheaper accommodation outside, I’ll move out.” Ignacio however was pessimistic about finding places outside Duwo: “In Delft it’s really hard for international students to find apartments. It’s as simple as that.” 

By now many students have probably seen guys and girls around campus playing with sticks that look like butterfly-nets, but if they’re not paying any attention to any butterflies flying around then for sure they’re playing lacrosse. 

Lacrosse, considered the oldest North American sport, dating from as early as the 5th century, was a game that Native American Indians played for fun but also as a means of resolving conflicts, healing the sick and developing strong, virile men. At that time, a lacrosse ‘team’ consisted of hundreds, or even thousands of players, with goals often set miles apart and one game lasting for as long as three days.

Since then lacrosse has undergone many modifications, with the first written rules appearing in the mid-19th century, yet nevertheless the main object of the game has remained unchanged: the player needs to shoot a rubber ball into the opponent’s goal. Today several variations of lacrosse are played around the world, including men’s and women’s field lacrosse, box lacrosse (played indoors), polocrosse (played on horseback) and beach lacrosse (3 against 3 players played on the beach).

Field lacrosse, the most common variation, is played outdoors on a football-sized field (100 x 55 m), with 10 players per team: a goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. Each player carries a lacrosse stick and wears protective equipment – helmet, gloves, elbow and chest pads. Up until the 1930s, all lacrosse was played on large fields outdoors; however, the owners of Canadian hockey arenas invented a compact, indoor version of the game, called box lacrosse, which meant that despite the severe winters in some lacrosse-playing countries the game could go on throughout the winter
The women’s game differs from men’s lacrosse in several ways, however. The most significant difference from the men’s game is the absence of body contact and protective equipment. Moreover, women’s lacrosse sticks are of a slightly different design, making it harder to catch a pass and run with the ball when it’s inside the stick’s pocket.

Traditionally, lacrosse has largely been played in Canada and the US, but recently the game has begun flourishing at the internatioanal level in many other parts of the world, particularly in Europe and east Asia, and including in the Netherlands as well, which now has a semi-professional ‘Netherlands Lacrosse League’. The sport is also growing in popularity at TU Delft, which has both men’s and women’s teams – the Delft Barons and Delft Diamonds. The Delft Barons compete at the highest level in the Netherlands and Delft Diamonds will start as a new team in the Netherlands Lacrosse League’s second division. Both clubs welcome new members.

If you’re interested in joining a lacrosse team at TU Delft or would just to see what this game is all about, both the Delft Barons and Delft Diamonds practice twice weekly – on Mondays (21:00-23:00) and Wednesdays (20:00-22:00) – on the fields of the TU Delft Sports Center.

Redacteur Redactie

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