Hall crisis hits overseas bid

September 5, 2003

Student unions in Germany have warned the education ministry not to over-promote a multimillion-euro international marketing campaign without first ensuring the country's cities can accommodate an influx of foreign students.

According to the students' union (DSW), international students already have difficulty finding accommodation and the government's €14 million (£9.6 million) campaign to draw top students and academics from abroad will only increase the problem if it is not tackled.

One of the main problems is the lack of halls of residences. There are more than 1.8 million people studying in Germany but only 221,000 places in halls.

Andrea Hoops, from the DSW, said: "Halls of residence are the best place for international students. It is easier for them to integrate into German society and have the chance to learn the language better. The government is spending millions advertising our facilities abroad, but here the basic conditions, such as accommodation, are not being met."

The only option left for the 88 per cent of undergraduates without student accommodation is private housing, which in many cities proves far too expensive.

Education minister Edelgard Bulmahn said she wanted to promote German universities abroad not only to attract the best scientists and academics, but also to help international relations.

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