Down & Out at the Dorm

Webster Vienna Students Find Out They Are Being Put Up in The Dumps

As the Webster Vienna campus is located in one of the most enigmatic European capitals, one would expect that the university provides housing for their mostly international students as myself within sight of St. Stephens Cathedral or the Vienna State Opera. Regrettably rather the opposite is true.

Not only is the Studentenzentrum Donaufeld on the outskirts of the city with no landmarks. The nearest public transport connection is either U1 Kagraner Platz or U6 Floridsdorf, both only reachable indirectly by tram 26.

So, it was difficult for me to instill the kind of excitement I have for this city, when students are living around hideous post-war architecture, and are restricted from the centre of the city.

Vienna is a city with so much to offer, but it is difficult to enjoy it, if you are restricted by your location. In my opinion, student housing has become a marketing failure for WUV.

I am a grizzled veteran of the university’s housing system, having traveled to four Webster campuses worldwide and  experienced their benefits and disadvantages.

Campuses like London offer housing in a beautiful central locations. Its campus is located in one of the most prestigious and attractive areas of the city, Regents Park. A beautiful park nestled in the centre, it offers the best of the city life and in a setting of cosy greenery.

While WUV has many inherent positives, there has been one lingering issue that has plagued the  campus, and that is housing.

I have met many disgruntled students who feel that their study experience here was impaired by the dissatisfying arrangements of living at a location reminiscent of a village community.
There are many alternatives, more appealing to students than the Donaufeld hostel.

When I arrived in the winter of 2006, I looked for housing off-campus. After sending only a few emails to student organisations, I got a room in a student house only walking distance to Schwedenplatz. I could have also gotten a room at other dormitories.

As an example, Heim Döblinger Hauptstrasse, located in the 19th district near Spittelau (U6/U4), administrated by home4students (www.home4students.at). It offers great single and double room facilities in a newly refurbished building with a beautiful garden for a cheaper price than what Webster students currently pay.

A hostel closer to the city center is Studentenheim Rudolfinum in the 4th district near U1 Taubstummengasse, which is run by Akademikerhilfe (www.akademikerhilfe.at), aiming at Roman Catholics with preference to first-year undergraduate students.

WUV has continued to consider the quality of student accommodation as an after-thought, instead of one of the most important aspects of promoting a University. On the contrary, it is an essential part of a positive study experience to offer high-quality housing as well as education for their students.

If WUV, however, continues down this path, they may find themselves without any students left  to accommodate.

Check for a full listing of of hostels at www.studieren.at and follow the link Studentenheime.

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