Finding a room for international exchange students becomes easier

Leuphana GmbH bietet Unterstützung

2023-05-15 The shortage of rooms, which is affecting more and more places of study, is a well-known problem and has increased throughout Europe in recent years. In Lüneburg, too, the situation is always tight during the winter semester, but the last two winter semesters were particularly difficult for students looking for a room, first due to the termination of corona-related online studies and then due to the additional accommodation of refugees from Ukraine. Thus, some postponed the start of their studies or bridged days, weeks or months with short-term solutions.

"We are happy about every room offer," says Tanja Schaefer from the Accomodation Service. ©Leuphana Universität/Jannis Muser
"We are happy about every room offer," says Tanja Schaefer from the Accomodation Service.

"For international students in particular, this time is very stressful, because unlike people from Germany, there are often language difficulties, sometimes a time difference and the peculiarities of finding a room in Germany, e.g. that rooms are usually unfurnished, but furniture can be seen in photos. Unlike many German students, there is rarely the possibility of commuting or staying with friends for a while. As if that weren't enough potential for stress, we unfortunately also noticed increased activity by scammers and fraudsters in the last winter semester, who specifically responded to English-language requests," explains Tanja Schaefer from the Accommodation Service of the International Office.

While international students starting a regular course of study should definitely aim for unfurnished rooms and also have a chance of finding rooms on the applicant lists of the hall of residence operators, the number of rooms available for international exchange students is even smaller. The purchase of furniture and equipment for one or two semesters is often expensive and not very sustainable, the loading and disposal is time-consuming and often those offering rooms are looking for longer-term contracts. However, Leuphana University does not leave students to deal with these problems on their own. The Accommodation Service, which is part of the International Office, offers support in finding a room and helps by arranging contacts and is the contact person for questions about housing or finding accommodation and has therefore also been able to prevent people from being scammed. "Fortunately, we have contact with people who are happy to rent furnished and equipped rooms to internationals on a temporary basis. We also try to encourage Leuphana students who are doing a semester abroad themselves to sublet their room to exchange students. We create trust for both sides and both have an additional contact person. The experience has been good, but sometimes it is difficult to arrange, because many shared flats like to do castings, for example, or they change their plans at short notice so that the room is occupied, but then this is not communicated or not understood and we are often only informed about it late or when asked. Therefore, the fixed contingent of rooms we had until the start of the pandemic created a special security for those who want to have the room search done early and safely and would rather not start their stay than arrive without a room in the worst case," says Tanja Schaefer.

In order to set up a new room contingent with leaner administration, the Accomodation Service is now cooperating with Leuphana GmbH, i.e. the contact for tailor-made workshops, seminars, consulting and coaching services at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. "Through the cooperation with the International Office, we are now able to provide support for students not only indirectly, but also directly," says Christoph Kleineberg, the managing director of Leuphana GmbH, "we have rented twelve furnished rooms so far since September, some equipped with mattress, blanket, etc., and sublet them to exchange students. The cooperation with the International Office works very well and we will probably expand the contingent further. Perhaps we will also furnish rooms that would then be directly on campus, or also rent and sublet flats according to the principle, so that international researchers also have less stress before their start at Leuphana University. There are many possibilities." Tanja Schaefer adds: "This way, students can decide for or against a room without WG castings, competition and enquiries, which saves a lot of time.

The Accommodation Service has set itself the goal of supporting all internationals at Leuphana in their search for accommodation. Information and contact details can be found at

For this reason, the Accommodation Service is always on the lookout for free rooms, furnished or unfurnished, as well as flats or houses for interim or long-term rent. This is because the enquiries range from internship stays and exchanges to regular study periods or the start of a job. Anyone who offers free accommodation or knows of one is welcome to contact Tanja Schaefer at or by phone on 04131/677-2646.

From 15 May, the exchange students register bindingly for the exchange and in the summer the admissions go out. "There will be a lot to do again. We are happy about every room offer. Anyone who doesn't have a room but would like to welcome the international students at the beginning of September or October, for example, accompany them to their accommodation and support them in their arrival in Germany is cordially invited to sign up as a buddy. If you don't have time at the arrival times, but would like to help during the semester, you are welcome to apply as a supporter. Maybe if he or she has started as an international at Leuphana and would like to support someone who is in this situation now. In both cases, please send an email to"

Enquiries and contact

  • Tanja Schaefer