Students put off by lack of places to stay

Students are choosing not to study at Otago Polytechnic's Cromwell campus because of a lack of suitable accommodation. Backpacker accommodation is the only option for some.

Central Otago director Jean Tilleyshort told the polytechnic's council meeting last week the problem was worst for younger and international students, who required a ''bit more supervision and support''.

Being forced to stay at backpackers, as some students were, was not ideal, Ms Tilleyshort said.

''The backpacker accommodation tends to have a lot of transient workers in it and some of our younger students and particularly our international students are being exposed to behaviour and patterns of drinking ... that they are not really comfortable with.''

Asked by a council member whether this was causing students not to study at the campus she said: ''We know that there are a number of people who have come and talked to us that were keen to do the programmes, who haven't ... [enrolled] because they haven't found a suitable place [to stay].''

The campus hoped to have more suitable accommodation available before a group of 18 and 19-year-old Chilean students arrived at the campus over the Christmas holidays.

''We are talking with some of the local landlords and potential developers and also with one of the local backpacker-type places,'' she said.

One of the options being considered was converting part of a backpackers into specialised accommodation for students.

As of 2011, Otago Polytechnic's Cromwell campus served about 200 equivalent full time students.


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