De Anza students struggle with housing insecurity

As the pandemic wears on, international students at De Anza College are facing housing insecurity and many are suffering.

International student Grace Lim temporarily moved back to her home country during the pandemic

“I’m in Indonesia right now,” said Lim, a 17-year-old applied mathematics major. “What’s great about my place is I didn’t sign any contracts.”

Lim said her housing situation was lucky.

“I was fortunate because the house I rented a room in was owned by someone that came from a church that’s the same as the one I go to,” she said. “The house was in really good condition.”

Yuetong Zhang, 19, an international English major, also moved back home as classes remained online.

Zhang lived with her host family, so she didn’t need to go through the process of finding new housing when she moved back home to Botswana. She has no definite plans of where she will live when she returns, but she may take over a lease for her friend.

“My friend would probably be leaving in summer,” said Zhang. “We could just pay for the same place and switch places.”

Although some international students like Lim and Zhang are able to move back home, others must stay or move from place to place.

“(Finding housing) is a pretty hard thing to do if you’re international,” said Andre Zambrana, a 21-year-old game design student from Bolivia. “Housing here is very expensive, compared to my country.”

Zambrana is able to live at a relative’s house during his stay but has helped friends try to find housing in the area, with varying success.

“When I first enrolled at De Anza, I was looking into housing and have helped other friends look,” said Zambrana, “Here in California, it’s a pretty tough thing to do.”