Analysis of the latest GSL Index data for a recently released GSL/CUBO report highlights that while international students are twice as likely to prioritise living alone as their UK counterparts, this appears to be driven by a desire for privacy rather than a lack of interest in connecting with other students.

The GSL/CUBO report, which has a particular focus on the experience and expectations of the UK’s three largest sending markets, China, India and Nigeria, highlights that communal spaces and social events continue to be critical to the student accommodation experience, but there are some differences between nationalities. Indian and Nigerian students appear to value informal opportunities to make connections more than those from China and the UK, with communal spaces higher on the list of priorities when searching for accommodation.  For Nigerian students, communal spaces are so critical, that these are a driver of overall satisfaction with their accommodation. One in ten Nigerian, Indian and UK students would pay more rent in return for improved communal spaces.

Further evidence of the importance for international students of connecting with others is that students from China, India and Nigeria, are significantly more likely than students from the UK to say they want more social events. Although Chinese students are less likely to say they would pay more, 15% of Nigerian students and 11% of Indian students would pay increased rent in exchange for improved social events. While social events are not a driver of satisfaction with management for the broader student cohort, they are a driver of satisfaction with management for students from China, India and Nigeria. This highlights the importance for accommodation providers of understanding student expectations in this area.

The full GSL/CUBO report Future Proof: meeting the diverse needs of international students, explores student expectations around social spaces and events in further detail, and is available to download via the CUBO website.