Virtual Summits Season One


Tuesday, June 2nd
17:00 – 18:15 CEST


VIRTUAL TOUR BCOME Madrid – Juan Acosta Managing Director of Greystar, Jeffrey Sujar CEO of Syllabus by Urbania

EDUCATION UPDATE Pia Moret Garbayo Director of the Office of the Inter-University Council of Catalonia & Secretariat for Universities and Research, Ministry of Economy and Knowledge

MODERATORS Philip Hillman Chair of Living Capital Markets at JLL, Yoony Kim Managing Director of The Class of 2020

PANELISTS Eri Cuanalo CEO of Collegiate, Charlie Macgregor CEO of The Student Hotel, Christopher Holloway Growth & New Business Director at GSA, Christopher Hütwohl Managing Director Spain at Corestate Capital Partners 

Approximately 800,000 international students went to Spain’s university cities this year. Many of them left when universities and language schools were abruptly closed in March. Today most universities are yet to decide how they will reopen their campuses. Surveys show that students are still eager to go abroad, although close to 50% of international students worldwide may postpone or cancel their September plans. The government seeks to help students and the sector with increased funding for scholarships and study grants. Student housing providers are reorganising communal spaces and working closely with universities to accommodate safe ways of living and learning. In this summit we will ask key operators and university representatives how they are preparing for the next year. What does it take to create a corona-proof campus or residence? Which of the 94,057 beds of PBSA currently operated will be most popular and what are the plans for the 21,305 beds still in the pipeline across Spain? How can we work together to ensure Spain will regain its appeal for international talent?




Thursday, June 18th
17:00 – 18:15 CEST


VIRTUAL TOUR The Student Hotel Vienna

EDUCATION UPDATE Karl Wöber President of MODUL University as well as President of Austrian Private University Conference, John Dishman Pro-Vice-Chancellor CEO at the University of Coventry

MODERATORS Samuel Vetrak CEO of BONARD, Yoony Kim Managing Director of The Class of 2020

PANELISTS Thomas Wuensche Senior Director Germany and Austria at Greystar, Gary Clarke CEO of Milestone, Armon Bar-Tur CEO of BaseCamp, Thomas Lebinger Deputy Head of Student Housing at OEAD, Piotr Sawicki Board Member of SAWAWA

The region is home to nearly 2.2 million students combined. Many come from surrounding Ukraine, Belarus and Slovakia for English-taught courses or from Germany and other parts of Western Europe for attractive value-for-money propositions.

But internationalisation has not been embraced evenly and new developments may shake up the region’s higher education landscape. Austria is leading the way with English taught programmes and diverse degree subjects offered by highly reputable universities. Recently ranked 9th worldwide for international connectivity in higher education, Austria has welcomed the prominent Central Eastern University, forced to retreat from Budapest to Vienna due to government restrictions. Meanwhile, Hungary has partnered with China’s Fudan University to develop a branch campus project in Budapest, sure to welcome new talent demographics to the city but also raising doubts about the sustainability of politicizing higher education.

Poland will see a branch campus of UK institution Coventry University open in Wroclaw in September, likely to diversify its international student population of which over half currently come from Ukraine. The Czech Republic has been a rising star amongst Erasmus students in particular, with both Prague and Brno ranked among the top 10 student cities globally last year. With shifting expectations towards international accommodation norms, some have predicted that Austria and Central and Eastern Europe will become increasingly attractive for student accommodation investors in the next 4-8 years.

With the impact of COVID-19 relatively contained in Central and Eastern Europe compared with Western European counterparts, will international student numbers stay stable through this crisis? What will the impact of the current crisis be on the region’s nascent student accommodation market? How can we work together to foster the full potential of Central and Eastern Europe’s university-cites?



Tuesday, June 30th
10:00 – 11:30 CEST

PART 1: How are the universities and university-cities responding?

MODERATORS: Yoony Kim Managing Director of The Class of 2020, Frank Uffen Co-founder of The Class of 2020

PANELISTS: Paul Tholenaars Director of Kences, Jacqueline van Marle Head of Marketing and Communications, External and International Affairs at The Hague University of Applied Sciences Frans Snijders Director International Office VU University Amsterdam

EXPERT INTERMEZZO: Bartjan Zoetmulder from Loyens & Loeff

PART 2: How are the housing market players responding?

MODERATORS: Yoony Kim Managing Director of The Class of 2020, Bas Wilberts Head of Alternative Investment at Savills NL

PANELISTS: Felix Hillen Managing Director at The Student Hotel, Mark Kuijpers Managing Director the Netherlands of Greystar. Djordy Seelmann CEO of HousingAnywhere

Over the past 10 years, Dutch university cities became Europe’s fastest-growing innovation and global talent hubs.  Cities such as Groningen, Maastricht, Eindhoven, and the Randstad area successfully attracted talent from around the world to study, work, or start a business. The share of international students grew from 5.5% of students in 2007 to 12.3% this year, accounting for 95,000students. The Amsterdam region alone had 176.000 international professionals in 2017, climbing 9% annually since 2010. The perfect mix of high quality, English taught education, post-study-work-visa schemes and attractive investment conditions led to growing cities with flourishing universities, booming start-ups scenes, innovation districts, and thousands of new units of housing for students and talent.

But success started taking its toll. In the last few years, political sentiment turned on Holland’s internationalisation approach, making it something many of us had to defend and contain instead of accelerate and celebrate. Yet, nothing could have stopped what COVID-19 did in just 3 months. Campuses and offices have closed and many international students and professionals have become isolated from family and friends. The next academic year remains highly uncertain, the housing market is turning and hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk.

In this summit, we investigate both the immediate and long-term impact of the crisis. With leaders in higher education, government, and the real estate industry we will look at the next academic year and beyond. We will explore how we can save and restart the economy of Dutch university cities via collaboration, investment, and innovation. How can we as a region come out of this crisis better, save jobs, and resolve the housing crisis to provide a sustainable knowledge ecosystem with opportunities for all talent?




Tuesday, July 14th
10:00 – 11:30 CEST


MODERATORS Stuart Osborn Head of European Residential Investment Transactions at Knight Frank, Frank Uffen Co-Founder of The Class of 2020

PANELISTS Ulrike Hagendorf Research Manager European Residential at Catella, Brian Welsh CEO of Nido Student, Leonie Ackermann Board member of FZS (national union of student associations in Germany), Gerrit Bruno Blöss Founder and CEO of, Benjamin Röber-Rathay Director, Product Development and Systems at International Campus, Christiane Schmeken Director Strategy for DAAD

Germany maintains a reputation for promoting international higher education beyond the industry itself. An acknowledgment of the long-term socio-economic benefits international students bring to Germany has resulted in the country’s offer of a package global talent can’t refuse: free tuition, a relatively low cost of living compared with neighbouring countries, thousands of English taught programmes from among the highest-ranked universities worldwide, post-study visa pathways, ample job opportunities and a robust healthcare system. Even with COVID-19, the government has stood firmly by its proposition, dedicating 100 million euros to support students undergoing financial hardship and maintaining steady funding for the universities. The response from international students has been promising. In a recent survey, nearly 75% indicate they still intend to come to Germany for the autumn semester, 68% wanting to come “as soon as possible.”  

However, if not managed sustainably German university-cites risk their success turning into a challenge. The student unions say that the financial support from the governments and universities is far from enough, especially given many students have lost incomes during the crisis. The Deutsches Studentenwerk, which has traditionally supplied the majority of student beds in the country, reports that 44% of students require over a month to search and secure accommodation, a figure heightened in Western German cities and classic university cities. Competing land use values in desirable locations, twinned with high land acquisition and building costs have limited opportunities for growth in student housing, and shared living supply. Planning policy has mostly not kept pace with the innovation housing providers are ready to deploy to meet the needs of incoming talent.  

Can Germany successfully accommodate international students wanting to come back? And will they come back? How can Germany lead the way not just in emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, but also in trailblazing the new living, working and learning environments global talent is demanding?