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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-51

Life in a University Residence: Issues, Concerns and Responses

1 Ecole de Sante Publique, Faculte de Medecine, Universite Henri Poincare Nancy, France
2 Societe Francaise de Sante Publique, Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France

Correspondence Address:
Babar T Shaikh
Senior Instructor, Health Systems Division, Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, PO Box 3500, Karachi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Context: Students living in university residences experience frail living conditions, being away from their homes and families, the stress of studies, a bizarre routine, and absence of readily available guidance. Their overall health suffers. Objectives: Our study aims at collecting information on health and related problems of the students in university residences and to identify the solutions to ameliorate the prevailing situation. Methods: A qualitative study conducted in five university residences of Nancy, Metz and Strasbourg, France. Findings: The majority of students have complaints about the living conditions in the residences. They mention that they are not in sound health. Stress, depression, fatigue, insomnia, and problems with diet are common. Foreign students suffer more due to culture shock, language, and nostalgia. A tendency for suicides has been observed, especially in girls. Financial problems, too much to study, and relationship break-up are important factors. For their health problems, they generally seek advice from a peer and consume medicines without prescription. Many do not use the ''students' health service'' because of lack of information or difficult access from certain universities or university residences. Conclusion: To solve their problems and to facilitate their social integration, student volunteers ought to be trained in the university residences because a majority prefers to have their peers' advice. Reinforcement of the role of administration of residences, of student-counselors and of the faculty in the university would be another crucial step. More leisure and social activities are imperative. This study itself constitutes the first element of creating awareness regarding the situation of the health of students living in residence halls in France.

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