Who we are
Nansen Village is run by Barnet Overseas Students Housing Association Ltd. The Association is not for profit and governed by a board of trustees who volunteer their time. As well as the main board there are two subcommittees and resident representatives are invited to all trustee meetings. Our board employs a chief executive officer who, together with a small staff team, is responsible for the daily running of the village.
Our staff team
We have a very small staff team based at the village throughout the week. The staff team supports trustees and residents and plans the work of the village including minor and major maintenance activities, allocation of homes, cleaning and events as well as long-term planning for the Association. If your application is successful, you’ll get to know us.
Nansen Village is governed by a group of voluntary trustees who give up their time freely and willingly as they have a strong belief in the interests and ethos of the Association.
Many of our trustees are retired professionals with legal, property and accountancy experience or who are working full time in education and care. Some have even lived in the village as students or were born here.
The job of the trustees is to develop policies and procedures to support the work of the Association and to ensure it is properly governed and financially sound.
Throughout its history, the Association has always benefitted from having involved and engaged residents.
The Association has up to three resident representatives who are able to come along to all trustee meetings and the Annual General Meeting. Although resident representatives have no decision-making powers, trustees have always welcomed the knowledge and insights of the resident representatives.
The Association recognises that international students and their partners have greater difficulty finding good accommodation than those already in the UK. Nansen Village is primarily concerned with students, on low incomes, with or without children (under the age of eight). Eligible British students are also accepted where they meet the same criteria as international students. To promote cultural diversity within Nansen Village, we aim to have no more than five households from the same country in the village at any one time. More detail can be found in our lettings policy.
Barnet Overseas Students Housing Association is regulated by the UK Government’s Regulator of Social Housing. The Regulator sets out a range of financial, consumer and governance standards which we are required to follow.
The Association is also registered with the Housing Ombudsman, an independent UK Government sponsored body. The Housing Ombudsman sets standards for landlords in dealing with complaints from tenants. It also provides a dispute resolution service for when member landlords and current or past tenants are unable to resolve a dispute through the landlord’s complaints procedure.
Our story starts over 50 years ago by Kurt and Charlotte Weinberg. As refugees from Nazi Germany the couple had personally experienced the challenges of arriving in a new country. For many years they had hosted overseas students in their home but wanted to do more. Seeing the unnatural divisions between people of different cultures they wanted to find a way of bringing people together and give a positive impression of Britain to foreigners, especially foreign students. They felt students were likely to be more receptive to their views on co-operation and understanding between people from different cultures and backgrounds. The ambition was that students would take their positive experience of studying overseas home with them and eliminate any fears of perceived cultural barriers.
Recognising the greatest problem students faced was finding a place to live, Kurt and Charlotte began to conceive a community where people from all over the world could study in peace while exchanging ideas and experiences with people with whom they might expect to have nothing in common.
Barnet Overseas Students Housing Association was created to put this belief into practice. As a not-for-profit organisation, with no funds of its own, it had to seek external funding and, with the help of the British Council providing a grant, Kurt and Charlotte realised the Nansen Village we see and love today.
Sixty-six homes, the first completed in 1971, make up this international community in leafy north London. It is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the explorer, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Since 1971, we have hosted hundreds of families from all over the world. There are about 165 current residents. More than 380 babies have been born to families in the village.