i would like to know if you have been to any youth hostel in europe with a nice self catering kitchen
1) does it work or is it a mess with all the people around?
2) are they big enough?
3) is it safe to storage your food in the fridges?
4) what kind of facilities they lack?
(this is for a research about student accomodation...)
From my experience, you get all kinds of people in hostels and so all kinds of situations are possible: someone will steal food, someone will take all the room, someone will not pick up after themselves, someone will leave the bread bag open and leave everyone else with stale bread, etc. etc. Hostels are a slice of life!
Every single one is different. Some are immaculate, some feel like a dirty closet. Some have steak knives and measuring cups while others have no silverware. In Europe, it seems as if there's ALWAYS someone in the kitchen whenever you want to cook something. In a good kitchen there may be space to boil some water or something, but then you look at the other people in the kitchen using up 3 burners just to cook one meal and can't help but be annoyed. Usually you'd put a piece of tape on something or write with marker telling someone not to steal your food before you put it in the fridge. Some places have specific days/times when they clean out their refridgerators. I'm sure some people don't pay attention, only to wake up the next day and see their entire stock of groceries are gone (and that the fridge actually looks half-empty and neat!)
Youth hostels are not student accomodations, unless the rental and real estate market is particularly dire. Students mostly stay in student dorms or student hostels, which are more like shared flats and a totally different affair from a backpacker's or independent traveller's hostel.