Basically since Maastricht is so near the borders of Netherlands, you can go France, Belgium and Germany from here. And so, I would just like to share where I have been to the past month and perhaps also share where I will be going soon.
Studying in Maastricht (PBL and Presentations)
I only have two modules this semester: Dealing with Diversity and Strategy. Given that diversity is a skill training module where you talk more to learn more instead of doing readings, I do not have a heavy workload in Maastricht this period. PBL system was not as scary as it seemed as first. In Singapore, we do that too but maybe with slightly more people. Here, the PBL works with roughly 15 people in a classroom. Each lesson at least in Strategy, there would be someone assigned as “discussion leader” who basically facilitates discussion among the class. By right, the discussion leader should not only read the discussion questions but also lead the discussion and summarise at the end of each question what the class has discussed. It was not that hard and the professor seemed really nice as well. I always thought that PBL means FIGHT TO SPEAK OR YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SPEAK OR EVERYONE ELSE WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOUR POINT AWAY. But apparently, I was wrong. My class is more of the quiet type, so speaking up is not that hard. However, recently the professor mentioned that we were too quiet and that we needed to contribute more in class.
I also just had my first individual presentation here yesterday. I was really shocked to learn that we have 20 minutes to present individually because in Singapore, you rarely get the opportunity to speak for 20 mins or each week, only maybe 3 people can present when the class is so huge. I was nervous at first because I was afraid I did not have enough to say to fill up the 20 minutes time slot. It turned out that I was more than glad that it was 20 minutes because that meant that I did not have to rush through my presentation. The presentation went fine and both the professor and the class had positive comments about my creativity in explaining something so abstract. But just a note that I tend to articulate quite fast (yea, this is me in Singapore as well. Not a Singaporean trait so no stereotypes here. Its just me). I actually asked my German group mate after my presentation if I spoke too fast but she said no. I was so relieved that she said she could understand what I was talking about.
Rotterdam/ Delft/ Eindhoven
Bought the daagkart and went for a day trip to all these places. Unfortunately, because I went Rotterdam on a Sunday, the market was closed D: Delft was really a pretty small town but nice scenery so would definitely recommend Delft to any photographers out there but would not recommend this place if you are those sort who looks for food instead. Stopped over at Eindhoven for dinner and ate some really awesome Asian food (I know its ridiculous to come Europe to eat Asian food in less than a month but our reasoning was that we wanted to taste how Europeans perceive Asian food to be like). Eindhoven had PRIMARK but because we only reached there at 7pm and PRIMARK closes at 6:30 on SUndays I think, we missed it.
Paris/ Versailles/ Rennes (France)
I went Paris first on Valentines Day and back again during Carnival Week. The weather was way better during Carnival Week. Sunshine everyday in Paris and Rennes throughout the entire week. We took Megabus from Brussels to Paris and Rennes is 2 hours TGV ride from Paris (if you are taking the TGV, a word of advice: please book early or you are going to end up paying almost 100 euro for a round trip from Paris to anywhere else). The reason why we went Rennes when it is probably somewhere no one has ever heard of was because I googled must visit places in France and St Mont Michel appeared as third. And Rennes has France’s second largest food market every Saturday too!! Just a pity we could not bag any seafood home D: I bought jam though! Google it too before you plan your France trip. And to get to St Mont Michel, you have to take a bus (2o euro for round trip student price) from Rennes. Another advice here is to always try to see if there are discounts or free entry for EU citizens as you can always show them your residence permit. Besides that, I realise that many things here in Europe, you can get student discounts and all sorts of discounts if you are handicapped or accompanying a handicapped or unemployed. This is so different from Singapore where there is only discounts for the elderly, children or students and that’s about it.