My name is Jasmine, an exchange student from Cheng Chi University, Taiwan. I am so glad to share to you all my journeys in UM! Maastricht is an amazing little town, it has historical sites, and also if you are a fashion lover, tones of shops that you can choose from. Let’s see how I spent my first week here!
Before arriving, the warm ESN has informed all exchange students that they offer pick up service (free rides) from Maastricht station to the guest house. It’s a great offer, because we are all new here, don’t know anyone, know nothing about Dutch, and after hours of exhausted traveling (me for example, from Taiwan to Amsterdam ,12 hours, and from Amsterdam to Maastricht by train, it was more than 2 hours), it is so nice to have someone take you directly to where you stay!!
Besides the pick up service, ESN has arranged so many welcome activities and parties for exchange students, like city tours, social drinks, pub crawl, Dutch culture night, black light party; you feel very welcomed by the school, and sure a good time for you to meet new people. And this is the thing about UM, it is so international, I met some lovely Colombian friends, German, Korean, British , Portuguese, American, Turkish, Swedish and Finnish, literally all over the world. It is a great chance to know better about other country and learn to respect other culture.
The place I stay at is called the Guest House, most exchange students stay in here. I stay at the P building, it is a share room with a tiny kitchen. If you are the kind of person that need some personal space, yet don’t want to pay so much for a single room, then P building will be a good choice for you. You can cook in your own room, there’s a TV, a dining table, so when you feel like having some silent moments, you can just stay in your room. And when you feel like talking or meeting new people, you can go to M building (but first you need to have a friend who stays at M building and lead you in; there they have a shared kitchen, a living room where people usually hang out)
I like my room pretty much, and enjoy the time cooking alone without pressure (cuz I literally never cook back home, and in shared kitchen there’s always people around you, that kinda freaks me out), enjoy chatting with my lovely German roommate about how the day have been, really recommend P building!
Also, there’s a laundry room, a tennis court and a basketball court, security all day, and a vending machine at the lobby. Supermarkets in 7- minute walk distance. And to SBE it is about 20 minutes walk.
Getting a bike in Maastricht
In Maastricht, almost everyone has a bike, it is easier to go anywhere in the neighborhood, and exchange students who don’t want to buy a brand new one can look for the second hand bikes on the Facebook “Fleamarket Maastricht” or “Buy/Sell a bike in Maastricht”. But keep in mind that in Maastricht , it has certain rules for bikers so before you go on the road, make sure you’re aware of all the rules.
When I arrived in Maastricht, immediately found out that eating out is quite expensive, so my friends and I usually do groceries twice a week and cook for ourselves!
For someone like me who come from Asia, you must miss all the food back home, in Maastricht there’s an Asian supermarket in downtown, so don’t worry too much, you can find pretty much everything you need. And there are other 3 supermarkets here, Jumbo, AH and Aldi. Jumbo is the one I shop most, the quality is good and the price is decent. And according to my regular- student friends, “AH, the most expensive one; Aldi, the cheapest but with poor quality”.
It has been quite a lot to get used to, the food, the language, the culture… everything!!! But soon I find myself enjoy the life here, and want to know more about this beautiful town and get ready for my semester!
These are the experiences I’ve got so far, I hope it will do a little help for the future exchange students, and I’ll see you soon!