Period 5 begins!

After two months’ tutorial,period 4 came to an end.Then it came to my first final in UM.As a student who is not major in Accounting,choosing all the courses related to Accounting is really a big challenge for me.Before coming to Maastrichet University,I heart about someone that the courses related to accounting and finance are the most different ones.So I was really worried that I will fall the exam.During the final period,every time I went to the school library,I saw there is no seat left.Every student went to the library early ,maybe before the time it open, and stay their the whole day concentrating on their book.The library close later than before during the final,at 12 o’ clock.It enables us to have more time to study. I felt pressure.After several days’ review,the final exam eventually came.All the students went to a place which is far from our school to take the exam.The exam lasted for three hours.After that,my vacation started.

Then it comes to period 5.With the learning experience in period 4,everything during the tutor in this period seems easier than before.I think all of us have already been used to both the study life and the lifestyle here.I know new friends in now courses,and I’m looking forward to new cooperation with my new group members.

Lastly, I want to talk about my travel in Europe during the vocation.We first traveled to Spain.Spain is beautiful and culturally very rich.The Spanish people are extremely warm and very welcoming towards tourists.When traveling by train/bus, messages are translated from Spanish to English which was a great help to us. In terms of food, I can’t say I was super impressed by Spain.There is a lot of red meat consumption (ham) which makes it difficult for people, such as myself, who eat chicken and very little seafood.In addition, it is difficult finding vegetarian options, however we managed. In Spain, tapas or small plates are very common.You will tend to see people sharing tapas sitting outside a restaurant and people watching.  Each tapa can be shared between 2 to 3 people which is a great way to experience new dishes.Out of all the cities visited, I have to say Barcelona was easily my favorite due to its amazing architecture, widespread streets, and gorgeous weather.Then we traveled to France.The south of France is blessed with breathtaking beauty, and if you have the chance to visit the French Riviera in your lifetime.It is the perfect location for couples, friends, and family!Seriously, there is something for everyone.In my experience, the French Riviera is a lot friendlier towards tourists than Paris.After France, we headed over to the Italian coastline by train and finally reached our destination of Monterosso al Mare, the main village in the Cinque Terre (five villages).Out of the five villages in the Cinque Terre, I would say Monterosso is the best as it is more developed, prettier, offers a beautiful beach, and a bunch of Italian restaurants. You will sense a calmness in the tranquility that surrounds you in Monterossso.  This literally is the perfect place to blog, sip a cappuccino, and enjoy the splendid views. After spending 2 nights in the Cinque Terre, we headed north to Rapallo.From Rapallo we were able to visit the most famous city on the Ligurian Riviera – Portofino.

It’s already the end of April,but the weather here is still cold.Every time thinking about I will leave Maastrichet University two months latter,I feel sad and depressed.I how that the time left will flow slower,and I will try hard to make everyday I spend in Netherlands colorful.

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Another new beginning!

Hey readers, I’m back! So lucky to survive the first final exam! After the exam, I took a fantastic holiday in Paris and had a good rest to prepare for a whole new period. Now let me talk about my experience in more details.
As I mentioned earlier, I took only one course in period 4. But I still had a hard time passing the finals week. Apart from language barriers, you needed to tell the key points from the less important ones by yourself. In other words, if you are not sure about what will appear in your test paper, you’d better read all the chapters, cases, and papers discussed in the tutorials and do lots of exercises. It can be a huge workload. However, in my home university, teachers usually tell you a general examination scope at the end of the last class. So it might be one of the challenges for me in terms of PBL. Speaking of preparing for exams, there is one thing I want to remind you. Don’t forget to check your email or announcements on eleum to get the most accurate and updated information about exams. Take myself as an example, our tutor had told us there would be three open questions in the exam, indeed, but I didn’t notice that the latest announcement writing two and only two problems were required to answer until the right night before the exam. Also, I found I didn’t have a pencil which was necessary in this computer-based exam at the same night. Thankfully I scanned the notice before I went to MECC. Don’t be as silly as me!

After the exam, there was an about 10-day vocation depending on when your exam ended. Since only 2 months left in Europe, it was a great chance you mustn’t miss to travel around. I stayed in Paris for four days. I really regret what a short time I spent there. Luckily, Maastricht is so near to Paris that it doesn’t take you too long on the road. To be honest, it’s quite convenient to travel to any European city from Maastricht. Besides the worldwide famous sights, what Paris impressed me most was the kind people there. I received a great kindness from the strangers on the street, in the restaurant, at the metro station and so on. Even though their English was not as fluent as Dutch people, they still tried their best to help me in English. Every time thinking of them, I am always moved a lot. It is the people there that make Paris so attractive.

Memory is always good, however, it’s time to go back to reality. I took options and futures in this period, maybe the hardest one in SBE, according to some regular students. Do not be cheated by its name! It has nothing to do with your future. Actually, it focuses on the pricing of financial derivatives. A good command of theory of probability and statistics is essential. Every tutorial is based on a practical case. That is just what you might face in your future job. Aside from reading books, what you have to do is solve the problems raised in the case using excel. I think this course combines theory with practice in a good way. If you are really interested in derivatives, I recommend it to you! It is a worthwhile challenge, isn’t?

Last, King’s day is coming two days later. I am looking forward to it and sharing my feelings on that day with you guys next time! Thanks for reading!

Crazy Travelling!

Hi guys, did you have a crazy Easter break and the holidays when you didn’t have to resit for any courses? I hope you did cos it was exactly my case there 😀

After travelling to Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and Belgium with my friends in March, my travelling plan came to a pause because of the exam. (sigh)

I stayed in Maastricht and studied for three whole days, and I knew I couldn’t complain that much since it was not that much, and I was so lucky that I had the exam on the first day of the exam period.

The exam format of Consumer Behavior was changed this period. There was no MC question and all the questions are essays. The questions were highly relevant to the literature, and to my surprise they asked a lot of the details of the experiments in the articles that we read. I could not remember all the tiny bits of details for I tried my best to recall everything. I finished my paper in 2 hours and could not bother to stay longer, since I would not be able to do much to boost my grades, I bet. :p

The results were out yesterday! The exam grade was not that impressive, but overall it was a pretty good grade. The most important thing was that, I passed!! That was all I needed.

 

So after the exam, I went to Marrakech in Morocco for 5 days. I met so many interesting people in the hostel and in the local tour. There were a bunch of Italians and German people there in Marrakech. I was probably the only Asian in the city since I did not see any other Asian at all during my stay. Everyone thought I was Japanese and greeted my with ‘Konnichiwa’, which I actually would not mind at all. 😀

The Sahara Desert was beautiful, and the camels were cute. The only thing was that I got a little bit ribbed off for the lunches during the tour, which was kind of expected, but still felt a little sad when I had to confront with it 😦

I had to travel there alone since all my friends were still having exams during that time. But solo travelling is definitely another interesting experience, especially when I was going to North Africa, a continent that I have never even thought I would go! XD

After Morocco I went to Munich, before I headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a youth conference there. The Dachau concentration camp was amazing, the guided tour was only 3 euros and it was super, super informative, definitely worth a visit 😉

Garmisch was a very cosy and lovely town, where it offered some relaxing ambience for your stay. The conference was not as intensive as I thought, and I had a great time taking a break before I headed back to Maastricht for the reality — period 5.

The sad thing was I felt extremely sick when I was in Munich, blamed to be the greasy pork shoulder and the sausage in the food market ;(

After everything, I came here in Maastricht and prepared for my study. I am taking Strategic Management of Innovation and Technology, and Service Marketing this period. The workload would be a double of period 4 (in which I only took one course :p), but I hope I could cope with that!

My mom came visit me this week and I was soooo sooooo excited. We went to Rotterdam, Utrecht, Kinderijk, Brussels and Aachen. It was so much fun, and I skipped one tutorial to spend more time with my mom, which I thought was more than sensible to do so 😀 Family is always more important than anything, isn’t it? 😉

I just did the first facilitation for my Service Marketing last Friday, which went very well since my groupmates were so great and efficient!

Stay tuned~

Starting fresh

Period 4 break

While other business kids were on holidays to Budapest and Iceland and Poland I decided to be super lazy and stay in. After the whole semester last year in Asia and the few weekends this semester abroad, the prospect of planning for a trip – packing, finding accommodation, looking up things to do, researching on hours at a time to get the best deal on flights/trains/buses, frantically eating all the food in the fridge before you go so it doesn’t go off, and budgeting the whole ordeal – sounded more tiresome as exams loomed. I had good intentions! I thought of going back to England catching the Eurostar from Paris, so I’d get a couple of days in France, but my holidays didn’t match up well with my friends, and I couldn’t be bothered organising around them. So that’s how I was able to return to a productive daily routine where I actually woke up energised and excited for early Period 5 preparations, exercise, and the sunrise. I learnt from last period that if you don’t have any background in what you’re about to study, it helps to do reading before classes. I had forgotten most of the core concepts of calculus, having no need of it since high school. It turns out that maths is useful for things!

Anzac Day

This Sunday is the 24th of April, what we Australians like to call Anzac Day, which commemorates the birth of the Australian spirit by marking the date that Allied troops tried (and failed) to take over a section of a Turkish beach in the first world war. It was strange learning about this iconic siege as it seemed like the whole campaign had been a disaster. The landing, which was on the wrong beach, meant that soldiers had to cross up pretty steep terrain with bullets hailing from the Turkish forces above them. Many Australians died, but many more Turkish soldiers died defending their home. And in the end, they won. The most successful part of the Gallipoli campaign was the Allies’ withdrawal. In Australia, the logistics of this origin is mostly unknown. The beginning of a campaign in a war you only fought in because you have some sense of loyalty to the empire that labelled you as a prison, where thousands of young Australian men and women died or came back with lingering health problems, against a country that hadn’t even decided whether it was against the Allies or not, and which ultimately was a crushing defeat, would not have been my choice of a public holiday. But then again, Australia Day marks the arrival of the First Fleet, the beginnings of hundreds of years of discrimination, undocumented war, and great loss of life and culture. On the bright side, it gives us an excuse to play Goon of Fortune. And I’m not going to stop commemorating the Australian upbringing I’ve been fortunate enough to have and the soldiers who fought for the sake of the nation just because a certain date has some negative connotations.

Future plans

Next Wednesday (the 27th of April) is King’s Day in the Netherlands. ISN have provided a great deal on spending King’s night (the night before King’s Day) and King’s Day in Amsterdam, floating on a canal and drinking heaps of Prins Pils. I was fortunate to come across a few tickets to see Armin van Buuren in Leiden, so I am looking forward to seeing him live, as well as participating in the Dutch tradition of wearing orange and heading off to Amsterdam. As well as this holiday next week to Amsterdam (which might as well be in a different country), I’m excited to go to Paris with a friend I met on my previous exchange, along with a day trip to Switzerland. The ESN card gave me a discount on bus tickets if I booked through Flixbus so I was able to save 3 euros on what was already a cheap trip – 38 euros return from Maastricht to Paris. One of the great things about living in Limburg is that it does act as a crossroads of countries – day trips to Belgium and Germany are commonplace, and easy on the wallet.

 

Thanks for reading if you got this far, and hope you’re having a great April wherever you are.

Kim

The start of spring & Period 5

Dear readers, time really flies when you’re having fun, and already it is coming to the end of April! I can’t believe how much time has passed— it seems like only yesterday I was just arriving in Maastricht.

I’ve had a lot of fun both in Maastricht and out since I last wrote— I went to Paris nearing the end of Period 4, right before exams (truly living dangerously), and for the break between Period 4 and 5, I did a trip around Eastern Europe comprising Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest. For those who have not been to these cities, I strongly STRONGLY recommend going to visit them. They are incredibly, incredibly beautiful, and I can’t even say I like one city more than the other because they all had their individual charm.

I did do one particularly amazing thing though, which was to go skydiving in Prague. It is a thrilling yet terrifying experience, and though I am not afraid of heights, when you’re just about to jump off the plane and into a 4000m drop, your heart does seem to stop for a second there. I honestly don’t remember much of the free fall part, because it felt like a out-of-body experience—I think my mind was just totally blanked out and going like ‘Is this really Charis falling through the sky with only a parachute to hold her’, but after my tandem instructor opened the parachute and we were drifting around in the sky, it was one of the most amazing experiences on earth to be like a bird and so high up in the sky. I would definitely not recommend it for people who are genuinely afraid of heights— there is a distinct possibility you might faint from fear in midair— but for thrill-seeking people, it is definitely a must-do if you ever head down to Prague.

I feel immensely privileged to be able to travel so extensively around Europe— there are so many beautiful cities and sights to see, and I’m certain they will remain fond memories to take with me when I finally have to head home.

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Period 5 has already commenced for about 2 weeks now, and it was kind of a shock to head back to school after having such a nice holiday trip, but I’ve now gotten back into the swing of things and having to do readings and presentations once again. One big difference that I notice in Maastricht compared to my home university is that they frequently have presentations or facilitations scattered throughout the period, whereas my home university usually has one major project and one major presentation right at the end of the semester. This kind of makes you quite busy during the period in Maastricht, but I guess it’s a good thing since you have to keep up with work consistently and it helps you with studying for exams because you don’t have to try and cram everything at one go. Even though it’s busy, I still enjoy the school life at Maastricht, and I look forward to learning new things in each class I attend 🙂

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One thing I’m looking forward to seeing in the coming weeks is Keukenhof! For those who are not sure, Keukenhof Gardens is one of the largest gardens in Europe. Around 7 million flower bulbs are planted there every year, and it covers a land area of 32 hectares. The one thing I’m really excited to see there are the tulip fields— tulips are my favourite flower, and I’m sure it will be so amazing to see fields upon fields of different coloured tulips in the spring sunshine. I’m not sure if you can buy flower cuttings from there to take home, but if you can, I’m definitely taking a bunch home to Maastricht to display in a vase in my room 🙂

Apart from travelling within Europe, I feel very lucky to be living in the Netherlands— it is truly a beautiful country with many different sights to see all year round. Especially now that spring is here, Maastricht has almost become a totally different city with beautiful white and pink flowers growing on some of the trees. I look forward to seeing the natural changes the warmer weather will bring to the flora and fauna here!

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It’s kind of sad to think that my time in Maastricht is almost over, but I look forward to spending the rest of my time here in a meaningful manner, and trying to experience as much of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and Europe as I can.

Period 5 begins!

Hi again everyone!

We are now in week 2 of period 5, which means we are well over half way through exchange!

I just travelled to Paris and Amsterdam with my parents over the break. Paris was amazing, we visited many tourist sites, ate great food and croissants, and overall had a great time. I recommend going to Paris because not only is it a great city to travel to, but also because there is a 19 Euro bus straight there from Maastricht! Much cheaper compared to the train or a flight! Amsterdam was also a great place to visit (again). If you’re here in the spring semester, I recommend going to the Keukenhof Gardens which are open from March-May, close to Amsterdam. These gardens are incredible, and really show off Holland’s amazing tulips. I can easily say that I have never seen so many tulips in my life! It is not too expensive and is really worth doing the day trip there. I’m even considering going again! Quick tip – don’t go in March, the flowers will not be in bloom! best to go Mid April-may!

 

University:

It is really great to be back in Maastricht and to see everyone again. It’s amazing how accustomed you become to seeing the people you live with everyday.

Period 5 has begun, this period I only have classes on Mondays and Thursdays, which means I can easily do weekend trips, and even short trips on Tuesday/Wednesday. I think my subjects this period are a little easier, which will make life easier in general.

 

Trips:

This weekend, many people are going to Munich for Springfest with ISN. We have all bought german outfits and are super excited for it! On Wednesday 27th April is Kingsday, again we are travelling with ISN to Amsterdam to celebrate. In the next blog I will surely update you on how the trips with ISN were. It seems though, that these trips are worth it, especially since ISN organises all the transport, accommodation etc for us!

 

That’s all for now!

 

 

 

 

 

A summary of period 4

I can’t believe it’s already mid-April and we’ve already started period 5 😮. Time really flies! And this is especially true when you’re learning a lot and, of course, also having lots of fun 😋.

The academic year at my home university isn’t composed of 4 periods but of only 2 semesters, so having shorter terms here made me feel like period 4 was over in the blink of an eye.

Period 4 was very challenging, but I’m happy to say that I overcame all those challenges 😀. First of all, the PBL system is completely different to the teaching method at my university. The students in my university hardly never participate or give their opinion during class, and we just seat and listen to the teacher for 2 hours. This made it very difficult for me to speak during the first tutorials even though I had read the materials and knew the answers, just because I wasn’t used to participating in class. Fortunately, it didn’t take me too long to get used to speaking up, not only because I didn’t want to get a poor grade for class participation, but because the tutors would create a friendly atmosphere in each tutorial. The tutors in the two courses I was taking were very comprehensive since the beginning and would always encourage everyone to participate. I really appreciated that.

Another difference with my home university is that we hardly never give presentations or facilitate sessions, and I have to confess that I was really scared when I heard that I had to give an individual presentation and speak for 20 minutes in my Strategy course. During all my university years (and that’s a lot because I’m a senior year student, and we study 5 years to earn a bachelor’s degree in Peru), I’ve only had very short presentations and they were so few I can count them on one hand, so this was a big deal, not only because I really don’t like speaking in public, let alone for such a long time, but also because this was the first time I was giving a presentation in English. Nevertheless, I wanted to do a great job, so I put a lot of effort on it, and as I’m a perfectionist, it took me more than 3 days to get my slides and presentation done but it was totally worth it. I managed to give a good presentation and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be, in part because everyone in my tutorial was very friendly and it was very easy to speak in front of them.

After my individual presentation, it was way much easier to prepare for the group presentations and facilitations in my two courses. Everything went smoothly, everyone was proactive and it was very easy to coordinate with my teammates. None of us felt that was put aside and all our ideas were taken into consideration. This is especially important for me as an exchange student. Some of my exchange student friends told me they didn’t have much luck with their groups and were either a little bit disregarded when they worked with regular students or had teammates that wouldn’t do absolutely anything, leaving all the work to them 😕. However, I think there will always be a possibility to encounter people that aren’t as cooperative as we would want them to be, be it at school or at work, and even if it’s impossible to stop thinking that this is unfair to us, we can also try to make things better and rather than keep complaining about that, we can also think of it as an opportunity to learn how to deal with different kinds of people.