Hi there! It has been 2 months since I left my home country, and I think now I can say I’m adapted to the exchange student life in Maastricht.
With the end of period 4 approaching, I’m dedicating most of my time to work on assignments and to study for the upcoming exam. Now that I just had my last Consumer Behaviour tutorial, I have a broader view of the PBL system. Personally, I’m amazed by this method, and I think it really worked for me: I feel like I’ve learned a lot when preparing for classes, and the tutorials were very productive and helped me to link all of the concepts we studied (there were so many of them!). For every class, we had to read one or two chapters from the textbook and one academic article related to the topic. At the tutorials, one group was responsible for the facilitation, presenting us the concepts and encouraging our participation with quizzes, discussion groups and activities like games. My class was very participative and our tutor gave us space to discuss on our own, which I thought was very positive.
One interesting thing I experienced in one of the tutorials was when a student from another class participated in ours. At one point, we were discussing the article as usual, relating the studies to a concept from the first class. She told us that in her tutorials they had never done that before, while we were doing it every class. That shows how each class builds its own method and work in a different way than the other ones, adapting to students’ needs and feedbacks. It’s not a generalized model, it’s a tailored one, and it’s good that the PBL gives us the freedom to choose how we will learn.
Besides the facilitation I had to prepare for one class, I also had to do as my final assignment an academic research with a group. My group had people from different nationalities, regular and exchange students. It was a very different experience for me, since at my home university I’m always working with the same group. Having to work with people from different cultures, with a distinct way of thinking and doing things took me out of my comfort zone and was a very enriching experience.
But enough about studying! I’m finally developing my routine here and I feel more adapted now. My cooking skills are getting a little bit better… but my food is still awful. I recently discovered the friday market (at Markt), where you can buy vegetables, fruits, meat and other things for a cheaper price than in the supermarket. If you want to save some money, that is a good place to go. I’m also trying to go to different restaurants in the city: I went to a vietnamese one (Saigon Cuisine, at Markt), an asian fusion one (Dadawan, near to the train station), a pizza place (Napoli, at Markt), a burrito place (We Love Burrito, also at Markt) and a lot of times to a kebab restaurant (McDönerbox, near to SBE. It’s my favorite so far!). However, I still haven’t found a place to try typical dutch dishes.
Also, a big part of my routine has been my bike. The main spots for a student in Maastricht are relatively close to each other and to the guesthouse, so you can go anywhere on foot. But biking across the city and exploring new places, feeling the calm atmosphere and seeing the view is amazing, you really get to experience the dutch lifestyle. I wasn’t used to riding bikes in Brazil, and the one I bought is a little bit high for me, but now I’ve already learned the tricks to ride it more easily. Now I’m planning some fun rides through the city and to the Belgium frontier.
Besides that, a big break from classes is approaching, so I’m planning a lot of trips to some other countries in Europe. Here you have a lot of options of transportation and places to stay. I’m using the GoEuro app a lot to compare transportation prices, and for accomodation, I’m checking Airbnb (depending on the place, it’s cheaper than hostels!) and some websites that compare prices of hostels and hotels. For things to do and organization issues, the Google Trips app is a good option. It has been a loooot of work planning the trips, but I hope it will be worth it. I’ll let you know in the next post!
So, basically, the last month has been like this to me – not as much excitement as the first one, when all was new, but still a lot of fun! See you next month (: