Hello everyone! This is Sharon Lin, a 20-year-old exchange student from Hong Kong (the leftmost in the picture.) I am doing my third year in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, majoring in Global Business and Marketing. It is my pleasure to share with you my exchange experience here in Maastricht.
Why did you pick Maastricht University?
Well, my goal for exchange experience is to step out of my comfort zone and broaden my horizon. Hence I intentionally omitted all the options in English-speaking countries, which left me with Europe. I also wanted to pick somewhere that is very international and geographically convenient for travelling (and also not too cold so I can survive.) The Netherlands seemed like a sweet spot. As I delved deeper into picking which university in The Netherlands, Maastricht University stood out in particular because of its PBL system and its young spirit. As some who highly values creativity and interactions during learning process, UM was the perfect choice for me.
How do you find Maastricht so far?
I arrived Maastricht in late January, when I was welcomed by a week of dreadful rain and snow. Coming from a tropical region, the temperature definitely requires some getting used to. The city itself, however, is such a lovely and neat place. People are not lying when they say “Maastricht is a small city.” Even coming from Hong Kong, I find Maastricht to be extremely convenient where everything is just within walking distance. Everyone around is always extremely friendly and polite. It is nice to take a break from the hectic city lifestyle back home and immerse myself in the more relaxed European lifestyle. I am also thankful that the weather has been super beautiful lately. Cannot wait to go out and explore around more!
How do you find the people?
The first week in Maastricht was probably the most international days I’ve ever had in my life. During the introductory days and welcoming parties, I had the pleasure to meet fellow exchange students from all across the globe. It was such a fun time listening to stories about their home countries and hearing about different perspectives. Moreover, my apartment is shared with 4 other lovely girls – an American, a Brazilian, a Finnish and a Swedish. We would always cook together and chat about our days – they made me feel like home.
Do you have any travelling plans?
My plan is to hit 20 countries when I’m here in Europe. Ticket booking sites, Airbnb and TripAdvisor are probably my most frequently browsed websites now. Situated at the heart of Europe, travelling from Maastricht is so effortless. So far I have travelled to Brussels, Antwerp, Cologne, and Luxembourg. The background, culture, food, scenery, architectures of each place amazes me. My favourite part so far would probably be joining a beer tour in Brussels where our local tour guide introduced to us the story behind Trappist beer and brought us to different bars for beer tasting. Although I’ve only been to a few places, my schedule is already filled with travelling plans all over Europe, such as the rest of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy Eastern Europe, and the Scandinavian area.
What are you looking forward to?
The classes, the lifestyle and the environment here in Maastricht are totally different from back in Hong Kong. The first month here in Maastricht was all about exploring around, adapting and settling in. Moving forward, I hope to further venture out from my comfort zone, embrace the Dutch culture and continue my exciting journey. The carnival in early March is definitely an exciting event that I am very much looking forward to!
Stay tuned for my March adventures!