Capa blog abril


Every time we face things for the first time something seems strange. This first period of classes (actually, the 4th period here) for me felt like that. New university. New dorm. New friends. Unfamiliar teachers. Different city. Indeed, everything seems strange when you start your exchange. But I’ve realized, after two months living and studying in Maastricht, that strange does not mean bad. In my case, strange turned out to be the best experience of my life.


I’ve been studying at SBE, the School of Business and Economics of Maastricht University. The structure is simple amazing. Not only the classrooms are very well equipped and comfortable, but the university also offers a lot of space to study and prepare for the classes, like the group or individual rooms at the library and the SSC (Students Service Center).

What I really enjoyed is that the university space is also used in periods after classes hosting lectures and debates. I attended to two events hosted by the university. The first one was a LinkedIn lecture, organized by SCOPE, which brought Bert Verdnck, a LinkedIn “expert”, to give us tips and advices about this important social media in our careers. The other event was a student debate, organized by MAAS, which discussed important subjects concerning student’s life with different representatives of political parties in Maastricht’s elections. It was really informative and fun, I could learn more about the election of a different country and understand the problems, obstacles and improvements that local citizens are worried about.


For those who don’t know, the majority part of SBE’s classes use the PBL system of teaching. PBL is the Problem-Based Learning method, that aims to engage students to be active learners. And how do they do that? Starting with the numbers of students per class. There are about 12-15 people in each class, that we call “Tutorial Sessions”. In a small group is easier to talk and you can get closer of your classmates and your tutor, letting him/her to help you organize and study.

For each course you have to attend 2 tutorial meetings a week (or 2 meetings and a lecture, depending on the course), each one of 2-hour duration. And how does this “active learning” work? Well, I’ll tell you how it is for the course I’m taking right now, which is Cognition, Learning and Human Performance. We have classes on Monday and Thursday. On Mondays, our tutor leads the class: asking more questions than giving answers for us to reflect, share and discuss the week’s topic. But the learning extends toward the entire week. After Monday’s tutorial we have to read the mandatory literature to fill in a report paper on Wednesdays. On Thursday’s tutorial we discuss the topic again, but now having a lot more background to improve the last debate, and this time, who takes the lead is a group of students. Then, for the weekend, we need to prepare in advance for next Monday’s meeting. And that’s how it is: we engage in discussions in class, which give us even more questions than answers, and we try to fill in these gaps with literature to discuss it again in the next tutorial. So, we really active learn: we seek answers, generate them and we can really talk, share and express our ideas, getting out of our comfort zone, making us learn from our mistakes and improve even more our knowledge, communication and group-working skills.


It’s now Spring season in Europe (finally!). The cold is almost gone, and we’ll have a short break between the 4th period exams and the beginning of the 5th. It’s a perfect time to visit other places and test my travel-organization skills. I’ll tell you in the next post how it went.


This first period made me get out of my box. Getting out of your comfort zone means that you have now entered in another area called: Learning Zone. And what is an exchange all about then? It’s all about learning. Learning how to live own your own. Learning how to be more responsible and have also empathy.  Learning how to connect with people and share moments. Learning about yourself. Learning that stranger things can turn out to be the best experience of your life.




Dutch sometimes close their eyes : Drug and Sex in the Netherlands

20171025_170814After the first period and before the second, I traveled around the Netherlands, from Utrecht to Amsterdam, to Zaanse, to Den Haag, to Rotterdam, to Eindhoven and back to Maastricht.


Each of the cities has their uniqueness: Utrecht is tranquil with several fantastic museums that you can’t miss. Amsterdam is mind-boggling with red light district, numerous tourists and fabulous night life.  Zaanse the windmill village is just like the Neverland or any other fairytale scene. Rotterdam is a big city full of historic stories and bizarre architectures. Eindhoven is a dynamic city of design and invention, especially in the annual Dutch Design Week.

However, you can see the common thing between those cities: the open-mindedness of the Dutch has an impact on them.

The most salient ones might be drug and sex.

Amsterdam is the first city which legalize sex industry. The church in Rotterdam is the pioneer that manages drug by tolerating moderate dose. (Thanks to the tour guide in Free Walking Tour Rotterdam.) The reason behind these policies is simple and clear – take those industry in control by asking them to come out from under the table – but no one but the Dutch dare to give it a try.

“Dutch sometimes close our eyes to things,” said the walking tour guide in the red light district in Amsterdam. Closing eyes itself is a gamble, but Dutch has always won.

Adjusting to Life Abroad

Hello everyone! My name is Jessica and I am a Third Year American exchange student from the University of Richmond, Virginia. I’m excited to be blogging for Maastricht University Blog and share my personal experience of studying abroad here in Maastricht!


It’s hard to believe that it has only been a short two and a half weeks since I’ve arrived in Maastricht! It seems like just yesterday that I was packing my bags and boarding a plane at the Philadelphia Airport and arriving at the Schiphol Airport as a very jet lagged, sleep deprived exchange student.


I’m staying in the UM Guesthouse and if you are planning to do your exchange semester here, I would definitely recommend staying here! Not only is it in a great location relative to campus, the supermarket, and social venues, but it also houses a large majority of the exchange students so it’s easy to meet people, make friends, and create plans!


I couldn’t have asked for a better first week at Maastricht University and that wouldn’t have been possible without the University and the International Student Network (ISN) providing a week of orientation and fun events for us to start transitioning to Dutch life as quickly and seamlessly as possible.I was greeted with exceptionally warm weather during my first week (this was very short lived) which made all the activities planned for us that much more enjoyable.


The International Student Network did an amazing job with making exchange students feel welcome at Maastricht. We had the opportunity to sign up for two different packages; the cultural package or the party package, so there was plenty of things to do for everyone! I decided to sign up for both packages so I wouldn’t miss out on anything and I’m glad I did because it was a nice combination of social events!


The Introduction Dinner was the perfect place to meet new people, make friends, and enjoy the first night of the Introduction Week. Some of the people that I met that night have become my closest friends here! With an incredible after party planned, it was the best way to kick off Arrival Week! The city tours were the perfect way for students to  start finding their way around the city and the Bicycle Workshop was extremely useful for students like me who were new to the rules of the road for bikers. A classic Dutch dinner was a much need break to a pretty busy week and it was followed by a night at the museum to see the Raymond Pettibon exhibit at the Bonnefantenmuseum, which was incredible to see.

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If there was one thing that I learned from my first week here is that having a bike would be necessary. Coming from a place where it’s virtually impossible to get from one place to another without driving or taking public transportation, this was a new concept for me. But after seeing dozens of students heading to class, the grocery store, or to the main square on their bikes every day, I knew that if I really wanted to adjust to Dutch life, a bike would be a necessity. While I’m still getting the hang of the rules of the road and navigating the city, now I can’t image what it would be like to not have my trusty bike with me!

I was excited for the new semester to start, especially to begin classes at such a diverse university. While I am used to small class sizes, the PBL teaching method was a fairly new concept for me. I was thankful that Maastricht University offered a ‘practice’ PBL session during the Introduction Days so that I wasn’t caught completely off-guard in my first tutorial. After two weeks of practice with PBL tutorials, I’ve come to really enjoy this style of teaching! The discussions in class are led by the students and there never seems to be lack of conversation or debate. I’ve enjoyed that the fact that each session is a new opportunity for debating and sharing ideas without fear of judgement. The best part is that each tutorial group is so diverse that I’ve had the opportunity to work with students from all over the world.

I wouldn’t be a true exchange student if I didn’t mention some of my travel plans! ISN has some amazing trips planned – the first being the Discover Holland trip that I’m participating in this weekend! Others include Oktoberfest in Munich, Prague, and more! With so many other countries so close by, I’m excited to do some exploring and bring my experiences back with me to the classroom!


Maastricht has proven to be an amazing city for exchange students. The population is quite young, there are endless places for coffee, food, and drinks, and the social aspect of the city can’t be beat! There always seems to be something happening in the squares so it’s impossible to be bored in this beautiful city!

Thanks for reading about my adjustment to my semester abroad, I’m excited to continue blogging and can’t wait for you to read my next post!

3+ Things that you should do as soon as you get to Maastricht

Hi, my name is Euimin Chung and I am an exchange student from Korea University.

I really like blog posts like “5 tips” “7 things you should know”, so I also prepare this kind of post. These are tips that would make the start of your Maastricht life beautiful.


  1. To open ING bank account

You might need Dutch account for booking a group ticket(NS train group ticket), using MAESTRO card, transferring money to friends, etc. Since almost every exchange students is going to open a Dutch bank account, you should schedule an appointment earlier. In Netherlands, it is needed to make an appointment before visiting bank. For me, it took a 2 and a half week to open account at ING. On my first visit, I made an appointment. After two days, I visited again(passport and admission letter needed!) and entered some personal information(address, phone number…). Actually, my friend who visited with me successfully opened her account that day. But I should wait for ordinary mails, so I rearrange an appointment 2 weeks later. The staff said she also has no idea with this happening, just saying to my friends “You are lucky.”

And for your information, my another friend told me that with all ordinary mails needed, he can open an account without making new appointment. If you have to open an account, just try to visit there when the bank is empty.


  2. To buy a bike

You might already heard about Dutch bike culture. Bike makes your life in Maastricht enrich. It reduces travel time, improves your health, and saves you money. So, the thing is, you should buy a bike. Since it is really expensive to get a new bike, most exchange students prefer to buy second-hand bike. There are several second-hand bike shops, also on the Facebook(“buy / sell a bike in Maastricht”). Second-hand bike costs about €60~€90.


By the way, if you really want to save money, finding cheap bike, please pay attention here. There is a cool guy whose name Paul selling bikes at a nominal price. I bought my bike from him for €25. He lives Bovenstraat, 3770 Riemst, Belgium. It takes 1 hour on foot from guesthouse to get there. It might be a nice experience going Belgium on foot and returning with riding a bike.


     3. To use Facebook well

Facebook provides tons of information such as ISN events, nearby events, NS group tickets, and so on. These are some recommendations- ISN Maastricht 201X Students, NS Group tickets Eindhoven/Maastricht, Sharing is Caring – Maastricht University, Fleamarket Maastricht.

Also ‘Events’ tap is useful(Facebook > Settings > Events). You can find nearby events, upcoming events, and events popular with your friends. I have been to ‘Preuvenemint 2017’ with getting information from ‘Events’. It was such a nice food, drink, music festival in Maastricht.


     4. More tips…

I have some more little tips to share with you. If you already register the class, and class begins but you want to change because of several reasons, you can just ask school employees for it. If it is possible to change, they will help you.

And do not hesitate to buy OV-chip card. I did, because I thought I don’t need to take a bus and the card is quiet expensive. But I was wrong, and it is way more cheap using OV-chip card.

To change your password of Maastricht university account, using this link:

Last but not least, and to a certain degree it might sound like cliché, let’s be open-minded and be nice.


This is end of my first blog post. I should go to bed because tomorrow I am going to trip with ISN! ‘Discover Holland weekend’ Hope to see you again with more fun things to share. Let’s enjoy life in Maastricht 🙂

I don’t want to say goodbye.

A few days ago, I said my first goodbye. That was not fun. Being cheesy by nature, I gifted my good friend a sentimental message written in a mutually appreciated novel with a polaroid we took together on the last day. With only two weeks left until the end of semester – for some, even less – there exists an unspoken rule of not mentioning that soon we must all part ways and go back to our ‘real’ lives. The topic is strictly forbidden and any word of it will result in a sea of uncontrollable tears or internal anxiety. A bit dramatic? Study abroad for half a year or more and you’ll understand.

Knowing that the end is near, I had ambitiously planned to travel every single weekend before exams. I managed to tour around Belgium, visit the famous Dutch windmills in Zaanse Schans, revisit Berlin and road-trip to Luxembourg. I even had plans to go to Morocco and London but my body finally gave in and I ended up catching a nasty cold. At least the weather is warm now (even heading towards the 30s in Celsius!). Falling sick is probably a blessing in disguise because it let me appreciate the last few moments with the city itself and spend more quality time with the people here.

The expiration date motivated my friends and I to overcome our intrinsic sloth existence by squeezing in as much time together as possible. All the whilst juggling the pressure of University and exams. We began by visiting restaurants we talked about going to but never did, and to pre-drinking but never making it to the actual party because it can be more fun to be idiots with friends in an enclosed and private space as opposed to being idiots with strangers in a larger and more public space. Wow that was a mouthful.

Maastricht is truly a hidden gem and I’m glad I had the privilege of living here pretty much like a local to truly explore all the great things it has to offer. It might seem like a small and boring city but it is one of those places that you can’t possibly appreciate to the full extent as a weekend traveller or passer-by. Since this will be my last post about my exchange period here (if you’re reading this and deciding whether to stay for a semester or two – do two), I want to leave you with some of my last recommendations/findings/experiences about this gorgeous city.


Foodbank is an event that runs every Friday without fail (ok maybe holidays) in the funkiest abandoned warehouse you would not expect to find by the river. To reduce food wastage and promote the awareness of vegan delicacies, this non-profit volunteer based event gathers the left-over food from the Friday markets (that otherwise would have been completely discarded) and transforms them into a delicious three course meal. Yes, that includes a starter, main and dessert!! They even have accompanying live music and decent 1.5 euro beer. The first night I went, it was ‘open-mic night’ and I was fortunate enough to hear some great freelancers perform, one of whom was a friend too! The atmosphere is fantastic because it gathers kind souls from all over the world where everyone puts in effort in preparing and cleaning.

mac SportsClub

So…I’ve never in my life purchased a gym membership but I guess when you’re on exchange, everything is a possibility. if you’re part of ISN Maastricht, there is a decent deal where you can pay for 3 months of membership and get the 4th month free! I found out a little too late and won’t be able to get the most out of the 4 months so jump on that quick! There are some fun classes like jumping fitness and anti-gravity yoga that I would seriously recommend checking out. Oh and this is not a sponsored message.

Enci B.V.

The days will get hot enough where you will dream of a beach. In Maastricht, the next best thing is a quarry. Fun place to spend a warm day! But hopefully it’s not too crowded.

How to Say Goodbye 101

Don’t avoid it, give it your all for one last hoorah! If you start feeling sad, just remember that it won’t be the last time you see them. Oh and it also means you’ll have more free accommodation around the world. Who needs Airbnb?


Half a year went by like a flash of light. Incredibly grateful for everyone and everything. Enough with the cheese, thanks for reading!


Spring is coming.

End of March 2017.

As I predicted, this semester has gone by way too quickly for my liking. I am almost half way through and I have barely had a breather to reflect on everything that has happened. Partially why I’m glad I signed up to write this blog even though it’s a week before my first round of exams. Alright, since this isn’t exactly a personal blog to divulge the oh so fascinating chronicles of my life…I will recount the past few weeks based upon the most memorable events that will give you a taste of what it is like to live abroad in the Netherlands – while also incorporating some useful tips I’ve learnt along the way…

Carnival Week – something I have learnt to not question or understand…

This is a week where people of all ages unapologetically dress up in crazy extravagant costumes and drink like there is no tomorrow. Celebrations begin on a Friday night and if you’re lucky, last until Tuesday night the next week. There was a parade that snail paced their way around the city whilst blasting funky dutch carnival music. Honestly, the amount of effort people put into their makeup, fake lashes, costumes and props etc is quite impressive. Some people spend the whole year hand-making them! However, if you’re part of the lazy folk like me, you can just go to the many carnival shops scattered around the city where you can buy things from face-paint to hot dog costumes. So low is also another shop that sells really cheap knick knacks. Warning! DO NOT wear nice shoes, they will get so dirty and ruined that they will never return to the pristine condition it once was 😥 What a rookie mistake by me. Urgh.  Such a fun weekend that I would definitely recommend to stay for at least a day or two, so don’t plan any travel plans too hastily during this period! Oh did I mention that you get a whole week off from university????

Trip to Prague: where beer is water and fairytales comes true.

Since the Spring semester have many glorious holidays spread intermittently throughout the periods, I booked a trip to Prague in Czech Republic. Luckily, I made a good friend from there and he was basically my personal tour guide for four days. I got tickets from Ryan Air for only 30 euros return!!  –Make sure to regularly check out the deals on this site because you can get to so many different places for as little as 10 euros! – It was departing from a crappy airport that is a pain to get to but hey, worth the price! The airport is called Charleroi and you need to take a train, then bus to the airport. As a student you can go to any city in Brussels for only 7.50 euros and I found this is the best site to buy tickets from ( where you can also download the ticket onto your phone through the app which saves you the hassle of printing.

The beauty of living in Maastricht is the centrality for travelling to various wonderful locations.

Boat and Caves

By far the most underrated school-like excursion in Maastricht offered by ISAP (google it). They combine a boat trip with a cave tour at a really cheap price compared to if you were to go by yourself. Even though I was incredibly hungover from ISN CANTUS (also google it) the night before, I still managed to get up and go which I’m so glad I did! You take a boat to these man-made caves from a few hundred years ago, a 200km labyrinth used during various periods in history including for refuge in World War II. You’ll even spot bats every now and then. The best part is that the tour guide switches off the lamp leaving everyone in complete darkness for a few minutes. I’ve done that before but it’s always a surreal experience. I met some really awesome people on the tour too that I’m sure I’ll see again!

Amsterdam/Rotterdam/The Hague/Delft 

Okay. So normally a ticket to Amsterdam is around 25 euros from Maastricht. BUT, fear no more. You can buy group tickets that take it down to 7 euros. There are so many different groups on Facebook you can join to buy tickets i.e. It takes some getting use to but give it some time to read through the descriptions and threads, and you’ll get the hang of it. Bam, you’re welcome. This is where I would also highly recommend getting a dutch bank account! Many places only accept Maestro and it just makes some things a lot easier. The train ride to the capital was also super easy. You can get a direct train where you can easily kill the time sleeping, reading or listening to music. Rotterdam, Delft and the Hague is literally also 30mins away so definitely give those cities a visit. I had such an amazing time because I caught up with some great friends I made 8 months ago in London and had not seen them since! Most of them are from different parts in Europe and what I absolutely love about being here is that in such a short amount of time you can visit a completely different country or city. Places where the culture and atmosphere can be starkly different and unique. Usually back home it can take me 30 minutes to an hour to get anywhere, even just for brunch. But here, I can run to Belgium in 15 minutes! Haha.

The travelling possibilities are endless!

Anyways. That’s it for now. Until next time 🙂

P.S How can I have not mentioned the weather? It’s getting really good.

Not just a small town.

It has only been a month of living in this quaint little town and it has removed all doubts about my choice of exchange destination. At first, I was worried about the notorious gloomy weather and how fun the city would be. But, despite it’s small size, Maastricht truly has so much to offer.



Firstly, you get used to the weather. Really. Although coming from Sydney, where sandy beaches, blue skies and a beaming sun are well acquainted friends, Netherlands did come as a shock to me at first. I would look out my bedroom window at 10am, see absolutely no sun and wonder whether my jet-lag was so bad that I slept until the evening of the next day.Before I left for Europe I even stocked up on some vitamin D in fear of seasonal affective disorder. But like I said, you get use to it. You learn very quickly to invest in a handy pair of gloves, beanie and raincoat. Riding your bike around warms you up quite nicely too – speaking of bikes, it is mandatory that you buy one. You literally can’t get around this town easy enough without one. The roads are so bike friendly that you always, I think, get the right of way. I managed to get a great second hand bike for just 35 euros! Anyways – back to weather chat. Every now and then, even in winter, the weather deities will grant you with a sunny day and a mild temperature. This is when you must visit Sint Pietersberg – the only hill in the area of this pancake country – and watch the sunset overlooking the city with a liquor of your choice, some damn good cheese and new friends.

One thing that I’ve learnt in my first few weeks here is that it’s not about where you are, but who you’re with. You could be in the most amazing city in the world but it just might not be that great unless you’re surrounded by great people to share those experiences with. I’ve already met some incredibly open-minded and interesting people here. I’m lucky to live in the Guesthouse which is accomodation specifically catered for exchange/international students. I love the international atmosphere and learning so much from talking to people from all walks of life. You end up meeting so many people I don’t even get offended if they’ve forgotten my name because the chances are I’ve probably forgotten theirs too. Also, the university and societies make a huge effort in organising events for new students to settle in. Just don’t be too cool for school and skip out on all the events. In terms of the nightlife, there is pretty much only one club/bar you can go to after a certain morning hour for those non-sleepers and even though it is a questionable atmosphere, you’ll still have an awesome (maybe even a little weird) time with the crew.



Another great thing about Maastricht is that the amount of cafes/bars offered are friggin amazing. There are so so many places to try, it will definitely not be financially viable for my student budget but hey – anything is possible when it comes to food. There is one cafe where my friends and I waited for TWO AND A HALF HOURS inside the restaurant to be seated and oh my lawd it is so good that thinking about it makes my mouth water right now. The place is called Cafe Sjiek and the leg-numbing-wine-consuming wait was completely worth it.


(Another cafe recommendation is tea-zone, amazing coffee/tea/cakes and a dedicated study area for students)

Lastly, I’m really glad to have been placed at Maastricht University for exchange. It almost sounds like I’m sponsored to say that but I’m really not. The problem based learning style really forces you to interact with the content that you are learning. I genuinely wish it was introduced at my home university, especially for all the social science subjects! Instead of cramming a semesters worth of content in one week and then forgetting it all after the exam, the information is actually retaining in my brain which I guess is a much better use of time haha.

Maastricht is a tiny town with so much to offer. This will be a 5 month love affair with a destined heartbreak when it due time to leave.