Hello everyone! I’m Wen Jie, from Singapore (National University of Singapore), and I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to blog for this coming exchange semester! People just call me Wenz here… just because my chinese name is really hard for people to pronounce.
I flew from Singapore to Schiphol airport alone on 23rd January, and thankfully it wasn’t too difficult to get to Maastricht by train. Only problem though: trains were suspended due to snow and I was stuck exploring the airport for around 2-3 hours 😦
Something you don’t want to see.. no trains out from Schiphol
To get to Maastricht, you would have to take a train from Schiphol Airport to either Amsterdam Central or Utrecht Central, where there would be a train to Maastricht after that. Make use of the free wi-fi at the airport! (Plus this very handy travel app I used: http://9292.nl/en , which helps you plan your trips in the Netherlands – timings are really accurate and updated real time!)
I stay in the main guesthouse, so after arriving at Maastricht station I took a bus right outside the train station to bring me to Sint Annalaan (the roundabout where the guesthouse is located), especially since the pick-up service only started on the 26th. By the way, I flew in early because I wanted to have some time to settle down before everything started happening (and I think I made the right choice!)
After almost ~20 hours… Maastricht!
Screens which show the upcoming stop on buses… very useful!
Guesthouse room in the M-building – so huge and I have it all to myself
I really like the room I have in the guesthouse (M-building). It’s so big (double the size of the room I have back in Singapore, where I stay on campus), plus I have a great view from my window! I also got a bed package from SSH Short Stay because I was too lazy to get one myself – you should really consider this if you’re coming from a faraway place and want something nice to sleep on for your first night.
In the first few days I was here, I set off to get acquainted with the place – supermarkets, banks etc etc. Most of these you can find in this place called Brusselsepoort, which has 2 supermarkets (Jumbo and Albert Heijn), and an ING bank branch. There are also other shops such as HEMA (sells small items such as cups, small furniture etc at an affordable price), and another furniture store (forgot the name) that sells stuff like electric kettles, hair dryers, electronics etc.
After settling down, it was time for ESN’s arrival week – basically I would recommend to go for everything! (City Tour, Neon Party, Pub Crawl, Semester Kick Off Party etc.) It was a really nice way to meet new people while getting to know the place (and pubs) well! Tickets can be bought at the ESN office / at a booth on the ground floor of the guesthouse (it isn’t that expensive considering all the things that you will be doing!) It was also during these events which I found people to go to watch a football game together!
Watching a football game in Maastricht – MVV Maastricht V Roda JC
Of course, this was an eye-opening experience as the atmosphere was really heated up despite the light drizzle and cold weather – glad to be part of the home side which won 3-1 in the end! Tickets can be bought easily online (but you would have to use Google translate as the website is largely in Dutch!). If you’re a football fan and want to travel somewhere close to watch it (only 20-30minutes by bike from the guesthouse!), why not consider this?
And after this whirlwind of events that happened in a week (I barely got much sleep due to all the parties), it was time to get acquainted with the school with its compulsory orientation days. The facilities are really nice and modern, although some of the classrooms’ sizes are a bit smaller than what I would have preferred. During the 2 days of SBE’s orientation, we got to know more about the school and its PBL system (on the 2nd day!). If you’re coming from Singapore (NUS in particular), I would think that this would not be completely foreign to you! Basically it’s a combination of participating in class and reading up textbook chapters before classes to prepare yourself with the content.
However, that is only my understanding after 1 week of classes – so watch out for my next post about PBL (and of course the upcoming Carnival break – (a week long, wow!). Hope you guys enjoyed reading this so far!
Classes… officially begin
And of course, this is me.. at the Maas.