Becoming a local Maastrichtenaar

Hey there,

Welcome to my blog posts where I’ll be sharing my exciting yet strange experiences during my time abroad. My name is Rachana Pillamari and I am a 21-year-old Indian from Dubai. The first thought that comes to everyone’s head when they hear “Dubai” is that I probably roll around in a Lamborghini back home while I pet my tiger. Well, I am just an average Indian expatriate who was born and brought up in Dubai (there are a lot of Indians in Dubai) and I have had the opportunity to experience a wide range of cultures.

I am currently studying at the American University of Sharjah with a Major in Finance and a Minor in Theatre and Actuarial Math (yeah I know, it’s a strange combination). I am in my 4th year and I will be studying at Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics as a part of my exchange program. I had decided to embark on this exchange experience to challenge myself and discover what the world had to offer. Since I had already been to places in America and Asia, my options were narrowed down to the ones in Europe. Moreover, I found the Problem Based Learning system at Maastricht University very intriguing, and just as nerdy it may sound, that’s what made me decide on coming to Maastricht. The whole decision to study abroad was a big life decision since I had never been away from home for so long, and excitement, anxiety and nervousness were the only emotions I could feel up until the time I left from Dubai.

I had to take a flight to Amsterdam and then catch the train from the Schipol Airport to Maastricht. I had a stopover in Turkey, so my entire journey was about 9 hours. Taking a train from Amsterdam with a ginormous 30 kg suitcase was quite the challenge since it would barely fit through the aisles in the train. After I arrived at Maastricht Central Station, I met with a couple of students from the ISN who were providing a shuttle service from the station to the UM Guesthouse. I was going to be staying in the P-building. I managed to get myself a bicycle on my second day at Maastricht and I went around exploring the city.

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During my first few days at Maastricht, I was keen on exploring the city and finding good spots for purchasing my groceries and other necessities. My friend and I would ride our bicycles to the city centre and check out the stores there. I learnt about the Market that happens every Wednesday and Friday in the city centre where they sell fresh produce at inexpensive rates. I even went to a couple of grocery stores to figure out which of them had the best prices, considering that I am a student living on a budget. So far, Jumbo and Aldi seem like promising spots for inexpensive groceries.

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I found it fascinating as to how many people use a bicycle as a means of getting around. Initially, I found the transition strange, since I was very used to driving a car around, but with time I managed to get used to that lifestyle and now every time I go out I am always looking for the perfect pole or gate to lock my bicycle too. I found carrying my groceries on my bicycle a hassle (and my basket was not enough to hold all my things), but I have managed to figure out the art of carrying my groceries in a tote bag on my shoulder and cycling at the same time. Another thing I really loved was how most of the local people have pet dogs, and as a fellow dog-lover and dog-owner, the sight of the little dogs on the streets remind me of home.MVIMG_20180904_152511

Upon my arrival, I was fascinated (and a little overwhelmed) with the newfound independence and responsibility I was feeling in Maastricht and I am looking forward to the many adventures I am yet to experience during my semester abroad. I am in awe of the natural beauty that Maastricht has to offer and I can’t wait to explore more of the city.

Until next time,

Rachana Pillamari

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FINDING AN ACCOMMODATION – Short term stay and avoid scamming!

Hello guys! 🤗

After a (quick) introduction to myself, here is my story in finding an accommodation for a SHORT TERM. I’ve struggled guys, for real.

I’ve visited many many (many) websites, I’ve even paid for one! (Kamernet) It did not help me at all, I did not find anything on these website, because every rental contracts were for at least a year.

I could find 2 or 3 rooms on one website though, but it was unfurnished and a bit over my budget (400 to 600€ per month).

I’ve started to join 3 or 4 Facebook groups and literally sent messages to everyone, and activated the notification to receive every single new post.

Luckily, I have found a room and I would never ever thanks Marika enough for letting me sub-rentingrenting her room.

My room is a student room, and I’m sharing the appartment with 3 other students. The rent is even lower than the budget I’ve settled! It’s 20 min walk from SBE (and yes I am going to walk! Playing Pokemon Go makes it so much funnier). My room is 22 meters square and I have everything I need!

I’ve found this room only few weeks before arriving in Maastricht.

I did a Skype visit as I was on holidaysI did not have much options! And fortunately, everything went well. I was pretty anxious about that because I’ve been scammed in Australia… and quite a big amount of money…

Here are some of my tips to recognize it and avoid it!

From my experience, first of all the room / apparement has an appealing price for its location.

Scammers send you very long messages, not always making a lot of sense…

They explain you the reason why you can’t visit the room… Never accept a room you can’t visit, you need at least to see it through Skype so you know it’s real!

They ask for a high deposit, usually the deposit is plus or less 1 month rent, up to 2 months for long rent BUT NO MORE.

To sum up, be extremely careful with scamming, I know it is truly hard to find short term accommodation but don’t be too seduced by too appealing offers…

Your best chance are certainly Facebook groups, by subrenting someone else’s rent because (s)he is going away for an exchange as well or for an internship!

Good luck ✨🔑🚪

INTRODUCTION TO MYSELF

Hi guys! 🤗

I’m a French exchange student for the coming fall semester at Maastricht University! More particularly at SBE (School of Business and Economics)

My name is My-Hanh but you can call me Cassie so you don’t misspell my name! By the way, all my social media are under the name of Cassie (it’s a long story, back in the time when I was a gamer).

I have Vietnamese backgrounds (I do speak Vietnamese as well) and I’m turning 20 on September 13th! (Celebrating my birthday in Netherlands, isn’t it exciting?!)

I’m so excited to write on the school’s blog about my experience / life / adventure (can’t find the word I actually wanted to use) during this Erasmus!

Few (or quite a bit actually) more words about me:

I’m from Paris (actually I’m from a place closed to Disneyland Paris) and my home university is Emlyon business school (better known as EMLYON). I’m in my 3rd year of Global BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration).

I have 3 other Emlyon students with me! 2 are from Paris as well, another one is from St Etienne campus.

I’m an only-child, but I have / had many animals. Currently, I have 2 female dogs, named Tina and Chloe!

To be honest, SBE wasn’t my 1st choice, it was my second and I was pretty sure to have my 1st choice so I didn’t really paid attention about what I’ve put after. However I don’t think I am going to regret it and one good thing about Maastricht is it’s pretty closed from Paris and actually from other countries which made it easy to travel around and go back home sometimes!

For period 1, I chose Marketing Strategy and Practice and Mobilising resources for entrepreneurial start-up and growth.

For period 2, I chose Global supply chain management and I am still hesitating between Brand management and Job performance & the employment relationship.

Finally, for period 3 (skills training) I chose Creativity and concept development.

I don’t know exactly what I want to do after my studies but I don’t think I am going to do any master!

I have a lot of hobbies! I am kind of passionate about everything that touches Arts, especially theatre arts (dance, music, circus shows, drama…) and cinema! 🎬🎵🎶🎭🤹🏻‍♀️🎪🎟

I’ve been focusing on music for some years, I’m playing the piano, the guitar, I’ve been singing as well, playing in some bands and choir, writing my own songs, doing concerts… Also started to learn how to play drums and even brought a drum kit on an impulse! 🎤🎹🎸🥁🎫

Now I am currently focusing on dance! I’ve started with ballet, went through hip hop, new style, dancehall and so on, ended with developing a passion for every girly dance styles! It helps me having confidence, honestly seeing me IRL and dancing looks like I am 2 different persons!

Currently focused on pole dance 💪🏻 Would love to teach it somedays! 👯‍♀️

Already teaching and dancing for ELGO DANCE, check it out on YouTube! 😋👠💃🏻

📲 Follow us on Instagram: @Elgo_Community (because I DO manage it! 🤣)

Besides that I am quite enjoying doing sports as well! But that is going to be a topic of one of my coming articles 😉👟

STAY TUNED!

Welcome to Maastricht

Hello readers!

My name is Natalie Schuler, and I am a third year exchange student from Butler University, in Indianapolis, IN. I am excited to share my experiences abroad as an official blogger for Maastricht University SBE!

First I want to share a little bit about why I chose Maastricht and what brought me here. Everyone that I know who has had the opportunity to go abroad explains how live-changing the experience is. I decided to go abroad to challenge myself and experience life in a culture different from the one I am use to in the States. I chose Maastricht specifically because of its location in Europe, making traveling on my off days easier. I want to see as much of Europe as a I can while I’m here! Another reason I decided to attend Maastricht University for my exchange, is because of its unique learning system, the PBL tutorial program.

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Now that I am 2 weeks into class, PBL is definitely a different way of learning, at least compared to what I’m use to at Butler. The PBL system requires a lot of work outside of class, but you only take 2 classes at a time, so you have a lot of free time to study (or at least attempt to study)! Right now I am still adjusting, but I think if I budget my time efficiently I will get everything done and also have time to enjoy myself.

It feels as though I’ve been in Maastricht for months, but it has hardly been 3 weeks! The days move fast here. There are always new people to meet and new places to explore! I live in the Guesthouse C building. I have a roommate. She’s from Scotland, so it has been fun to get to know her and listen to her stories. I am fortunate that the people in my hall are very nice. We all get along and spend a lot of time together getting to know one another. My hall is very diverse, we have people from all over the world, so it has been fun getting to know everyone and eating dinner together. I would definitely recommend staying at the Guesthouse if you are studying in Maastricht, because most of the exchange students live here. The Guesthouse is located in a great location, close to all the stores, restaurants and campus.

Living in the Netherlands it is essential to own a bike! I recommend Swapfiets, where you can rent a bike for a flat rate each month. Swapfiets also offers a student discount and will bring you a new bike right away if it is broken or stolen.

Back at home I’ve always had a meal plan, so this is the first time I’ve ever had to cook for myself. I highly recommend the Friday Market at the Markt. The produce is amazing quality and extremely cheap! They sell the best strawberries I’ve ever had! IMG_6799.jpg

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The Market also has the most beautiful flowers!

This weekend I am going on the Discover Holland Trip, which is offered by ISN. ISN is a group that organizes trips and parties for international students in Maastricht. They had many events during arrival week. I have attended multiple events that they have sponsored, and have been able to meet so many people.

Thank you all for reading about my adventures thus far! I am hoping to travel more in the next month, so stay tuned for updates on my travels and life here in the Netherlands!

Until next time,

Natalie

The one with the adjustment

Hi! My name is Catarina I’m 19 years old and I’m from Portugal, Lisbon. I’m currently in the third year of my bachelor in business and administration at Católica Lisbon SBE.

My experience started 2 weeks and a half ago. I arrived at Brussels airport (Zaventem) and took a flixbus to Maastricht because, even though it required waiting a few hours at the airport for it, it was much cheaper (7€) and easier than taking the train. I came to Maastricht alone, but at the brussels airport met some girls that were also coming to Maastricht on their Erasmus experience, so we took the bus together. When I arrived at the Maastricht station I took the Minivan of ISN to the guesthouse where I was staying, as I signed up for their free pick-up service! If you arrive at the introduction week you should use this service!

Housing in Maastricht

I live in the M building which is located in the GuestHouse. I live in a shared room with a toilet inside. I really like my floor, I think you have everything you need and the building was renewed 3 years ago so the conditions are really good. Be prepared to have a lot of parties and a messy kitchen! If you want to live in the guesthouse you can choose between 3 Buildings, C, P and M and the main differences are the parts of the habitation you share. I was really hesitant between going to a house or the guesthouse but I opted for the guesthouse because i was only staying for 5 months and in this place there is always something going on.

First week of PBL system

As you probably know Maastricht University uses the PBL system (Problem Based Learning). At my home university we use the regular system with lectures and some practical classes which is totally different. I was a bit nervous about my first tutorials because i didn´t really knew what to do and expect, but I guess you will be fine because you get used to it really quick. The only downside of the PBL is the amount of work and reading you need to do during the week, but if you organize you schedule well you will have time to study, party and travell a lot!

Trip 1 – Rotterdam

In my second week here, me and my friends decided to go to Rotterdam. If you are travelling with a group (4 minimum, 10 maximum) the cheapest way to travel around Netherlands is the GroupTicket that you can buy online at the ns.nl website, it will be between 6€ and 7€.

We stayed the nigth at a hostel but i think that you can do a one day trip and you will see everything.

Tips of the month

    • Students Service Center -As the PBL demands a lot of work the library is always full so i always study at Students Service Center. They have some rooms to study, a printer and a really nice cafe (Coffee Lovers) and usually is not full so it´s a nice alternative to the library.
    • 39928564_529255794188224_2086817635777094761_nSwapfiets

– One of the first things you should do when you get to Maastricht is to get a bike! I rented one to Swapfiets for 12€ a month and i think this is the best option if you are only staying for a short period of time.

  • Action – This is THE store you need to know! It’s basically a store where you can find almost everything you will need (bedsheets, kitchen essencials, notebooks, etc) with the cheapest prices!

 

I hope my post helped you in some way! See you soon,

Catarina