It’s the end of May and I’m leaving in about two and a half weeks. I still cannot believe how fast this exchange semester passed and thinking about going home is almost a bit scary considering the fact that I started feeling to be at home here in Maastricht from the very first week on.
Now that I look back at these amazing 4 months I think I would do everything the exact same way again I did it. The city is beautiful (although it is not that different from any Swiss city), the experiences I made are unforgettable and the most important thing: I met great people and I will definitely see some of them again in the near future. The fact that the exchange students here in Maastricht are so international and come from all over the world makes you think that the different cultures and habits make it eventually harder to get along with each other. But in my opinion, this is the most important reason why I would recommend Maastricht as a place to go to do an exchange semester. I also experienced the situation of meeting somebody and having the feeling of knowing this person for years although we met a few hours ago and our cultures are so different.
Not only the people need to be mentioned but also the great location of this country! Inspired by all the non-european students who were traveling almost every weekend, I also did some great trips during my stay here. The fact that Ryanair offers great deals from all airports in close proximity to Maastricht makes it hardly impossible to say no. I also became kind of conscious about how easy it is to travel in Europe, and especially not even that expensive if one is not picky about hostels or accommodation in general.
However, there are also some negative points that need to be mentioned. The PBL system of the university still did not convince me, as I see it, there are subjects that are appropriate to be taught through PBL and some of them are not. I was studying finance which is not suitable for PBL in my opinion. Nevertheless, the university is organized really professionally and especially the International Office responsible for exchange students responds within one hour which is so much better compared to my home university!
Although I think I did not change that much in this exchange semester, I still learned some important things that I will not forget. Firstly, I should never be afraid of approaching people and just do it. It’s always worth it since there’s a possibility that you meet people who you might become really good friends with, but if you do not dare to talk to them you might never find out. Secondly, even if you come to a university with a different system or if you get into an unknown situation in general, and all people around you know how it works except you, the best thing is just to try it, even if you do not have any idea of what you are doing. At the very end it usually works out and even if not, it could be worse. And last but not least, if you meet so many people in such a short time, it is sometimes hard to realize at the beginning who is your type of person and who is not. I guess I kind of improved that skill to realize who I might be friends with or not pretty quickly.
I’m grateful for all the experiences I made and hope to come back to this place at least once again…