It’s hard to say goodbye when you really enjoy something…

Merry Christmas!

 

I have never been to Christmas markets as beautiful as Maastricht’s. All the streets full of lights and with all those small shops selling candies and chocolates made me remember my childhood. We went out one week ago to take a look at the market at Vrijthof, to ice-skate, eat candies and jump into the fair wheel.

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Although some things are expensive, it’s worth to spend some money to distract yourself of your hard study as exams are approaching. The views from the fair wheel are beautiful and though I did never ice-skate before, that was very good fun. Some crashes but nothing important.

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Library @ the Church

Close to the shops and the main street there is one of the most pleasing bookstores I have ever been. I’ve been told that long time ago there were many unused churches here in Maastricht so the city though about giving the churches other uses. One of them (which I think is a great idea) is to build a bookstore where you can take a coffee or tea inside. Usually, on Sundays I go there after lunch to relax myself and enjoy the bike ride towards there as well as the moment I grab a coffee inside.

Another church I’ve been to was during the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Maastricht, and as the one mentioned above was impressive. I had the pleasure to meet so many interesting people and listen to very influential speakers. As always, I learned a lot of everyone.

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Ah! I also won the StartUp Game that took place during the event, woho!

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Exams period

As always, here at SBE the week before the exams and the week during exams is stressful. Even though there’s a nice library close to the university it’s almost impossible to find a spots if you go there at 10am. I’ve seen queues of people before 8:30am waiting to get a spot… This is one of the things I may not like about the university, the lack of spots to quietly study during the exams.

During period 2 I’ve been doing Industrial Organization and Strategic Marketing and I liked them more than the courses I took during the first period. One of the most positive things I like from SBE is that no matter what course you take, where you are from, how old are you or what you have done so far in life that always you will be received as part of the “regular students” family and probably meet really nice and interesting people in your tutorial groups.

Hard goodbyes 

It is crazy how fast the time goes. It is impressive how we can open ourselves to people that we don’t know anything. All is different when you go abroad, especially if you go without any prior friends. You will share all your life to people that will leave after four or five months and vice versa, it is amazing!

The things I’ve learned up to this point from other countries or cultures have no price. I have the feeling I have been all over the world during these past months. From Shangai to Perú. From Australia to Canada. From Scotlant to Japan. From South Korea to Scotland. I am going to miss the people I met so much but on the positive side is that I do have friends all over the world now. Friends that may last for a long time (even forever sometimes… Who knows).

It’s been a really good time SBE, thanks for this time.

Hugs for everyone

Gerard

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Looking forward for current and upcoming periods

 After a huge and demanding first period I feel that I am totally used to the PBL system and therefore, the School of Business and Economics classes.

My first two courses went good, and I am really happy about that. After finishing my exams I was quite unsecure about myself because the fact that you do not do exams prior to the final exam was not common for be. Back in Barcelona, we usually have either two or three mid-term exams prior to the final one. Hence, it allow the students check the exam difficulty and maybe draw an idea what they can expect. Taking the fact that during the period we did not do any sort of exam (only one exercise of the year before final exam) to prepare for the upcoming final exam, and after not having enough time to finish the exam (out of 5 exercises I was only able to do 3) it made sense to be “negative” about my final grade. However, I knew I had worked hard and prepared all the classes the best I could so I needed to forget about being “negative” but thinking on that “positive” facts.

After exams… Cantus!

Even though there are a lot of parties going on during the period, I do not usually go out. However, I like attending special parties like Cantus (organized by ESN) or specific events that are different to the normal weekly parties. This time, Cantus took place during October 31th. Yes! That means Halloween and every people had to dress up for the occasion. As long as I did not have any kind of costume I opened my cupboard and figure it out what to wear last-minute.

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If you could not figure what is the costume out, let me tell you that I tried to be a “Zombie Nerd”. We had a lot of fun. We sung the most popular songs and drank a lot of beer. Ad Fundum! was always the move. I can understand that you may not know what that really means, but if I do so is because I want you to experience a ESN Cantus party when you come to Maastricht. Therefore, I will read a post of some of you answering what that means.

I also went out to a Cycling dinner hosted by my swimming team Tiburón. I had never experienced anything similar and had a lot of fun as well. It is nice that I had the chance to get to know more my fellow teammates and talk about anything. What I enjoyed the most was the last house I attended (for the dessert), was a chocolate-cookie mix with a gum eye above that was amazing.

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Switching rooms

During last few days, I decided to change my room for the upcoming semester starting on February. My room now it is near the kitchen and if you try to study or take a small nap it may be impossible (although it is possible sometimes). So in order to be more confortable I looked for an available room in one specific corridor of the GuestHouse with bigger kitchen and bigger room (in the middle of the corridor, not right to the kitchen).

Whether you are looking for flats or single rooms in the GuestHouse, I would suggest you to be in the GuestHouse.

Why the GuestHouse?

  • You are with many more people than you would be in a flat = more fun, meeting new people almost every day
  • The GuestHouse staff work so hard in order to make your stay easier and confortable so if you ever have a problem with anything they will fix it. Moreover, they clean the showers, bathrooms, kitchens and the floor every day.
  • Huge Wi-Fi system that works very good and quickly, no need to worry if sometimes the internet went down and the internet company does not answer your calls or does not fix your problem immediately
  • Decent bike park that is safer than parking your bike in the streets
  • Security guards awake the whole night
  • Tennis and basketball courts as well as a huge garden

That is my opinion and what I can say after been living there for almost two months and a half.

Hope you are liking the blog and that my posts are making your decisions easier

I will see you the next time!!

Gerard

Getting used to the PBL system

Hi again!

As I told you in the first post I tried Tiburón trainings and actually liked a lot so I joined them. It’s great to swim after an exhausting day although I think that Thursdays’ trainings are too late and I assume that in the winter it will be too cold that I will feel very lazy to go… We’ll see! I also joined SCOPE 3MA and I bet it will be a great time sharing ideas and opinion with all the interesting people involved in the organization. I will like to say you that you’ll have to keep an eye on Leadership of Tomorrow’s Table (committee that I am part from) because this year we will try to hold several discussions between influential people and SBE students that will improve your communication skills and your knowledge within a lot of fields.

PBL System

The exams are approaching (exactly one week left for my first exam) and I can make a balance of my opinion about my first feelings of the PBL this first period.

To start with, I would say that PBL system is unique in a way of how the students learn but as an exchange student I have noticed some drawbacks. I’ve been doing Operations Management and Business and Politics in Europe and I have to tell you that they were fully PBL system based. However, I had the feeling that I worked out better in Business and Politics in Europe rather than Operations Management.

The conclusion I take from my first period classes is that courses where you have to read a lot and are more subjective somehow are the perfect ones to use PBL as a learning system. On the other hand, courses that have calculations or something that it’s not discussable it is more desirable that a facilitator would teach the calculations and explain different applications of those. The goal, at the end, is to have a solid background to do the tasks required for each tutorial.

Finally, my expectations about next courses are very positive because of the first period courses that have been very useful to get used to the PBL system.

Brussels

During this period I have travelled to Brussels and really enjoyed it. Brussels is, at least for me, the heart of Europe where all the EU institutions are.

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I visited the Parlamentarium museum, le Grand Place and I also went to a food market that only takes place on Fridays. We bought some cheese and wine and sat in a table. I was so nice and fun. Although I don’t like chocolate at all, I couldn’t leave Belgium without tasting their chocolates so I bought some chocolates and ate a proper Belgian waffle. It was amazing.

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Amsterdam

I have already been three times in Amsterdam. If you ever go there be prepared for two things: 1) walking a lot and 2) get lost walking a lot. As long as Amsterdam is full of canals I had the feeling that every single street or neighborhood looked the same way and I had to use Google Maps many times, it was fun though.

The first time I was there was with my family and we didn’t have enough time to walk all around. We saw the Dam square, the flower market, the principal shopping streets and Anne Frank’s house (even it was so crowded).

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The second time I went with my friends and I was able to see more things that I couldn’t before. We slept in a hostel near I Amsterdam sign, close to Vondelpark. It was ok for the money we paid per night. We walked around for so many hours during that weekend and saw several things. The different thing we’ve done that weekend is that we jumped in a boat that went around Amsterdam’s canals and saw Amsterdam in other perspective.

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Last time I went there was with my girlfriend, she came from Barcelona. During that weekend we saw all the interesting things in Amsterdam. We walked around so many hours as I did the other times (be prepared to walk). We took a train that it took no more than 15 minutes to get to Zaanse-Schanse a little village full of windmills. While there, we rented bikes and went for a bike hike around the village. The village had several small chocolate and cheese shops and the staff were dressed up with a traditional Dutch costume.

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After all I can fairly say that the Period 1 is almost over. I learned so many things this period and got used to the PBL system as well. Hopefully next period I’ll be fully adapted to the system that it do not require so much effort.

I’ll see you in the next time!

Gerard

First impressions about SBE

Let me introduce myself a little bit, my name is Gerard and I have 20 years old. I’m from Barcelona and I wanted to study at Maastricht University because mainly the PBL system and the international environment. I’ve been here in Maastricht for less than a week and really enjoyed it but It’s hard to leave family, friends and girlfriend although at the same time I feel that it’s a huge opportunity I’ve got and I don’t know when another chance like that will take place in my life. I’ll share with you what I’ve experienced my early days here in SBE. Here I go!

Arrival Week

Okay, I’ve never experienced such and amazing arrival week like I did here at SBE. I wasn’t used to that kind of welcoming events because at my home university there’s only one welcome lecture before classes start. We don’t even get the chance to meet other students at parties or social events before the inauguration of the year so I had really good time meeting a lot of people from all over the world.

There were so many parties going on that I could join that I barely didn’t know which one to pick up. In my opinion, Arrival Week is pretty well organized because of ESN and the Maastricht University staff as well. People here, either local or exchange students, is so friendly that you don’t even notice you’re new at the university.

International approach

I knew it was one of the most international universities around Europe but I didn’t imagine that it was the way I am experiencing. There are so many cultures and countries represented over here. This international approach was one of the main reasons why I choose Maastricht.

I met a Japanese guy and I do like sharing cultural things that I don’t know about Japanese culture and Catalan/Spanish things he may not know as well. Yet I met a bunch of Australian guys who are awesome and I am having really good time with them. So as you can see, you can go from one country to another in less than a minute. Isn’t if fascinating? 

PBL System

I have to say that I’ve never had something like PBL System but as far as I know (from reading through the web) is one of the best ways to learn. I actually had a PBL trial session where I’ve seen how a tutorial looks like and I didn’t find it that hard but anyway, I’ll keep you updated with what I feel about. I know that is a challenge for me but as I said before I enjoy challenges and I don’t think that PBL would be a problem.

I feel that with PBL System we get more involved with what we are studying because it’s like you have to teach the tutor about what do you already learned preparing the classes. Nevertheless, there are some courses where is not PBL system going on because of the technical approach.

UM Sports

If you’re an exchange student and you think like ‘Oh no, I won’t have as much time to work out as I do in my home university’ I have to tell you that if you don’t workout is because you don’t want to not because you don’t get the chance to do some different sports.

During the arrival date there’s one time that you’ll meet all Sports Students associations and they’ll give you some crucial information about what they’re doing, when are the trainings taking place and they will tell you more about the team. I used to swim a lot before I got a part-time job in Barcelona so I am going to try Tiburón Swimming Team (http://www.mszvtiburon.nl/en) trainings and probably I’ll join them.

If you really like working out alone at the gym you can also do it. UM Sports has a nice facilities and they’re not far from the Guesthouse, like 10 minutes bike ride.

Don’t be lazy and join everything you can join to meet new people and work out!

 

All of that is mainly what I’ve experienced during my first days here in Maastricht. I’ll be writing on the blog for a year trying to share my experience with all of you. I hope you enjoy it.

 

See you soon!

Gerard