Great Spots in Maastricht

Hey guys, how’s everything going in the past month?

I can’t believe my exchange life in Maastricht is almost coming to an end!!!

I love this little town so much, and started to feel bad not exploring it enough …

Since we’ve been here for a couple months, there are some cool places in the lovely town, and those places are all must-go spots! Below are my favorite spots.

[Selexys Dominicanen]

Said to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world, and also my favorite spot in Maastricht!!

Just walk in the bookstore, you will find it very historical and amazing.

You can sit inside the café and enjoy whole afternoon even doing nothing (that’s what I usually do 😉 )

DSCN0038

DSCN0041

[Stadhuis]

IMG_0975

Every Wednesday and Friday, there’s a market, you can find almost everything there!

They have fresh fish, meet, fruit, bread, like literally very fresh!

IMG_1712

Oh, and don’t forget to try Reitz , they have the best fries , just across the Stadhuis !

[Besiliek van St. Servaas]

IMG_1048

One of the oldest church in Holland! A cool church that you don’t want to miss.

[Maas]

The river goes through the entire town, you can easily find a spot and enjoy the view!!

IMG_1336

[Helpoort- Hell’s Gate]

Built in 1229, the only remaining gate in Maastricht and the oldest in the Netherlands.

There used to be a black death house in front of the gate, patients had to be delivered through the gate to the house to be isolated, and they never came back, this is how Hell’s Gate got its name from…

Creepy huh? But now it has become a historical site and next to it , you see a beautiful park !

IMG_4209IMG_1532

[Fort St. Pieter]

It dates from 1701-1702, completely restored in 2007. You can walk through the corridors and even get onto the top of the fort, near the fort there’s lookout where you can see the town super clearly 🙂

IMG_1747

[Grotten St. Pietersberg- Cave tour!! ]

Obviously, it is pretty close to the fort St. Pieter. The underground tour is something you really can’t miss!

They have English tour almost everyday, and you can buy the tickets at VVV ( at the city center ) or just get it at the meeting point. But I suggest you buy the tickets beforehand, you don’t want to go there and find out the tour is full right 😉

This is our tour guide Peter, very humor and professional.

IMG_4249

In the cave, it’s really dark, make sure you stick with the group and don’t get lost !  The tour is approximately an hour, 10 celsius all year, you’ll like it !

IMG_4251 IMG_4253

[Basiliek van Onze Lieve Vrouw- Square of Our Lady ]

Yes, another beautiful church! It’s Europe, churches are everywhere!

The church is located in the square surrounded with lots of cafés, bars, after visiting the church, you can enjoy your beer at a random café , they are anyway good .

IMG_4184

 

OK, now , enough of the historical sites, it’s time for some sweets and delicious food in Maastricht !!

[ Chocolate Company ]

Very nice place, the shop itself with cute decoration and chocolate all around!!

You get to pick your chocolate flavour, and put them in a cup of hot milk, how awesome is that!

IMG_4225

[ Teazone]

By their name you know they have lots of tea, literally all kinds (with pretty cool names actually )

Besides tea, they have tons of handmade cakes , you can just spend whole afternoon here reading and chilling 🙂

IMG_4275

 

 

IMG_4277

 

[Wen Chow ]

Best Chinese restaurant in Maastricht I would say! As a Taiwanese student, I sometimes really miss the Asian food, and Wen Chow is the place where I can find the food that make me feel at home 🙂 The food is decent with big protion , moreover, its a Michelin restaurant with reasonable price !! If you like Chinese food, definitely don’t want to miss it!!

DSCN0066

[ Bisschopsmolen ]

They have great pies made of fresh fruit, as you can see, and a big watermill behind the shop, a  lovely place and super nice staff!! You can also find some bio food and fresh bread!

IMG_1476IMG_1484

 

Merry Christmas in advanced!

So, at the time I’m writing this blog, Christmas is around the corner, and if you are doing your exchange in fall, you will see lots of Christmas market in Europe, and of course in Maastricht as well. If you are lucky, you might see Black Pete!! The past few months have been such a sweet time in Maastricht, I’ve made a lot of friends from all over the world, travelling quite a bit and enjoyed it a lot. I hope your stay in Maastricht will be as fruitful as mine, and wish you all the best with your exchange life!

IMG_4296

 

Jasmine

Advertisements

School life- Course, Classmates, Exams

Hi guys, how’s life!

This time, I would like to talk about the course, classmates and the exams to make you know more about UM school life!

[Course]

You will have to register the courses before hand , and keep in mind to check the “availability ” if you prefer not having evening courses. _I didn’t know when registering, and ended up having a 18:30 tutorial in period 1…..

For preparing the tutorial, we have to basically read all the materials as I mentioned last time how the PBL works. Before my first tutorial I was somewhat nervous, but the tutor helped a lot explaining how it will be, and what to expect from us.

IMG_1321

(picture of the classroom taken before my tutorial)

For period 1, I took Brand Management, the course itself is interesting to me, yet a lot of work to do. For the earlier tutorials, it was easy, only read the materials and get ready for class. There were also some events coming up. First, we had a Procter and Gamble Workshop which was really challenging, we had to solve a case, calculating the marketing related numbers…. it was hard yet very practical, though our team didn’t win, we’ve learned a lot from it.

– Facilitation

After the workshop, each team had to do the facilitation for 2 times for later tutorials. What is facilitation? The team doing it has to combine texts and articles, and to make it interesting same time educating. It is not too difficult, just make sure you understand the materials and try your best to combine them in a fun, creative way, make a catchy powerpoint and bring it on !

– Brand and Communication Challenge (BCC)

We have to help a pension fund to create awareness of pension, which is already said, a challenge! During the preparation it was actually very fun also time consuming. We had to meet with our team members frequently and think of marketing campaigns that are catchy. But it was worthy, we were announced second place!

IMG_1834

(Team Partner Pension at the final event )

[classmates]

In every tutorial, there will be regular and exchange students. The regular students are all very friendly and helpful. I ask questions of all kinds, and they always have answers for me.

In class, you can’t really tell which ones are regular or exchange since everyone all work pretty hard. The regular students do know more about the facilitations, presentation and paper requirements, and they will just show us how they usually do it, so relax!! Everything will be fine.

[Exams]

Just few weeks ago, we had our period 1 final exam, and you can feel the exam is really coming up because in the guesthouse lobby, there will be lots of people studying already weeks early.

For my course, they gave out some practice questions with answer key, so I just did all the practices and reviewed the materials again. If you did go through the materials for the past weeks, it should be fine and just make sure you have practice the exercises because they might be in your exam!

In UM, there’re lists of the exam rules, make sure you read them all!! The exam took place in Mecc, yes, not in SBE, so I would suggest you go check the place first to avoid any tragedies .

On the exam day, you can smell there’s panic in the air… everyone is nervous especially the exchange students I think. I didn’t know how it will be and afraid that I would fail.

IMG_1910

(tons of people waiting to get in the hall)

I woke up and got to Mecc early, and basically everyone did.  The exams took place in a big hall, everyone having the test at the same time will be there, and you will have to find the seat with your name on. As long as you get there early, you’ll have plenty time to look for your seat, all the best!!!

I’ll see you next time 🙂

School life- orientation day!

Hey guys, it’s been a month, how’s everyone?

Today I would like to share with you my school life.

In the first week, there’s a two-day compulsory orientation which I thought pretty helpful and a good opportunity to make friends.

IMG_0848

I got an orange bag and an envelope filling with all the useful information! In it, there are instructions of the ELeUM (Maastricht University’s electronic learing environment ), instructions of writing a paper, and presentation skills. I think it shows how UM warmly welcome the exchange students and put much effort on helping us to get used to the school life soon.

IMG_0847

After the first day orientation, we all got lunch boxes (oh yes, and the cupcakes!) and had a pleasant time with all the new friends.

IMG_0853

 

Since there’re so many exchange students here, they split us up into several groups, each group had a assistant student helping and guiding. The assistant  student was so nice , answering all kinds of questions regarding to school life ( how to borrow books in the library, how to make copies, how to top up your UM card..), where to get a bike , recommendations of bars to hang out  and basically all the things you ask, even if she didn’t know, she’d ask someone to help. I think that is even helpful to have a student telling you how they usually do, don’t you think ?   After lunch, we had a city tour, and it’s nice to have someone who knows the town to show you around, we went to the library, and all the way to city center.

The next day of orientation was the PBL training!
In Maastricht University, they do the Problem Based Learning, and that’s probably a very different way of  learning  from your universities.
The assistant student showed some learning steps of the PBL, we had a case study, everyone had to try to answer the questions regarding to the case, and show our opinions. I strongly recommend you must go to this PBL training! You will learn more about it and do not freak out in your first tutorial.

Now, I would like to tell you how PBL work in my course.

Everyone in the tutorial has to study all the materials and bring your thoughts to class. There’s a discussion leader every time, he or she has to lead the class to go through the materials and discuss all the possible questions.  There will be a tutor as well, but he or she might not speak as much as you thought, the PBL is to make it possible for students to deliver thoughts and through discussion make everyone understand the material and have different points of view. So what the tutor do basically , is to make sure  we don’t go too far away from the topic, on the right track of understanding , and record our participation ( the quality and quantity of your speak, and of course, the physical participation.)

It is crucial that you go through the materials before you attend class, because you only get more out of it if you did study beforehand.  Through the discussion you’d see how your classmates think differently. It is always fun to have multiple perspectives, and fun to learn from your classmates from different countries!

Ok, enough serious PBL,  let’s go back to the orientation.

After two days of orientation, in second day afternoon, there’s a welcome drink !

IMG_0887

IMG_0891
This really surprised me because I never thought students can ever drink publicly in school property . I guess that’s another culture shock!

It had been a fun 2 -day orientation, I’m sure you will feel the same !

I hope this helps you more or less to know about the school life, and i’ll see you next time 🙂

Hello Europe, hello Maastricht!!

My name is Jasmine, an exchange student from Cheng Chi University, Taiwan. I am so glad to share to you all my journeys in UM! Maastricht is an amazing little town, it has historical sites, and also if you are a fashion lover, tones of shops that you can choose from. Let’s see how I spent my first week here!

IMG_0833

Arrival Week

Before arriving, the warm ESN has informed all exchange students that they offer pick up service (free rides) from Maastricht station to the guest house. It’s a great offer, because we are all new here, don’t know anyone, know nothing about Dutch, and after hours of exhausted traveling (me for example, from Taiwan to Amsterdam ,12 hours, and from Amsterdam to Maastricht by train, it was more than 2 hours), it is so nice to have someone take you directly to where you stay!!

Besides the pick up service, ESN has arranged so many welcome activities and parties for exchange students, like city tours, social drinks, pub crawl, Dutch culture night, black light party; you feel very welcomed by the school, and sure a good time for you to meet new people. And this is the thing about UM, it is so international, I met some lovely Colombian friends, German, Korean, British , Portuguese, American, Turkish, Swedish and Finnish, literally all over the world. It is a great chance to know better about other country and learn to respect other culture.

 

Accommodation

The place I stay at is called the Guest House, most exchange students stay in here. I stay at the P building, it is a share room with a tiny kitchen. If you are the kind of person that need some personal space, yet don’t want to pay so much for a single room, then P building will be a good choice for you. You can cook in your own room, there’s a TV, a dining table, so when you feel like having some silent moments, you can just stay in your room. And when you feel like talking or meeting new people, you can go to M building (but first you need to have a friend who stays at M building and lead you in; there they have a shared kitchen, a living room where people usually hang out)

I like my room pretty much, and enjoy the time cooking alone without pressure (cuz I literally never cook back home, and in shared kitchen there’s always people around you, that kinda freaks me out), enjoy chatting with my lovely German roommate about how the day have been, really recommend P building!

IMG_0809

IMG_0808

Also, there’s a laundry room, a tennis court and a basketball court, security all day, and a vending machine at the lobby. Supermarkets in 7- minute walk distance. And to SBE it is about 20 minutes walk.

Getting a bike in Maastricht

In Maastricht, almost everyone has a bike, it is easier to go anywhere in the neighborhood, and exchange students who don’t want to buy a brand new one can look for the second hand bikes on the Facebook “Fleamarket Maastricht” or “Buy/Sell a bike in Maastricht”. But keep in mind that in Maastricht , it has certain rules for bikers so before you go on the road, make sure you’re aware of all the rules.

Grocery shopping

When I arrived in Maastricht, immediately found out that eating out is quite expensive, so my friends and I usually do groceries twice a week and cook for ourselves!

For someone like me who come from Asia, you must miss all the food back home, in Maastricht there’s an Asian supermarket in downtown, so don’t worry too much, you can find pretty much everything you need. And there are other 3 supermarkets here, Jumbo, AH and Aldi. Jumbo is the one I shop most, the quality is good and the price is decent. And according to my regular- student friends, “AH, the most expensive one; Aldi, the cheapest but with poor quality”.

 

It has been quite a lot to get used to, the food, the language, the culture… everything!!! But soon I find myself enjoy the life here, and want to know more about this beautiful town and get ready for my semester!

These are the experiences I’ve got so far, I hope it will do a little help for the future exchange students, and I’ll see you soon!

 

Jasmine