So long, farewell

Dear readers,

It feels like just a couple weeks ago I was sitting at the airport wondering what the next four months of my life were going to be like and now it’s over. I’m excited to be back home in a couple weeks, but I’m lucky to have met so many wonderful people that have made Maastricht my home away from home.

A few weeks ago, my hall celebrated Thanksgiving. It was definitely one of my favorite days here. We cooked and decorated our kitchen for the holidays. The food was amazing, but the company was even better. Next week our hall is planning on having a Christmas dinner. It will be bittersweet since most of us are leaving for home in two weeks.

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Thanksgiving Dinner

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Since the last time I wrote I have been traveling to Brussels, Luxembourg and this weekend I was in Madrid visiting some friends from home. Madrid was my final trip of the semester, as I leave for home in a couple of weeks and have to study for my exams.  I loved eating chocolate and waffles in Brussels. Luxembourg was beautiful, especially around Christmas. The city had five different markets. Madrid was so much fun! My friends studying there gave me an excellent tour, it was a great way to end my semester.

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Madrid

I am so glad that I decided to study abroad in the fall semester because Europe is magical at Christmas time. The entire city of Maastricht looks like a movie scene. The town has hung garland and lights all over and the Christmas Market is beautiful.

For readers who are thinking about going on exchange, it really is a life changing experience. I will say it is not always amazing. The entire semester doesn’t look like the Instagram photos. Some days you miss home or crave shopping in a grocery store of your own language, but I do think the highs out way the lows. I wouldn’t change anything about my exchange. I love all the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned in class and outside of class, and the places I’ve been. The world is so big and this experience has shown me that I still have so much to learn about the world and myself. As one of my friends here said, the more you put yourself outside your comfort zone the bigger it gets.

If your thinking about going on exchange, go! See the world! Meet new people! Try new things!

Thank you for following my semester in Maastricht! I wish you all the best of luck on your future endeavors!

Best,

Natalie

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Europe, a Foodies Paradise

Dear Readers,

Hello Again! It’s hard to believe the semester is more than halfway over, and in just a little over a month I will be flying back home to Chicago. Since my last blog, my daily life here in Maastricht has changed a bit. My classes have changed and I think these courses are going to me much easier than my last courses, but I think anything will be easier than my Finance and Accounting course from last period. Anyone coming to Maastricht on exchange, I highly recommend not taking that course. It was extremely difficult and not worth the stress while I was trying to enjoy my short time here in Europe. I am currently taking Global Supply Chain Management and Marketing Management, and I think both of these courses have been very interesting so far. As a bonus the Global Supply Chain course doesn’t have an exam!

After the exam week last period I met my parents in Amsterdam for a couple of days, and then we traveled to Barcelona for a few days before coming back to Maastricht. It was really nice to see my parents and travel with them. It was hard to say goodbye, but I know it won’t be long before I’m back home.

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My mom and I in Barcelona

One of my favorite parts about living here in Maastricht, and having the opportunity to see many different parts of Europe, has been trying all the different, amazing food! I enjoy trying new things and eating local dishes from everywhere I’ve been.  The food my parents and I had in Barcelona was amazing! Everyday we ate patatas bravas, paella, croissants, churros, café con leche, and sangria, everything was amazing! In addition to the delicious food in Barcelona, we ate at il bacaro here in Maastricht. This Italian restaurant was a little pricy, but if you want to treat yourself you definitely won’t be disappointed! It is a tapas themed Italian restaurant and the pasta and seafood was amazing. My mom thought since we’d been eating tapas all week we might as well continue here in Maastricht, and il bacaro did not disappoint!

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Churros 

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Paella and Pizza 

It has also been fun cooking for myself and sharing the kitchen with others to see what everyone else is making for dinner. Since Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Europe, all of my friends here have never had a Thanksgiving dinner. So, in two weeks I will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal for everyone in my hall. I think it will be nice to share something from home with everyone here. As I’ve been planning what to make and when to make everything, I now realize why my mom was always so stressed leading up to the big day, this meal is a ton of work! Last week I practiced making an apple pie and it turned out okay, but it was very time consuming. For Thanksgiving I plan on making a pumpkin pie! I will take pictures of everything and post in on next months blog!

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Homemade Apple Pie

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My entire hall in the Guesthouse is full of amazing chefs, every night our kitchen looks like a gourmet restaurant. They have inspired me to make new things and I think that dinner time here is going to be one of the things I miss most. Last week I made an eggplant marinara bake, which was inspired by something I had in Barcelona. Our hall also had a traditional Spanish omelets dinner on Friday, the two Spanish girls in our hall prepared the omelets, sangria and rice pudding!

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Eggplant Marinara Bake

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Traditional Spanish Dinner

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Rice Pudding

The rest of the semester is going to move quickly! In a couple of weeks I’m going to visit my friend Alice, from home, in Brussels for the weekend. The first weekend in December I’m going to Luxembourg with some girls I met here in Maastricht and the weekend after that I’m visiting my friends Hannah and Maria, from home, in Madrid! Then it will be time for exams and then I’ll be taking my last train ride from Maastricht to Amsterdam to fly home. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my time here eating good food and spending time with friends!

Until next time,

Natalie

Everyday Life

Hello again,

It’s hard to believe that the first half of classes will be over in a week! November is just around the corner! Since my last update, I’ve been able to explore multiple cities here in the Netherlands and experience Oktoberfest. In between my travels, I’ve been able to explore Maastricht and find the best study spots the city has to offer.

The third weekend of September I participated in the ISN Discover Holland Weekend. On this trip I was able to visit the Dutch cities of Kinderdijk, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Volendam. All of these cities had their own unique characteristics and I’m glad I had the opportunity to see a little of each. My favorites were probably Utrecht and Volendam.

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Kinderdijk

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Delft

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Utrecht

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Volendam

The following weekend I spent Saturday in Amsterdam with some friends. This was my first time in Amsterdam. The canals throughout the city were very beautiful. Every street I ventured down was a perfect postcard back-drop. While in Amsterdam I visited the Rijksmuseum, ate traditional Dutch pancakes and enjoyed drinks along the canal.

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Living in Maastricht has allowed me to experience different ways of life in Europe. Maastricht is a student town that is full of cozy restaurants and cafés that provide the perfect atmosphere for days you want to relax and study. On the other hand, Maastricht is so close to many larger European cities like Amsterdam and Brussels, so if you want to get away for the day the possibilities are endless.

This past weekend I checked Oktoberfest off my bucket list. I’m definitely glad I went, but I don’t think it’s something I would want to do every year. The weekend was fun, but extremely tiring (I’m still catching up on sleep)! I think the experience is what you would expect, lots of beer and people. It felt like a German themed state fair, if you’re from the states, with lots of food and rides, in addition to beer.

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Traveling is fun, but it’s also nice to stay in Maastricht for the weekend. With exams in a week, I spent this weekend studying in Maastricht and I’m staying here next weekend to prepare for exams. During the week I love studying at the Student Service Center (SSC). I like studying at the large table in the entry way near the Coffeelovers. People come and go throughout the day, so it’s usually easy to find a seat. If I want to get off campus, I love Koffie. There are multiple long tables to sit with others and get your work done. And if I want to treat myself after spending the day studying I love Piece of Cake. This isn’t the best place to study, but the coffee and cakes are amazing!

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Student Service Center~Coffeelovers

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Piece of Cake

Hopefully exams go well and my new classes aren’t too hard! I will keep you all updated in my next installment of my time here in Europe!

Until next time,

Natalie

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.

 

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!

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The market 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