#TravelAsMuchAsYouCan

HELLO AGAIN!!!

Today’s post is about traveling!!

Even though I’m from Europe I have never had the opportunity to travel within my own continent, not even to the famous interRail. This happens because the flights from Lisbon are quite expensive. However, this excuse is over if you come to study in Maastricht.

This small and cosy town is near (2h30 by train) Brussels & Amsterdam, 2 huge cities where low cost airlines operate a lot. In addition, you also have the Eindhoven airport even closer and if you prefer to travel by bus, I recommend you to use Flixbus.

Tip1: the best website to search and combine all options to travel within Europe is goeuro.com. It combines plan, bus, train and even bla bla car.

I’ve been to a lot of places since I’m here but I truly recommend you to explore The Netherlands first (specially if you come in a sunny time). You have to explore Maastricht, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delft, Giethoorn…! Use your free weekends or maybe a free day!

Tip2: you can travel around The Netherlands for 7€ a day (including return). How!? Simple. There are a few groups on facebook like “NS GROUP AMSTERDAM”. If you have further questions about this, comment below and I’ll help you.

After exploring your second home country, Europe is yours. You name it. There are so many flights with affordable prices that is ridiculous. I’ve been to France, Switzerland, Monaco, Belgium, Germany, Prague…!

Tip3: There are some people who love to plan their own trips and do their own things. However, if you are not of these kind of people don’t worry. There are student agencies that care of everything for you. ISN/ESN, Wanderlust or even pm2am – Student Trips are some examples!

Hope I helped you with some useful information.

See you soon,

Patrícia

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#StudyHardPartyHarder

Olá a todos de novo!! (Hello everyone, again!!)

We are in the middle of my experience. 2 months have passed and still 2 months to go.

This month I’m going to talk about the university PBL system and my courses.

The Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem. Students learn both thinking strategies and domain knowledge. It is like a debate where everyone needs to give their unique input on the subject. It is important to highlight the three roles that a student can have. The first one is the secretary, where the individual needs to write down the main ideas/topics that were discussed during the whole class so that later he/she can upload into the “discussion board” with the rest of the class (from my experience I never did nor saw this role in classes). The second role, discussion leader, a really important task, where the student needs to lead the class for the entire tutorial, he needs to pay attention to who is speaking and who is not, ask relevant and pertinent questions about the subject in study. Finally, the third and last role is called facilitation – can be individual or in groups – that basically means that you need to present the topic with a powerpoint/prezi to support your ideas and do interactive activities with your group.

As I said before, I’m taking Strategic Marketing and Supporting Professional Development & Human Performance and luckily I had such a different experience with this two courses that I can tell you about.

tip1: Before choosing your courses make sure that you read very carefully the course manual and the tools for evaluation. It is really clear and with that you can be aware of how much work and effort you need to put into the course.

On one hand, in my strategic marketing course I had to facilitate and and simultaneously, perform the role of discussion leader. Period 1 has approximately 12 weeks and during the first two weeks, and the final week, there was a discussion leader who provided an agenda for the tutorial and led it the whole time. I had to facilitate twice, it was quite a challenge since I had a big group (4 people) which I have never spoken to before. In this specific course, there is always a chapter, an article and a case in the book, so in the facilitation we had to incorporate and articulate all these 3 together in a fluent and useful presentation.

On the other hand, in the SPD&HP course I only had to facilitate once. There was no discussion leaders nor secretaries. This was my favorite course since it had two different parts. The first one was PBL system and the second was Project Stage. The PBL system lasted 4 weeks and in these 4 weeks I had to facilitate once and to deliver a single page assignment every week. Whereas, in the second part I got the opportunity to go to a real HR company within The Netherlands and see in real life situations what I learnt in the tutorials. In the end I had to deliver a final report as my exam. It was really really interesting!!

I think I covered the main aspects of PBL and my courses. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask 😉

Ps: After studying this hard, parties and trips will feel even better!!

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#ItsReal

img_7576Olá a todos (hello everyone!) 
I’m Patrícia, a 20 year old business student from Lisbon, Portugal! I study in Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics and I’m here im Maastricht doing my first exchange experience. The first question that might pop up is: why Maastricht? The answer is so easy for me. I had more than 50 universities I could choose from but I opted to stay in Europe, Maastricht to be more concrete as it was a well ranked university according to FT and mainly because it is known to be of the most international universities in Europe. (And of course due to the university location that allows you to travel a lot!) 😉
 
My experience started as soon as I knew I was accepted. In a matter of days, I received a welcoming email from Maastricht University which also had information about the next steps (university bureaucracy…) and with some useful tips (regarding accommodation, for instance).
 
My first step was to choose the courses. I’m taking Strategic Marketing, Supporting Professional Development & Human Performance, Brand Management and Job Performance & Employment Relationship. I chose these ones as they belong to my favorite fields in business: Marketing & Human Resources. Within a few months I will tell you more details about this subject.
 
Second step: get a room. The university has a residence that has 3 distinctive buildings: M, P and C. I was told to get accommodation at the M building since it was renewed 2 years ago, the value for money was the best and it has the best equipment in the kitchens and room itself. I booked the room with 4 months advance and there only a few left. I opt to share a room with a friend of mine, Diogo. The main differences between the buildings is that in P building you don’t have common spaces, since you have a mini kitchen inside your room; in the M you share the kitchen and a living room and some of the rooms have a toilet inside; and in C building you share everything. 
 
Third step: book the flight! You have 2 options: either travel to Amsterdam or Brussels. The only difference is that if you catch the train from Brussels (around 18,5€) you need to change trains in Liege, however if you catch the train from Amsterdam (around 25€) is direct. (I will give some useful tips on the next post for cheap tickets within and around the Netherlands!!!)
 
TIP1: the ISN Maastricht has a pick up service in Maastricht central station, so make sure that before you came you see the dates an ask for this free service 😉 
 
#It’sReal
 

My real experience started on the 19th of August. Fortunately, I have a dutch friend, Mascha,  who picked me up in Brussels and drove us for the rest of the day to Antwerp (luckily there was a beer festival in town). I was one the first students to arrive at Maastricht thus everything was empty like the hallways or reception. Finally, I met Lilian, the housing officer manager for the M building, as she gave me all the important information about the buildings and gave me a welcome package (with some REALLY useful stuff, but I’m not saying it all so that it’s still a surprise)!

 

TIP2: If you are one of the first students to arrive it might be interesting to put a paper on the fridge door where you write down your room number and name, so that people can reach you 😉

 

I got the opportunity to participate in the INKOM week where I got to meet tons of new people. However, with this experience I felt like the INKOM week is more for full time students rather than exchange students. In a way that they kinda want to make friends “for life” and as you are an exchange student you are here for a short period. The good news? For international students we have the ARRIVAL week, sponsored by ISN Maastricht. A week full of interesting activities where you can easily engage with everyone from all over the world. 
My classes started on the first of September with the introductory days at the SBE. We had useful introductory lectures on the first day and on the second we had a tutorial on how to use and learn with the PBL system followed by a welcome drink. (I will let you know more about the PBL system on the next post!!!) 
 
 
 
See you soon,
 
Patrícia 
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