Seneca said, “Life is not short as long as you know how to use it.”

In the beginning of May, I went to Keukenhof to see the most beautiful tulips with my high school friend. The park is designed to show flower bulbs with various landscape. AND I finally saw the windmill here in the Netherlands for the first time though I’ve been staying here almost 4 months. I would recommend you to visit the garden a bit earlier to capture the blooming moment of tulpomania. On the way back to Amsterdam, the song “Wonderwall” by Oasis was playing in the radio. The song evoked vivid memories of me staying in one of the local bars in Barcelona in March. I crave the smell of the tulips, the melody of a familiar song, and the memory of heart warming companionship.

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I also went sightseeing in Cologne and Mannheim for the first time! By the way, I never thought “sunny and rainy” would be used together to describe the weather until I saw it. Sunshine chases away the gloomy part of the sky, and suddenly I felt maybe it’s not that bad to have rain.

So I visited Kolner Dom first and had a nice pork knuckle meal with my friend. We walked along the Rhine river and enjoyed the scenic view.

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We spent almost the whole afternoon chatting and talking about our feelings of exchange experiences at one of her favourite coffee places. She is currently doing master exchange in Cologne University. We shared our bittersweet feelings on the first day of arrival in Europe. She said she was devastated to know all shops are closed when she just arrived in Cologne on Sunday. No matter how horrible or fruitful experience we’ve had, both of us knew we would benefit from it for our future. All of the drama, all of the decision making, all of the growing pains taught us how to better be ourselves. Carpe Diem.

The next day, I took carpool to visit my friend in Mannheim. The moment of hugging and chitchat with each other seemed as if it all happened yesterday, as the taste of nostalgia drifts in the air. The baroque style of Mannheim Palace with University of Mannheim looks impressive. As one of Germany’s most varied metropolises, it displayed its cosmopolitan flair.

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Do you remember the picture I posted about marshmallow challenge of my Marketing Innovation class? We discussed the innovation knowledge, incremental and radical innovation, launch of the digital product etc. It’s great that we also get a chance to have a small gathering at Lab after class.


Two weeks ago, another group of mine was working on e-documentary project for two full days! It’s not exaggeration to say we were pushing our limits for this project. Writing scripts, using new animation platform, recording fulfill my weekend. Working with my lovely teammates just made my day.


3 thoughts I’d like to share with you.

1. Discussions/debates on my tutorial classes suit my new way of habitual thinking which is seeing both sides of the problem. Frankly, this approach inhibits me from decision making effectively. My split mind contrasts pros and cons all the time which I hate. I hope I could be more decisive in the future.

2.  “It depends.”

For most of the business cases, there is no best way to organize a corporation as what contingency theory suggested. Instead, the optimal choice is contingent upon the situation. Nevertheless, my split mind has suffered from saying “it depends” 80% of the time. Any suggestions?

3.  Don’t eat too many stroopwafels and croquettes. 🙂

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(Source: Brainpickings 2017)

People always say life is short. This saying has been engraved in my mind till I read Seneca’s book “The shortness of life”. Seneca said, “life is not short as long as you know how to use it. ”

Alas, he is right, isn’t he. I wasn’t saying what we’ve been told and reminded that life is short was wrong, but Seneca’s way of saying gives us a hint about how we shall spend our lives.

Sometimes, we fail to treat time as a valuable resource, rather take it as granted. Jotting down notes on new year resolution year after year is useless. Be self-aware and self-actualized, becoming a young entrepreneur or a leader and keep challenging yourself. I wish I could really find what I truly like, who I want to be as I grow up. “To what goal are you straining?” Seneca said, ” The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” How about getting nominated on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List, deliver a speech at TED talk or just keep your body healthy?

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(Source: Brainpickings 2017)

Last but not least, I agree with what Mark Zuckerberg delivered in Harvard commencement,” Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.” I would happily say good bye to my role as a master student and welcome my next chapter of my life. On my mark, get set, go.


May 28, 2017

Zhenni Cai

Amazing April

Time flies, I’ve been living in Maastricht for 88 days! I was busy in preparing exam, paper and Pecha Kucha in the first week of April. It took me a day to plan and submit my Pecha Kucha, which is a 20×20 simple presentation format where I show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The PPT will play automatically with my narration from the background. I would suggest you to prepare earlier if you have the same assignment style! Though I have tons of reading per course, learning more knowledge related to marketing findings make me fulfilled. (Tip: library was always packed during exam period in the morning. You can easily find a spot at SBE!)



I’ve seen typical gloomy and rainy Dutch weather in Feb and March. The weather in the beginning of April is amazing! I see cherry blossom everywhere in Maastricht, even on my way to take my final exam at Mecc. Studying in such a sunny weather make me feel loved. I always crave for food while I was studying. Guess what, it has been shown that brain needs more glucose since it’s consuming energy. In turn, I go to gym roughly three times a week. (Plus, summer is coming! Whoop Whoop)!


(@Cafe Zondag)

After the exam, I went to Rotterdam for a day. Spontaneous travel makes me feel relaxed and good weather is a BIG plus. I visited cube houses and Erasmus bridge. More interestingly, it was the event day for Marathon Rotterdam #RUN 010 RUN, I can feel the passion and vigour of youth in Rotterdam.


I tried to make best of my vacation, so me and two other girls decide to explore Scandinavian countries – Stockholm and Copenhagen for four days! In Stockholm, you can see trend-setting design, historic museums, and well-connected bridges. The gloomy weather and coldness steal the beauty of the atmosphere. I always join the city tour whenever I travel, it’s an enriching experience to know the story of each place. The guide told us the meaning of IKEA and how prince Daniel and princess Victoria met and fell in love with each other. If you are interested to know the story, feel free to comment or message me. 🙂 Walking along the cobbled lane of the old town, Gamla Stan, you will see Storkyrkan, and the Swedish parliament building. We also went to Drottningholms Slottsteater (look at my featured image!) and The Royal Palace. Another fun fact is that fake marble paint has been used for saving money in both the palace and the theatre in 17th century.


Finally, on the last day of Stockholm, we got sunshine! Thus, we took tons of pictures and explored the subway metro art thoroughly. Did I mention it was snowing the day before?IMG_6726.JPG.jpeg

The bus departed from Stockholm to Copenhagen via Oresund Bridge. The Øresund bridge connected the Danish capital of Copenhagen to the Swedish of Malmo. When I woke up in the morning and felt the sunshine on my face, I saw the stunning view through the glass. An array of windmills was surrounded by the deeper blue glistening sea.

After 7 hours of overnight bus, we reached Denmark’s capital – Copenhagen! It has long been famous for its design, fashion and innovation. Besides Copenhagen’s Nyhavn and Langelinje Pier, I like the star-shaped fortress – Kastellet. The little mermaid sculpture  is inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fairytale can also be spotted at the pier. It’s such unforgettable journey to visit the fortress. It make me feel like a princess who grew up from this fairy-tale scene.




(@Kastellet Fortress)

I took Marketing Innovation Management and Managers@Work for the upcoming period. We played marshmellow challenge at the beginning of the tutorial as the picture shown. Don’t forget to check out the TED talk by Tom Wujec who used marshmellow challenge to show the finding of creativity and teamwork.


(Marsh mellow challenge)

Reunion on KINGSDAY!!! 

This is the most exciting moment that I was looking  for the past few months! It’s so nice to see MIBers in person in Amsterdam. I miss my friends from Queens so much. We hug, talk, laugh and just reminds me of those days in Kingston. We were in Oranje and embraced the Dutch culture. 🍺🍺Hope to see them again in Canada!





After staying in Maastricht for 57 days…


I have been staying in Maastricht for 57 days. It’s been rainy heavily during carnival break, but I was surprised that people were going wild day and night with their drinks. You have to check it out their costumes if this is your first time being here.


During the break, I visited Barcelona and Madrid in Spain. I love tapas, sunny weather, and people there! Barcelona is known for the magnificnet Sagrada Familia church, Casa Batllo and Park Guell and other landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudi. I am intrigued about the history and humanistic culture of this city.


I’m an Atletico Madrid fan. I was so excited to visit Vicente Calderon Stadium and watched the game! I feel part of this city when the whole crowd was singing for “Atleti”. At 9th minute, the fans all start singing for Fernando Torres to welcome him. I finally feel the unconditioned love to El Nino. Torres also came to support his teammates despite he just suffered from traumatic brain injury from the last match. After all, the boys have played an amazing game! 3-0!!! My dream has finally come to be true!




Maastricht University puts lots of effort in developing study atmosphere. I usually study at SBE during the day and Inner City Library after class. One of the most facilities I like is the smartphone charge station. Locking up your phone is the smartest decisions when you want to focus on your study.  Moreover, I’m getting used to PBL sessions already. Reading literature, learning from peers and preparing for facilitations have become my routine. I have taken Cognitive thinking and Customer Analysis in Period 5. Exploring human behaviour from a cognitive perspective and apply it in marketing aspect is the key.

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It’s also convenient to print at SBE or library here. Tapping my UM card rather than type my account name to print really saves lots of time.

If you are interesting in cognitive thinking or intrigued by human behaviour, I would like to recommend two books for you.

Charles Duhigg – Smaller, faster, better 

Dan Ariely – Predictably Irrational


Besides studying and travelling, I also try to attend ambassador lecturer series events in SBE. Jay Shetty: Build a Life, Not a Resume is one of them. I like how Jay started his speech in a humours way. It’s difficult to catch everyone’s attention at 7pm honestly.




I have also been to TEFAF Maastricht which is widely regarded as the world’s premier fair for art, antiques and design.



“It’s not possible”

I’ve been to China, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, US. When I have a request to their customer services,  they always say “sorry” or “unfortunately” first and try to find alternative ways of solving it. However, I feel uncomfortable when people here just tell me “It’s not possible to do that”. I’m not sure if it’s the culture or language barrier that conveys the message inappropriately. What do you think?


Overall, I like my program and its academic atmosphere. And thank god the weather has been quite nice these days. Looking forward to meeting new friends and learning more from Period 5! Last but not least, miss my friends lots and lots…..

Follow me @zanecai16 on Instagram!


New journey begins @Maastricht


New journey begins @Maastricht

A Marvellous Journey

I’m an international student from China, but I’ve been studying and living in Canada for more than 6 years. I guess it’s a smart decision to escape Canada from the snowy season in Feb (I still love Canada!).  I’m in Master of International Business at Queen’s Smith Business School, and currently doing my master exchange at Maastricht University.

After celebrating Spring Festival with my parents in Jan, I was busy in packing and preparing for my Euro Trip. It took me more than 30 hours to fly from Da Lian, China to Amsterdam, Netherlands (long story). Then I took train to Maastricht right after my flight for 2.5 hrs. (Tip: I would recommend you in asking the staff to print out your schedule, thus you know when to transfer.) I cannot imagine me with two 23kg luggages would survive without the pick-up service from ISN. (Thanks Sebastian from ISN!).

Introduction Day



I received my student card & admission letter in the morning. All exchange students receive warm welcome from Dean of SBE, Dr. W.H. Gijselaers, and last but not least politie. (Tip: You may also ask for the letter which is one of the documents you would need from Student Services Centre in order to open a Dutch bank account.) In the afternoon, everyone was assigned to a group of people for taking a city tour. It’s a cozy city which has decent number of supermarkets, shopping stores and restaurants. I enjoyed it though my feet disagree with it.

Welcome drinks * 8


I signed up the Pub Crawl event hosted by ISN on Feb 2nd. More than 400 people show up in the Markt at 8:30pm and waiting to be surprised by checking out 6 clubs till midnight. It’s an amazing experience since you could meet groups of people from all around the world, you name it, and yes we got lots of shots. I’m also glad that most of people I’ve met speak English here. On the other day, we had PBL simulation and learned how tutors would facilitate the session. And 2 more welcome drinks awaits!

What’s more? 

On a sunny day, a lady came to me and ask if she could take a picture of me. Guess what, I got featured by Humans of Maastricht!



(Photo Credit to V @Humans of Maastricht)

So did I have any difficulties along the way?

Of course. It’s challenging to study and live abroad, though this is my second time. But I believe that as long as I have an open and optimistic mind, I will be fine. I would like show my gratitude to the nicest driver – Nacho, lovely Buddy – Caroline, omniscient knowledgeable friend – Eric, new friend – Guo Ai, and sweet MIB classmates from Queens. Thank you for helping me to figure out where I can buy travel adapter, the most convenient way to purchase a train ticket, and where I could have delicious Asian food….Dankuwel! Looking forward to my exchange journey!

Stay tuned.

Feb 10th, 2017

Jane Cai