At the close of my first week of classes at Maastricht University, I’m sure of a few things;
Workload, classes and PBL
The learning system in The Netherlands (called Problem Based Learning or PBL) is very different to traditional university teaching for undergraduates, but as a Masters student, I find it very similar to postgraduate study. You need to be a lot more self directed in your learning, and it’s really on your shoulders as to how well you do in class.
I am studying in the School of Business and Economics, which is located in an old monastery, next to a beautiful park & bubbling creek, where you will often find students and locals alike lying in the grass soaking up the last of the sun, before the cold weather hits. What makes this even more idyllic is that the school is right next to the conservatory of music, so it’s not uncommon to be serenaded by an opera singer or orchestra on the way to class.
Just some of the sights along the way to the School of Business and Economics
Where to lay your head at night
The housing market in Maastricht seems to be a form of Darwinism, only the strongest survive and find somewhere to live in the city itself! There is a general air of panic in the weeks before classes start, but people all seem to find a place to lay their head eventually. For undergraduate students, I would definitely recommend staying at the University Student Guesthouse, located in old hospital buildings, there are heaps of students around & a packed calendar of social activities. As a Masters student, having done the student housing thing when I was younger, I opted to stay somewhere off campus in private housing, this is definitely harder to do, but you have to pick what’s right for you.
The river cuts right through the centre of Maastricht & is an amazing place to sit, during the long evening sunshine & have a local beer.
They call Maastricht the ‘city of the European citizen’, wedged between Brussels and Germany, and only a few hours away from France and the United Kingdom, it’s definitely a melting pot of cultures here. It’s also so close to everywhere in the Netherlands, less than 2 hours to get anywhere you want to explore. Everyone here speaks impeccable English – the standard, and spread of fluency is so impressive. The locals definitely appreciate you trying to learn some dutch words, but be prepared to struggle getting some sounds right. Maastricht itself is pronounced more like ‘Mash-tree’ch’t’.
Master of Science
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