Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Groetjes from Maastricht

Maastricht is a pleasant little town like Namur, full of streets with no car and a pretty small university. Four months is definitely a too short period of time to discover every nook and cranny of a town, but not too short to have happy memories of it and here are some of them…

Everyday I had to cross the St Servaas Bridge with my bike to join the centre of the town. On my way back, I used to stop at the ‘Plein 1992 to buy some food. This was my favourite place, near the water and the park. One day, I was going to the library when I saw a herd of sheep coming from nowhere crossing the High Bridge with a shepherd and a dog. That morning I really thought I was dreaming but I made some pictures.

While on the subject of library, I must say I really enjoyed studying at this place. The University of Maastricht is based on ‘leading in learning’, therefore the library has its ‘tutorial rooms’ where groups can meet to speak at ease without disturbing the others who are wishing to work in quiet. 
The best faculty was that of ‘Arts and Social Sciences’, where I studied. There, I fell in love with the new café. It reminds me great time with my tutorial group of the course ‘Globalization and Inequality’ because we were all fond of coffee and sometimes we really needed some to finish our weekly paper assignments on Sunday evenings. This group was formed by Judith, the German; Thomas, the French; Laura, another Belgian and Omar, the Egyptian who studies in the states and who is by the way the most intelligent boy I ever met. The one who also made a big impression on me is Judith or the Germans in general because they were always so concentrated on their work and they were all working like robots until late in the evening in the library. In the end we were all very closed in the group, we had a really good time together. But all good things come to an end: after the first exam in the end of October I had to meet my new group for the second course, this time with Netherlanders (and two Flemish). Honestly, I didn’t win true friends the last two months. In a way, I found the international students a lot nicer than local ones.

Apart from my first course, I had the greatest time at Heugemerweg, Simon’s place. His roommates came from Canada, Poland, Sweden and Ireland. They all were really interesting, funny and kind. To me, the best memory there was the Christmas Party in December. We all had to bring a particular dish and that evening I tried Peter’s ‘egg nog’, a beverage made with milk, eggs, rum and other strange things. No comment, each to his own I would say… I also went to the first party in Maastricht with the Heugermerweg’s team, it was called the ‘cantus’. We could call it a Germans’ party, not only because of the real majority of German students there but also because of the cliché of Germans drinking draught beers and singing (shouting). At the end we could see half-naked people jumping on tables. CRAZY is the perfect word to describe what was going on that night.

At my place, it was a lot less funny. Nevertheless, I had one very nice roommate there called Shugi, a Dutch girl who studies medicine. She prepared really strange dishes like pastas with mango and menthol.
During the free-time between courses and homework (many hours I have to say), I used to go to  the sport centre. I tried sport like hockey and basketball. Finally I played most often badminton, with Simon and two other boys. When I went there alone I used to do ‘circuit-training’, it consists in running and doing some body exercises with very lively music. The way to the centre is really safe and it seems to me that students in general are more motivated than in Namur to do sport seriously. I miss this place very much.

To sum, this experience may scare a little at first because of the many steps we have to make, like choosing a favourite destination, meeting the professors, filling in the papers, finding an accommodation, again choosing courses, before it becomes real. Yes, I had some reasons to freak out but wasn’t it worth it: I had a great time with wonderful people and discovered many new places which are now full of good memories. So yes, it was definitely worth it!!!


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