James Cook University, Cairns, Australia, year 2005/2006
I’ve been in Maastricht for several months now and basically I don’t want to leave! Everything here has been exciting, fascinating and full of surprises! There is no experience that can match immersing oneself in a foreign place: learning your way around a new city, meeting new people both locals and other exchange students from all corners of the globe and creating a life here that is special and more unique than anything ‘back home’. Firstly the Faculty: WOW! Coming from a small university in regional Australia I was overwhelmed and impressed by the facilities and scale of things here at Maastricht University (then I found out that this is one of the smaller universities in the Netherlands!). I’ve now followed a few courses and I must say, PBL was something that initially seemed daunting, but I’ve come to appreciate the depth of knowledge that can be gained through such an integration of group work and self study; not to mention the fascinating topics and international perspective of psychology encountered during discussion groups!
Maastricht and all the people I have met here are going to be with me for the rest of my life! This city is a living breathing picture-postcard! The beautiful old-city centre; every cobblestone and brick here is steeped in history and it’s such a contrast to my home city in Australia! The cultural heritage of Australia is vastly different from Maastricht: in terms of European settlement Australia is as a child, while the aboriginal culture is written into the very landscape: climate, wildlife, and terrain. Compared to Maastricht and all of Europe, where history is written in bold by monuments and architecture which is still in daily use. To top it off, Maastricht is so forward thinking and filled with modern initiatives and advancements, many of them come from Maastricht University!
The wonderfully friendly local students and student organisations, such as Luna-tik and ESN, have been so welcoming and made available some wicked experiences: the Dutch know how to party, almost as good as the Aussies! Maastricht is also the prime location for train-hopping between countries! It’s great that in just a few hours, or minutes in the case of Belgium, you are in another city or even country vibrant with a completely different culture. New experiences and lasting memories are so easy to come across. Also, the Guesthouse is a great place to stay, as it’s like a little international community in the middle of Maastricht. Just opening your door leads to meeting and getting to know people from all over. My room has really become my home away from home.
The friends I have met here have really made this experience as great as it is. I feel like I have made some life-long friends as well as some brief but unforgettable acquaintances. It’s the people that really define a place! And Maastricht is made of fun-loving, enthusiastic, vivacious people whose culture and way of life is intoxicating, both figuratively and literally. I still have more time here and I’m sure it is going to be even greater than it has been so far… in fact I’m trying to extend my stay here! Exchange in Maastricht is a wonderfully rich experience that will stay with me throughout my life!