Sophie Quesnel, BA European Studies

I graduated with a bachelor in European Studies in 2010. During the last semester, I also took Arts and Culture classes (it was then called a "free Bachelor"). I wanted to explore European integration from a cultural point of view.

My time in Maastricht was an amazing and very unique time that definitely shaped my personality and my professional career. I built lifelong friendships, experienced a 3-years rollercoaster of intense studying and socializing (and partying, I must admit), met very interesting people from all over the world and acquired decisive skills through Problem-based Learning (PBL). It was challenging and it definitely gave me a strong basis on which to build my adult life.

My student life was a mix of cycling, friends, studying, home-made dinners, house parties, Albert Heijn and PBL. I have the feeling that half of my days were spent in the library or at the university, and the other half was spent meeting up with people in caf├ęs, parcs, for day trips or at home. It was a very protected and cozy environment, with everything within reach and many opportunities to explore, things to discover.

I met some of my closest friends through the Alumni circle in Paris. The fact that we studied in the same, very unique environment certainly contributed to the fact that we bonded very quickly. We already shared memories, interests... It also really brought a new dimension to my Parisian life (I grew up in this city) and connected it to my experience in Maastricht. 

We started the activities of the alumni circle with having drinks and we contributed to the organisation of two UM Star Lectures. It was a very good experience. We also wanted to organise cultural visits, wine-tastings but Covid came along the way. We hope to do more in 2022. Our last gathering last Fall was a great success with many new faces and everybody was very eager to keep meeting up. We have to organise something in the coming months.

First of all, an Alumni circle is a very good opportunity to meet new people and to make friends in a big city. It helps getting settled - I really witnessed it with friends. We share similar experiences and memories, and yet we all come from different backgrounds, work in very different areas... It is very interesting and it is also a very good place to extend your network. I finally really believe that it helps us keep in touch with Maastricht and everything that we experienced there. It is very important because it all goes away so fast and yet it brought us so much.

So one tip: get in touch with alumni in your city!

Sophie Quesnel
Regional Communication and fundraising officer
Secours Catholique Caritas, Paris, France
Year of graduation: 2010