“When you're from Hong Kong, studying abroad after high school usually means going to Great Britain. I wanted something different, so I took a gap year at a language school in Germany. There I Googled for European programmes taught in English and I found the bachelor's in European Studies in Maastricht. Europe is a very diverse and an interesting part of the world to study.
Maastricht is quite small, but I like it. I took a few Dutch courses, so I can have short talks in the shop, like: ‘Heeft u een tasje erbij?’ But it’s not really necessary, since people are very friendly and willing to speak English.
After my bachelor’s I decided to stay in Maastricht for the master’s programme Globalisation and Development Studies. I know this place and maybe I was a bit lazy: didn’t want to change my surroundings again. The master’s offers a broader scope to what's happening outside the EU as well. It’s a lot of work, so I really learned how to handle stress.
In the future, the most logical thing for me would be to work for the United Nations or another major international organisation, for example as a policy writer. But those environments are really competitive and I'm not quite sure I want that. I’m an outdoor person. I would love to carry out a project somewhere in the world, with my feet in the mud, really helping people.
Because I have a student visa, I'm not allowed to work here. My parents are my scholarship. But since I like to work and get my mind off my study, I volunteered for the promo team of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. It’s interesting to see how involved the parents of Dutch prospective students are. They ask things like, ‘How is the university going to take care of my child?’. My answer is: ‘Your child is an adult now, he or she will manage.’
I've managed well, I think. I’ve made a lot of good friends, made short trips to Poland, London and Geneva, thanks to low-cost airlines. And I've enjoyed the countryside of Maastricht, discovered the local ‘zuurvlees’ and Dutch ‘maatjes’ and got addicted to ‘poffertjes’. I can eat a lot of those.”
“The ‘feel good’ component of the master’s programme is what drew me most.”