Anne Lina Tholen (22, Germany), double degree master European Economics
Every week I participate in an outdoor running meet-up by UM SPORT. It’s a nice way to see something new of the city

“I never went to an Open Day or Experience Day before I started my bachelor in Economics in Maastricht. Therefore, I wasn’t even really aware of how many Germans study here, but it also never bothered me. Now, in the master’s programme the group is much more diverse. We’re only two Germans in a group of about 25 students.

After finishing my bachelor I took a year off for internships. Economics is such a broad theme, so theoretical. I was 21 years old and didn’t know which direction I should take and felt young enough to take a year off. The first internship was in the research department of a bank in Frankfurt. After that, I worked for a member of the European Parliament in Brussels and subsequently I went to Luxemburg and worked at the European Stability Mechanism.

During these internships I realized that I would like to work in a field where economics is applied to the real world and not only theoretical. I also really liked the atmosphere in Brussels: a lot of young, idealistic people. That was an eye-opener to me, showing me that I want to work in an interesting job, but that the atmosphere and the team is important to me as well.

These internships made me aware that I would like to have a career in politics, but I didn’t want to change completely to a political science programme. If I start something I want to finish it properly and I really like the analytical depth of economics. This double degree fits my interests well, because during the second year at the university of Louvain-la-Neuve I can choose courses that lead me towards the EU and the Brussels-sphere. After a year in Maastricht I’m moving there for the second year of the master. There are two organisers at SBE who are amazing: they help with the communication between the universities, which courses we have to do, and they arrange that we only have to apply once, not register twice. The only thing we basically have to arrange ourselves is getting there, living there and going to university.

A friend of mine who is already in the second year there tells me that you have to get used to some administrative chaos in Louvain-la-Neuve, but content-wise it’s supposed to be great. It’s the French- speaking part of Belgium, so outside university I hope to improve my French at the same time.

I love the city of Maastricht. One of my best friends from the bachelor also took a year off and over the year that we left we realized that there were a lot of things we never actually did in Maastricht. I had never been to the roof top terrace of T-zone for example, so we went there in the first week we started our master’s programmes. The cave tour at the Sint Pieter’s Mountain is also on our list. There is still a lot that we want to explore during this year.”