Paulina Raniecka (Poland), Alumna, University College Maastricht
Joining UCM felt like joining a big family – I have never felt alone or bored.

Outside of UCM
In my early teens I also developed a love for football which led me to play as a defender for our local football club. After some years I gave up on soccer to focus on drama and art history. All these interests remained with me after moving to Maastricht. I played for the UCM girls football team during the UCSRN tournaments and joined theater committee in my first year. Recently I have expanded my interests even further, joining the Pluralism in Economics committee and taking up events organization for them, such as the annual economics conference.

First Impressions
Arriving at UCM, I immediately felt at home. I remember being amazed by how easy I felt after I first entered the building. The community is incredible, making everyone feel welcomed. UCM is an open space where both students and professors can share conversations. My first tutorials gave me a similar impression, as we all engaged in discussions despite being from different years. I felt that UCM surpasses the boarders that are so often present at universities, resulting in the creation of a diverse environment which challenges and encourages you. I remember thinking that I am simply in ‘the right place’.

Study Abroad Experience
I completed my semester abroad last year. I decided to study at the University of Granada in southern Spain. My choice was guided mainly by the desire to practice my Spanish. Hence, I only applied for Spanish-speaking courses. This was a big challenge, particularly in the first month. Having not only to socialize, but also to attend lectures in a foreign language proved to be more difficult than I had expected. However, I got a hang of it after a few weeks, resulting in a significant improvement of my Spanish. Living in a different country was an amazing experience, which taught me a lot, not only about the other culture, but also about myself. I learned to embraced sides of myself that I left previously untapped. Adjusting to a different academic system helped me expand my abilities and become more flexible with my academic methods. Granada is a beautiful and diverse city, with amazing history, art, nature, and culture to offer. I am extremely happy I got to experience that.

Finding Housing
Finding housing in Maastricht is quite a challenge. I remember coming over with my mom in June, signing up for numerous viewings through local housing agencies and constantly sending messages on Facebook housing groups. With such a high demand for student housing, finding a room in a reasonable price was really hard. However, in the end I was extremely lucky. Realizing that I am unsure about the rooms, the agency employee showing us different places in Maastricht put me in contact with his friend who was moving out at that moment. His friend’s room by Emmaplein ended up being my home for my first year in Maastricht. Moving houses in the years that followed was much easier, as in both cases it happened through friends made at UCM.

Other testimonials

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    Liza Diane Gordin (Belgium), Alumna, University College Maastricht
    The most valuable thing I’ve learned during UCM is that 'it isn’t always that deep'. Sometimes you need to let go of your extreme concernedness about certain things...
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    Becca Bowers (USA), Alumna, University College Maastricht
    Because of the smaller groups, tutors can actively contribute to our growth, I feel like they want to see us succeed.
  • Joost Wijffels
    Joost Wijffels (The Netherlands), University College Maastricht
    I love the international environment that allows me to acquaint myself with different cultures, and I think the program is very strong.
  • Selma Yacoubi
    Selma Yacoubi (Morocco), Alumna, University College Maastricht
    What struck me most when first started here was the lack of negative energy, peer pressure and competition, which is very refreshing for an honours programme.
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    Julia König (Germany), Alumna, University College Maastricht
    It's for people who want to do more than one thing and want to be able to combine courses however they want
  • Marie-Louise Beekmans
    Marie-Louise Beekmans (the Netherlands), University College Maastricht
    I have been more confident than ever to speak out for my opinion, but also to approach others to ask for help.
  • Ambre Derumier
    Ambre Derumier (France), University College Maastricht
    My first semester at UCM confirmed that I made the right choice.