Sina (Saudi-Arabia), Foundation Programme
The Foundation Programme has given me the freedom to really take my time to adjust to a new life away from home.

My name is Sina, I’m half Saudi Arabian and half German - but I grew up in Saudi Arabia, in a city called Dammam, one of the biggest cities of my country, famous for its economic hub. I went to a British school all my life, so I never really left Damman in terms of education. As I grew older, and university applications started to creep up, I thought it was time to maybe leave my comfort zone and travel across the continent to study what I’ve always dreamed of: international law.

Our justice systems are not the best in the world

Studying law was a decision I made when I was in 8th grade, when I slowly concluded that our justice systems are not the best in the world, and I wanted to help change that. I’m proud that I’m here at the Foundation Programme today because I have continued to work towards that goal. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to take part in an internship programme with an international law firm in Saudi Arabia, which also easily became one of the best experiences of my life and give me deep excitement and assurance that I wanted to continue my future in this field. I read some really interesting case reports and learnt many different strategies of defense.

Credentials were not sufficient

So, obviously, when the time came, I applied to a bachelor’s programme at Maastricht University, but unfortunately, my credentials were not sufficient for me to get accepted into the programme. Fortunately, a friend recommended the foundation programme. I did not know anyone personally who had been enrolled in the FP, let alone study in Maastricht, so I was a little hesitant to start a new journey here. But that’s when I also realised that this was possibly the best experience I could give myself, and I applied for the programme.

I meet a lot of new people

Coming to Maastricht from a big city was unexpected, but really nice to say the least. Whenever I walk around, I feel like I meet a lot of new people and constantly bump into people I already know which allows me to connect with them more. I think it’s safe to say that I have already made lifelong friendships in such a short period of time, and it’s hopefully only uphill from here.

I couldn’t cook at all!

I also really like the foundation programme because it has given me the freedom to really take my time to adjust to a new life away from home, because I find having to move around really difficult. As I mentioned before, I come from a very collective culture, where I’m constantly spoon-fed everything – so I found my newly found independence a bit challenging in the beginning. I couldn’t cook at all! But don’t be afraid, if we ever became friends, I will not starve you! I can proudly say I am now an official self-proclaimed student chef.

Dutch culture as part of the programme

I’m also learning a lot about myself as a person, I’m able to do things I like at my own convenience while balancing school work. I’ve always been really sporty, and grew up practicing gymnastics, now I’ve discovered a newly found passion for dance, which I’m about to start at UM sports. The great thing about the FP is also that we are taught the Dutch culture as part of the programme, which helps combating the cultural shock some may get, especially coming from a non-European country. The transition to university life and the freedom that surrounds it is another aspect I really enjoy. In our skills course, we are supposed to write a research paper on a topic of choice, so obviously, I am writing about the reliability of eye witness testimonies in criminal law. It is really interesting to bring past experiences into this entirely new journey.

We’re all sort of a team here

We’re all sort of a team here in the foundation programme. I think what really helps is that we’re a very small group, which also happens to be incredibly diverse and international allowing for great discussions and learning. Right now, I am in a class called critical reading, for which we get literature every week that we have to critically assess and discuss in class. The ideas are always so interesting, and I think they’re great for one’s mental stimulation because you’re constantly thinking from different perspectives that I wouldn’t even have known about before. I think the credit also goes to the Problem-Based Learning system Maastricht University follows, the classes are highly interactive, which makes me automatically retain information rather than having to learn it off of a textbook.

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