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Entries for December 2009

Status PhD candidates remains uncertain

Employees or students? And if the latter, what kind of students? The Executive Board has written a memo about the position of PhD candidates. Provum, the candidates' 'union' at the UM, finds the proposals “unacceptable”.

The Ultimate Dancehall Reggae X-mas Party

For a sunny feeling on these cold December days, you could go to the Reggae X-mas Party in the Muziekgieterij, where three upcoming Dutch reggae artists will give a swinging show. To get you in the mood, the Reggae Vibes Crew will play some dancehall tunes before and after the performances. First up on stage will be Benaïssa, a rap singer/songwrite...

A novella as a musical

It’s just the right size to fit in your pocket, so you can take it anywhere. You can reread certain phrases while waiting for the bus. And having it on you will help you remember the beauty of the language. I’m talking about the novella Silk (original title Seta) by Alessandro Baricco. A bestselling Italian writer whose work has been translated int...

The liberty to go wherever you want to

The liberty to go wherever you want to

The thirty human rights, translated to thirty pieces of art. This is the exhibition Thirty Somethings, in which Belgian artists’ collective Article 27 asked thirty artists to cooperate. Mark Swysen is one of them. His sculpture was inspired by the 13th article: the right to migration. “In the AINSI is a ‘dead’ staircase; it goes towards the ceiling...

"I study at weekends"

"I study at weekends"

Woon je in Maastricht? “Ja, near the market”, answers Alex Eichner, a little surprised. He is a third-year student of International Business and a member of the Faculty Council. “Is this interview in Dutch or in English?” He smiles: “Oh, English. I’m living with an older guy; he’s about fifty. I met him a few years ago in the Botelboot. He was pla...

Almost 15,000 UM students

On 12 December 2009, Maastricht University's enrolment counter stood at 14,931. This represents of 13 per cent increase compared to the last count in 2008. The number is not final, as it may still rise or even fall.

Saurus chairwoman quits

German student Eva Romswinkel has resigned from her position of chairwoman of student rowing association Saurus after having been in office for three months. “Expectations within the board did not run parallel,” says Romswinkel. Nick van Boven, student of Health Sciences, was chosen as her successor in a general meeting last Monday.

“Freezing air is coming in all the time”

Ministers are butting heads in Copenhagen, but isn’t it time the university made a bigger effort in saving the planet? The heating in UM’s buildings is fixed at 21 degrees Celsius. Just one degree less would make a huge difference.

Learning Dutch

Rector Gerard Mols considers closing the language center of our university for economic reasons. His argumentation appears to be that (1) learning Dutch is unnecessary for integration and (2) students and employees can learn Dutch or any other language elsewhere. Hereby I express my deep concerns about this view. I urge Gerard Mols, representative ...

Learning Dutch (2)

In line with the student representatives of the University Council we consider it highly desirable that students integrate into their Dutch environment. In contrast to Gerard Mols, we conceive of language as an essential tool in achieving this. Recognising the fact that this discourse was initiated in an article using the Dutch language, we feel c...

No favourite pub in Maastricht

No favourite pub in Maastricht

The distance between his free parking space and the faculty at Tongersestraat 53 is growing every couple of months. In his first year he had to walk maybe five minutes; nowadays Marc Topp (21, a second-year student of International Business) needs a ten-to-fifteen minute walk to reach his classes. He can’t afford to park close by. “I have to be in ...

“Learning Dutch is a matter of good manners”

Knowledge of the Dutch language is not necessary for integration in Maastricht. This statement was made by rector Gerard Mols in the latest meeting of the University Council. So is he right?

De Aapmens van Dubois, exhibition

What has a Limburger called Eugène Dubois got to do with world-famous scientist Charles Darwin? Everything, so it has emerged from the exhibition De Aapmens van Dubois (The Ape Man of Dubois). Dubois, an anatomist, provided the evidence for Darwin’s theory that humans and apes have the same ancestor. In the late 19th century he claimed that fossils...

Accept that everything is possible

It sounds like the beginning of a normal mystery thriller: England, 1985. A woman called Thursday Next, a 36-year-old war veteran turned detective, is called in to investigate the puzzling theft of the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit. She identifies the thief, an infamous criminal named Acheron Hades, and manages to track...

“Maastricht is the only Dutch city where a Belgian feels truly at home”

They are the contact people for international students and promote the university at fairs in their home countries: the student assistants of the country teams. Three of them talk here about the joys and sorrows of studying in Maastricht.

Academic advisors trial project

There is room for improvement when it comes to student advice at the Faculties of Law and Arts and Social Sciences. A good reason for setting up a trial project for 'academic advising', says Pieternel Fleskens, junior researcher at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “For the majority of students who do well, there is really nobody, although t...

It's German, German, German

It's German, German, German

Spreek je Nederlands? “Een klein beetje. I speak ‘supermarket Dutch’. If I were surrounded by Dutch people I would learn it quickly.” Esther Vollmer, a second-year bachelor’s student of International Business, is laughing: “In Maastricht you don’t get a chance to learn it: either people like my best friend laugh at me when I try to say some words...

German cars are targeted by vandalism

German cars are targeted by vandalism

Smashed windows, punctured tyres, scratched car doors. Ask any German student of economics whether they know of anyone who has had their car vandalised and the answer is "yes". In addition to theft, a common motive is hostility towards Germans. A researcher at medicine, who discovered a shattered windscreen for the second time two weeks ago, has ha...

Covering 27 wars, coups and revolutions

“The most difficult thing to do while living in a palace is to imagine a different life – for instance, your own life, but outside and minus the palace.” In 1982, the last Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pavli, had already fallen. But falling had taken him a long time, and his lack of imagination – or his incapacity to imagine a life outside and minus ...

Better service for international staff

Maastricht University employees are quite satisfied with a large number of university services, such as the University Library, UM Sport, the Language Centre and the Office of Student Affairs. This is the conclusion of the annual staff satisfaction survey, carried out by Flycatcher Internet Research in June each year. This year almost 400 employees...

Thirty Somethings exhibition

“Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community”, according to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Belgian artists’ collective Article 27 works in the spirit of this article to promote arts and culture, and make them available for everyone. For their travelling exhibition called Thirty So...

Non-alcoholic party

You do not need beer to have a good party, say a group of Turkish and Arabic UM students. That is why they are having a non-alcoholic party at the Manjefiek Malberg community centre in Maastricht on Friday, 4 December. “We are Muslim and we are often asked how we can have a party without alcoholic drinks. This is what we want to show,” says co-orga...