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"I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester"

"I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester"

Photographer:Fotograaf: Stella Theocharidou

Home Sweet Home

Emily Burger (21, South African), second-year Arts and Culture

Rent/m2: 465 euro, around 18 m2

General Area: Close to FaSoS, central

In between lectures and tutorials Emily Burger, an Arts and Culture student from South Africa, finds some time to show her room and chat about her hometown, Maastricht and photographs. Her colorful room matches her hype and lively personality, and I can’t wait to ask her about all the pictures of friends and family in it.

“I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester.” Still, there are always bits and pieces that remind her of home, and that’s when she gets homesick, specifically “today’s lecture kind of made me homesick but other than that I don’t think about it that much”. As she explains later, the lecture was on modern technologies in Africa.

“The thing I miss the most is the culture between people, the way that people interact and greet each other is very different from here. For example, when I go to someone’s house for the first time I don’t know whether to bring something or not”.

About Maastricht, she points out that she loves how international it is and most importantly the independence that she has here, “here I have my own routine, my own lifestyle that I can follow and I don’t have to abide to the timetable that my family has”.

This doesn’t mean that her family is not there with her, as there are pictures from family travels, and trip mementos all around the room. A Russian doll, various decorations from the Philippines, and vibrant African sheets show a deep connection to her family and their time spent together. “I really feel like I’ve made awesome friends in Maastricht, that it’s almost like I don’t need pictures of them up because they’re with me”. She feels that having pictures of people who are not with her is somehow more significant, and in between laughing she tells me she is sure the moment she leaves Maastricht she will have pictures of everyone from here as well.

Seeing her Bible next to her bed and a couple of quotes from it, I ask her which one is her favorite and she replies with “honestly there are just so many, it’s a different one every day”. Emily’s ritual every day is that she picks out a quote that helps her with coping with things like homesickness, a lot of schoolwork, stress and everything in between.

“God made me to be a strong human being, a strong independent woman, and the fact that I am loved motivates to just get up and do stuff!”

Stella Theocharidou

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