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“You wouldn’t put a student from Vancouver in the morning group”

SBE adapts schedules for students in different time zones

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics has adapted its schedules for 120 foreign students for period 5 (starting on April 14) in order to prevent those students from having to attend tutorial group meetings at ungodly hours. The students concerned are exchange students – from countries such as Australia or the  US – who live in different time zones.

Every year, about seven hundred students come from partner universities to study Economics and/or Business Administration in Maastricht for six months, says Joël Castermans, head of SBE’s education office. Most are at home now because of the corona crisis and follow their education programme online. “You wouldn’t put a student from Vancouver – where it is 9 hours earlier than here – in the morning group.” That is why we have shifted things around so that everyone can start work at a reasonable time. “But there are limits, some now have classes at 20:30hrs. in the evening, which is not unusual, as we did already have classes until 19:30hrs. There are also students who start at 7:30.” to make this possible, around seventy European students had to move to another tutorial group. They did so without moaning, says Castermans.

This problem is much smaller elsewhere in the university. At the law faculty, it concerns the “odd one” – most students are from Europe – and if necessary, tailor-made solutions are created. The same goes for the Faculties of Psychology and Neurosciences and Arts and Social Sciences, which are flexible and  accommodating in case of problems. The Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences – which has a lot of European students – schedules tutorial meetings early in the afternoon, so that as many students as possible can participate at a reasonably normal time. Should this still cause a problem, students within the same time zone can be put together in one group. 

The University Colleges are a different story, because every student follows an individual programme. But they too are flexible and more relaxed where it comes to changing to a different tutorial group. Apparently, there are already tutors who plan tutorials in the evening because it suits oversea students better.

The new block period starts the day after Easter, on Tuesday 14 April.

Riki Janssen​​​​​​​

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