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“Fortunately, I don’t need to go looking for a job”

“Fortunately, I don’t need to go looking for a job”

(Master’s) students during COVID-19

She had imagined her last weeks in Maastricht to be very different: enjoying the sidewalk cafes, going out to dinner or just chilling with friends in the garden of her student house. But after four years of studying, Noortje van Nunen (21) is temporarily back living with her parents in Wilnis. “I made some wonderful friends in Maastricht and instead of having a great farewell party, we now hardly see each other. That makes me really fed up.”

Van Nunen, however, is not down in the dumps. She is doing the master’s of Strategic Marketing and is very satisfied with how the university is dealing with the situation. “I was part of a test group for the subject of Marketing Innovation Management. The staff organised an online hackathon (solving a problem within a day). In this case, we had to think up ways for tourism in Maastricht to maintain a reasonable level during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hackathon lasted from nine until four, it was organised very well. Normally, you would spend the whole day working in the SBE building, now we all worked from home.”

She will complete her final subject and thesis online. No study delay, but she did change her plans for after she graduates. “I was planning on doing a work placement in Spain. That doesn’t seem like a good idea now. I am currently looking for a marketing placement near where my parents live. Hopefully, I can still do a language course in Spain next year. I also hope to be able to do a second foreign master’s at the Copenhagen Business School. That is why I am taking a year off now.”

She doesn’t have a lot of stress as a result of the lockdown. “I found it difficult in the beginning, but I have become used to it now. I fill my days with studying, cooking and reading. The time is going by quickly.” Does it help that she doesn’t need to look for a job? “It must be no fun at all looking for a job now. There are not many vacancies.”

Her side-line activities have not stopped either. “I am a board member of AIESEC, a student organisation that arranges voluntary projects and work placements in the Netherlands and abroad. I feel very proud when I see how connected we have remained during the pandemic. We have weekly team meetings, where we take turns organising a training session, for example on staying positive or time management. They are of a high level. Even members who have never given a training session before are participating. Really great.”

Lieve Smeets

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