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“I gain knowledge here that I will use for the rest of my life”

“I gain knowledge here that I will use for the rest of my life”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Scholarships Office

Certificate ceremony for scholarship students

MAASTRICHT. “The best students who want to come to Maastricht should not face any financial barriers,” said rector Luc Soete. So Maastricht University awards a number of scholarships every year. Some compensate tuition fees, others (the high-potential scholarships) also pay for a visa, insurance and residence permit. The forty-six scholarship students from this year received a certificate last Thursday during a ceremony in the Karl Dittrich hall, which was organised by the Scholarship Office.

Most of the scholarships go to students outside the European Union, who pay much higher tuition fees than EU students (13 thousand euro instead of 1,853). To qualify for a scholarship, students must have been at the top of their previous study (the scholarships are for master’s students), write a letter outlining their motivation, and have good references. Soete, who awards the certificates, calls up the students by faculty and asks where each student is from. “So that I can keep an eye on you during the football World Cup. As you will understand, if your country becomes world champion instead of the Netherlands, we will take back your scholarship.”

It is not the first time for Cognitive Neuroscience student Ömer Faruk Gülban from Turkey to be in Maastricht. “I was here two years ago as an Erasmus exchange student. I really liked the city and the university. I like small cities and the surroundings are beautiful. Also, it is easy to travel from here. The study is a lot of work, we have to read a great amount.” Werner Pretorius from South Africa, a master’s student of Human Rights, Globalisation and Law, agrees. “It is definitely challenging, but that is how you grow. I have learned skills and knowledge here that I will use for the rest of my life. In addition, you learn from the international environment. It makes you think about your own ideas, standards and values.”

Another thing that is helpful about the international environment is that you don’t necessarily need to learn Dutch, says Anna Bower from New York, who is studying Sustainability Science and Policy. “It would have been tough otherwise. I really wanted to come to the Netherlands. I was in Groningen a few years ago and the country appeals to me. People here are open to sustainability. Maastricht is a beautiful city. I like that it is quiet and not too big, you can find your way easily. It is just a pity that it is so far away from family.”

Fellow student Lize Swartz from South Africa wanted to come to Europe because sustainability is well developed. “I also looked at Finland. The good thing about the Netherlands is that for me, being a South African, it was easy to adapt. There was no great culture shock and I understand the language. There is a good balance in Maastricht between Dutch and international culture. The thing I had to get used to was the small living spaces. It is so crowded. I am used to big houses and being surrounded by lots of nature. But the winter makes up for it, I love the cold.”

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