Photographer:Fotograaf: Amira Eid
Social Monday 2.0
MAASTRICHT. “I want to play roulette though!” It’s Monday evening at the Muziekgieterij, where the International Student Network (ISN) is hosting Social Monday for the second time since the start of this academic year. Striped, spotted and floral-ed sofas are spread around the venue in a charmingly alluring fashion that draws groups of students together. At the front of the room a poker table has been set up, and is drawing a giggling crowd of amateur poker faces. Casino night is a success, though German exchange student Oliver Kempter was hoping for alternatives to a radical game of cards to fulfil his Vegas longings.
Social Monday is a new, weekly event the ISN has organised to contrast with its customary International Tuesday parties. The aim is to promote actual dialogue between international students. As ISN member Ruben van Sprang put it, “at no other party or event can you just go up to a random person and say ‘hey man, where are you from?’ and have an hour-long conversation.” The “living room atmosphere”, he adds, with its backdrop of folky music, “makes people feel at home.”
As the evening progresses energetic foosball matches ensue, and the less wrist-athletics-oriented groups being to mix and grow. The event seems to have succeeded in its mission to foster new connections between people. Laura Oostenbach, a European Public Health student from Belgium, attributes this to the fact that “we’re all in the same situation” – that is, new students in a foreign country, looking to make friends.
By 2018, the ISN will have finished work on its own place, where it is planning on maintaining a scene similar to that seen on Social Mondays. In fact, says Van Sprang, these are merely “a buildup” for the bigger, more elaborate events to come. In any event, a party at which you’re comfortable enough to leave your purse unattended for some time must have hit the right note.