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Where is my cheap parking place?

Where is my cheap parking place?

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes Fotografie

He’d love to live in Maastricht, but at the moment it’s not possible. Alex Ochel, a second-year student of International Business, can’t skip his job in Aachen. He needs the money to pay for his studies, and besides that, “it’s a kind of hobby. It sounds strange but I like being a consultant who prepares people for their pension. I interview older and younger people and tell them what they could do to have a good life after they retire.” He’s paid very well, Ochel says. “I usually work 9 to 12 hours spread over the week, and earn what a student normally gets for 30 to 36 hours a week.”

Still living at home? “Yes, I live with my parents in Aachen. It doesn’t make sense to rent a flat there – most of the time I’m out and about. I study 6 to 8 hours per day and work a lot.”

You study more hours than the average Dutch student. “Yes, I know, but I have to. I’m not satisfied; I passed most of my first-year exams with around 7s. That’s not good enough. You need excellent grades to get the job you want.”

Favourite hairdresser in Maastricht? He smiles. “Whoa, I’ve seen a lot of them in the city, but I always go to a hairdresser who’s been cutting my hair since I was a boy. It’s a small shop in Aachen. I want to support him.”

What’s your favourite spot in Maastricht? “There’s a café on a corner, near the Maas, it’s called ‘t Pothuiske. That’s typical Maastricht. I love the atmosphere of this town, the small shops, the buildings, the open-mindedness of the Dutch. Maybe next year, when I’ve saved enough money, I’ll rent a room in this exclusive town.”

Have you met a Dutch student lately? Thinking. “Hmm, yes I have. On Monday, I met two members of my very first tutorial group. We talked a little. Just small talk. In English. I speak just a little bit of Dutch. It’s not so easy to meet Dutch students. Most of my fellow students are German. I would like the university to be more international.”

Is there something you don’t like in Maastricht? “Yes. When I started studying a year ago it was easy to find a cheap parking place 500 metres from the faculty. And then, one day, they disappeared and I had to pay a lot more for the same spot. So I parked my car 200 metres further away in a quiet street. But when I came back after a couple of hours one side of my car was scratched. I didn’t block anything, I wasn’t disturbing anyone.”

Was it because of your German license plate? “I don’t know. Happily enough, I’ve found a more hidden parking place. No, I won’t say where it is, otherwise it will be full at the end of the week.”


Riki Janssen



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