Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes Fotografie
Family of the famous Richard Wagner?
“No, I’m not.”
Charlotte Wagner (21), born in Moers near Duisburg, is a third-year student of the University College: “It’s strange, that’s the second time today someone has asked me that.”
Biggest difference between Dutch and German students?
“The Dutch students are a lot younger. We start studying when we’re twenty. Most of us have already been abroad, had a job. For most Dutch students it’s their first experience standing on their own feet, without their parents. They still have to find out things like: how long can I stay up without collapsing? And the two groups have a different kind of ambition. I think that’s the reason why in my first year the entire three-percent group [the best three percent of students from each programme get their tuition fees back – ed.] was German, except Marie, the only Dutch winner.”
Heb je onlangs nog met een Nederlander gesproken?
Big smile. In English: “Yesterday in the bread shop in the Rechtstraat. Dutch is so close to German. I can read Observant, not only the English pages. I can read Dutch webpages, official letters and I understand most of the conversations. I followed a Dutch course at the Language Centre.”
Was that enough to speak it fluently?
“If I had the opportunity and the courage to speak Dutch, it would be sufficient. But firstly, the number of Dutch students at the UCM is quite low, and besides that the language in class and the social language are English. At other faculties they speak German or Dutch after class. It’s difficult to speak Dutch to someone if you normally speak English together. UCM is different from other faculties. I didn’t have to choose between integration in the Dutch of German group. There is a third group: an international one that includes all the others.”
Is speaking Dutch a must when studying in Maastricht?
“Yes, you should learn at least a minimum amount of Dutch, that’s pure politeness.”
What’s your favourite Dutch television programme?
“I don’t own a TV.”
Ever been on holiday in the Netherlands?
“I lived twenty minutes from Venlo. We made trips to Maastricht and Amsterdam and went to the Kröller Mülller Museum, the zoo in Arnhem. A while ago I visited Terschelling.”
Do you have a hairdresser in Maastricht?
“My sister always cuts my hair, or the hairdresser that I’ve known since I was young. It’s easy for me – I live two hours from Maastricht.”
Famous Dutch singer?
“Anouk. I used to listen to her in my last two years of high school.”
What about Dutch books?
“I’m actually a big reader, but I’m afraid I don’t know many Dutch classics besides The diary of Anne Frank and another book on World War II. I never know the names of the authors.”