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An old Renault Clio

An old Renault Clio

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes Fotografie

He drives a Renault Clio, but not for much longer. Next month, his MOT expires and then he has to take his car off the road. It is beyond repair. “I must choose: buy a new car or use public transport,” says Bob Vogel, first-year student of psychology. He isn't looking forward to travelling by public transport. “My parents live in Krefeld, a hundred kilometres from Maastricht. I first need to take the train to Aachen and then the bus to Maastricht. It’s expensive: 20 euros for a one-way trip.” But he hasn’t saved enough money for a new car.

Don’t you have a student job?

“I would like to have one, but not for more than 8 hours a week. It mustn’t be at the expense of my studies or my time off.”

What are you doing during your time off?

“I play handball at Manos, the Maastricht student handball club. Almost all the members are Germans.”

Why?

“I don’t know. We have a lot of Germans here and handball is a popular sport in Germany.”

Have you met any Dutch students lately?

He thinks really hard. It’s Tuesday today. “Last week on Wednesday. I had a party with mixed guests.”

Do you feel integrated?

“I feel integrated at the UM. Sometimes I wonder whether I am still in a foreign country. My roommate is German, I met my friends during a Dutch language course last summer, so they are German, the handball club is German. It’s a pity. I’m living in the Netherlands but I speak German almost all day. Except in class, when I speak Dutch. Maybe I should go to the Feesfabrik more often, where you can find a lot of Dutch students. But the music is really awful.”

Why did you come to Maastricht?

“My marks were too bad to study psychology in Germany. Your average mark when leaving secondary school has to be between eight and nine. I had heard good things about Maastricht, about the PBL system, the Dutch language that’s not too difficult to learn. We’re now six months later and I love Maastricht. I love the people, who are very relaxed, I love PBL. You always feel some pressure to study because of the group. I think it’s very stimulating. I work harder than I would do in Germany, where I would only have lectures.”

Is there something that you don’t like?

“Some of the tutors I had weren’t good at all. They made mistakes, didn’t know enough about the topic that we had to study. It would be great if the tutor were a member of the academic staff or that he stood above the subject matter.”

Typical Dutch?

“The sea. I have a friend who goes on holiday in Renesse in Zeeland every summer for six weeks. It started when he was 6, now he’s 22. I have also visited Zeeland many times with my parents and later with my friends. This summer, we will go there on holiday with 20 students from the UM.”

 

Riki Janssen

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