Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes Fotografie
A very, very bright student. This definition suits Ines Reith (19), a first-year student of European Public Health, perfectly. Her average secondary school marks (1.3 in Germany, around a 10 in the Netherlands) were high enough to study anything she wanted in Germany. She started with medicine and biology in her last years of high school. “It was a special programme. I passed all the first-year exams of both courses and finished high school at the same time.” It was a really helpful experience. “I discovered that I don’t like blood, cutting, needles. Medicine is not for me.”
Why did you come to Maastricht?
“It was a coincidence. I was surfing the internet and saw the programme of EPH. This is what I’m going to do, I thought immediately. I wanted something to do with Europe and with biology.”
Is your choice the right one?
She smiles broadly. “I’ve experienced what it’s like to study in Germany: there are lots and lots of students, and you almost never see the professors, only their assistants. Here we have small groups, the professors give lectures, you can send them an e-mail, knock on their door. If there’s a problem they try to find a solution as quickly as possible. I’m hard of hearing, though most people don’t notice it. I have an operation in April but also an exam. In Germany it’s difficult to make arrangements for things like that; here it’s easy.”
Your programme is in English, but still your Dutch is fluent.
“Last summer I did the intensive Dutch language course. I think it’s important to speak the language of the country you live in. I had a great time, I can recommend it. Even if you’re going to study in English, take the language course. In those six weeks you get to know a lot of people, you get to know the town, the cafés. Maastricht is so beautiful in summer.”
Do you feel integrated?
Again a smile. “Yes, very much. My best friend Aniek is Dutch, I go to the pub and the library with Dutch students, I’m a member of Let’s Dance, I’m the vice-president of our student association Eunitas, a member of the studentenberaad FHML, and I speak Dutch almost the whole day. I also have German friends. I mostly see them on the weekends. The Dutch students all go home on the weekend.”
Do you know anything about Dutch music?
“Because of my Dutch friends I listen to Radio 3FM. I think I’m one of the few German students who knows We zijn zo lekker gewoon gebleven by The Lama’s. Before Carnival Jos van Oss’s Zachte G Harde L was very popular.”
“I love the oeuvre of the Dutch writer Harry Mulish, for example Het zwarte licht. I read them in Dutch. It’s always better to read a book in the original language. I would never read Harry Potter in German, because I don’t want to miss the typical English jokes.”
A tip for other Germans?
“Yes, learn the language. It’s a pity if after three years of study you don’t speak a word of Dutch and haven’t had a taste of Dutch culture. And get active in university politics. Then you can change things.”