Welcome to Maastricht. The fact that you’re reading this English-language piece says something about you: you’re either German (likely), or otherwise non-Dutch (less likely). You’re probably out of your teens already, you might own a car, and you have a whole different set of priorities and dilemmas than the Dutch people in your Inkom group. Apparently, the bread is very different in Germany. Last June we had a general election, and the right-wing anti-immigration PVV won a plurality in almost all of Limburg. You shouldn’t get too worried about this though; the locals view all students as foreigners and bear a modicum of resentment against the whole academic community, so you won’t be any more despised than your Dutch peers are. Speaking of which: have you noticed the people around you who seem to be enjoying themselves a lot, oftentimes dressed in similar polo shirts? They’re the Dutch students not from around here. They’ve typically joined one of the student associations, fraternities and sororities. They will devote this five-year period of their lives to growing up, through trial and error. You will get annoyed by this, because they’ll also be the ones who arrive at tutorials with no idea of the required reading, and show up for group work (one of the many delights the university has in store for you) preposterously hungover.
All of this will take some getting used to. But I would like to implore you to make an effort to make Maastricht your home, not just the place you attend tutorials during the week. It’s a neat little city, and even though there’s fuck-all to do during the weekends, the cultural agenda could be broader, and the nightlife pretty much stops at De Alla, Meta and Feesfebrik, it’s still miles better than anything in the vicinity. Even though you might consider yourself all grown up, I can assure you that you’re not. Step out of your comfort zone; don’t just hang with other Germans/internationals because it’s easier. Join an association, learn the language, and you’ll find that your life will be all the richer for it, while you’ll still have plenty of time to score solid eights and nines, wrecking the grade curve for everybody else. Say ‘yes’ to stuff, don’t be afraid of making a commitment. New experiences don’t often come without some level of uncertainty. So make an effort, and be good.