Eliza Malathouni, 29, born in Greece, junior researcher at the Faculty of Law
“You have to see with your own eyes what reminds me of home in order to understand, otherwise it’s a bit hard to explain. It’s a decoration of a pomegranate; it’s hung in my house ever since I received it from my parents. In Greece, pomegranate seeds are cherished as a symbol of happiness and luck. My parents gave it to me hoping that the new country I was going to would bring me luck and happiness; and indeed it has. It’s also supposed to remind me of my home country and my culture and make me stay true to my roots.
“The blue colour reminds me of the Greek sea and sky. You can also find a little blue eye hanging on it. Many Greeks, but also Turkish people, have one. We believe it keeps you out of harm’s way.
“I came to study here in Maastricht – the master’s programme Magister Iuris Communis in Comparative European and International Law – five years ago. I was given the pomegranate the moment I got a job at the faculty as a tutor. As for home, I always say: home is where the heart is. And my heart is in these two countries; the one I left behind and the one which has become my new home, the Netherlands. I may not have found what I left behind but I’ve found warm people, and have made good friends whom I cherish.”
Sun and heat
“Besides my family and friends of course, I miss the sun, the sea and the warm weather. A certain climate can have an impact on people ... When it’s a sunny day in Maastricht, I actually see more people smile. I’ve made a big effort to manage the grey and rainy days here.”