Maastricht University is starting a Summer School in July 2012. These two-weekly courses are primarily aimed at second- and third-year bachelors – both from the Netherlands and abroad – who want to broaden their academic knowledge, but at the same time want to have fun.
The UM – in co-operation with Hogeschool Zuyd and the Maastricht School of Management – will be the second university in the Netherlands with a Summer School, providing a wide range of options. Utrecht started 25 years ago and registers about two thousand students every year. In the United States, but also in countries such as Great Britain and Korea, it is a proven concept. Tom van Veen, UM dean of internationalisation and academic director of the Summer School, and Ellen Krijnen, manager of this project: “American parents often give their children a Summer School course as a gift.”
For the first summer, Maastricht is aiming for 120 to 150 participants, growing to six hundred students a year by 2016. “It is a combination of acquiring knowledge, having fun, and of course getting a first taste of the UM,” Van Veen explains. The first group can choose from fifteen to twenty courses, varying from ‘India and the European Union’, ‘The Arab World and the European Union’, Global Justice and Human Rights, ethical dilemmas in the cinema, career courses, to language courses. Offered in blocks of two weeks each, between 9 July and 17 August, these courses give students four ECTS credits. There are also intensive language courses, lasting six weeks.
Recent research, Van Veen and Krijnen emphasise, shows that there is a market for such courses. “Apart from that, the UM is often asked whether we have a Summer School.” The first signs are therefore favourable: since a special button was added to the UM homepage, 625 people have replied. Van Veen: “If a hundred of those sign up, we will have done well.”
The number of courses on offer will have to be increased in the coming years. Discussions with the Randwijck faculties are on the agenda, but also with the Academy of Music and the School of Drama. Course fees are 600 euros, plus 114 euros for a furnished room in the guesthouse, for two weeks. Together with the Maastricht Tourist Board, the organisers have created an extracurricular social programme: for 100 euros, participants get a welcome dinner, a farewell party and four to five activities, such as city walks and boat and bicycle trips. For a modest fee, UM Sports will accommodate the summer school students’ needs when it comes to sports.