Curfew likely to affect exam schedules

THE NETHERLANDS. Pending approval by the House of Representatives later today, there will be a curfew in the Netherlands between 20.30 and 4.30, until 9 February. Universities and students continue to hope that an exception will be made for exams scheduled in the evening.

Senate picks apart law against anglicisation of higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Are we creating a paper tiger? And why should the government even get involved in such an issue? The Dutch Senate has voiced serious reservations about a new law that is intended to stop the anglicisation of higher education in the Netherlands.

Students: more drug use and financial worries due to Covid

THE NETHERLANDS. They are losing their jobs or getting their hours cut – nearly one in three students are struggling with financial worries during the coronavirus crisis, a survey conducted among 1,250 students reveals. Substance abuse is also on the rise.

English-language teaching: the show must go on

THE NETHERLANDS. In the eyes of the government, there are five good reasons for maintaining English-language teaching in higher education. Study programmes will have to meet at least two of the five conditions or switch to the Dutch language.

Now that the government has collapsed...

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government was toppled Friday by the child benefits scandal. This will have repercussions on higher education because all kinds of draft legislation will be put on the shelf. What, for example, will happen to lotteries for popular study programmes?

Rapid testing for coronavirus to be trialled in higher education

NETHERLANDS. The lockdown will last at least three more weeks. The Ministry of Education wants to roll out rapid testing of students in a number of cities as part of a trial to see whether in-class teaching will be possible in the near future. Groningen will get the ball rolling next week.

Students create sustainability guide for Maastricht

Students create sustainability guide for Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Students from Maastricht for Climate have set up a website that guides readers through a more sustainable life. From general information – what can people do against climate change – to specific tips, such as where to buy sustainable clothing in Maastricht. The website will be launched on Monday, 18 January and will be both in Dutch and English.

Universities lower the standard for BSA

Universities lower the standard for BSA

NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. In view of the corona crisis and the recently extended lockdown, the 14 Dutch universities, including Maastricht University, are nevertheless lowering the standard for binding study recommendations (BSA) by 10 to 15 percent this academic year.

Student representatives call on universities for leniency in BSAs

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. First year students are already under enough pressure. Don’t leave them out in the cold: lower the threshold for issuing binding study recommendations (BSA) to students who are not on course to pass first year. That’s the message sent by student representatives of eleven universities to their executive boards.

No new vice rector of education

MAASTRICHT. The post of vice rector of education will not be filled again, says rector Rianne Letschert. Vice rector Harm Hospers retired on 1 January 2021.

First steps towards new participation bodies

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch House of Representatives wants to see new regulations for participation bodies at institutes of higher education. Researchers, students and unions are taking advantage of this opportunity to submit their own proposals.

Only a handful of students on campus

MAASTRICHT. No tutorials, no lectures, no crowds in the corridors or in the mensa. It is quiet in the university buildings. Employees must work from home as much as possible, students have no access to the buildings. Although there are exceptions to the last rule.

International student with technology or IT aspirations? Welcome to the Netherlands!

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government wants to recruit students from all over the world to come to the Netherlands to study technology and IT, two sectors plagued by shortages of skilled workers.

Martin Paul on the end of the Erasmus grant by the UK: “a great loss”

Martin Paul on the end of the Erasmus grant by the UK: “a great loss”

MAASTRICHT. The British are quitting the Erasmus + exchange programme. “A peculiar step,” says Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University. A step that he - just like his colleagues at British universities - did not see coming. There is a leniency regulation for students who had already arranged their exchange to the country before the deal was in place. They may cross the see until September 2022.

Brexit deal: yes to European research but no more Erasmus scholarships for British students

EUROPE/UK. The European Union and the United Kingdom struck an eleventh-hour Brexit deal at the end of December. The Brits will continue to contribute to the European research budget but are pulling out of the Erasmus+ exchange programme.

Diversity at the university: “Without hard data we'll never get there”

THE NETHERLANDS. "More diversity?” In academic circles this phrase often still means “more women”, says Saskia Bonjour, political scientist and member of The Young Academy. Too little is being done for other target groups.

UM is switching to online; buildings closed

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University, like the rest of educational institutions in the Netherlands, will 'close' due to rising Covid-19 infections. Education is now completely online, at least until the end of the third block (end of January).

Letschert: Twitter storm about use of retirees “blown out of proportion”

MAASTRICHT. Is Maastricht University going to use retired lecturers as volunteers to mark exams and supervise theses? This is what a University Council committee asked rector Rianne Letschert last Wednesday.

Students hardly appeal to UM’s Covid-19 leniency regulation

MAASTRICHT. They graduated later than planned or have suffered a delay because the education programme had to be adapted because of Covid-19. A total of 27 students have recently appealed to Maastricht University’s Covid-19 leniency regulation. Fifteen requests were accepted.

"Love, Lieke"

"Love, Lieke"

MAASTRICHT. “In these strange times, I hope that you still have nice holidays and that your 2021 is filled with many friends and family. Love, Lieke.”

Maximum of two years to justify tuition in English

THE NETHERLANDS. English-taught educational programmes will need to explain the added value of teaching in English. If they fail to do so, they will only be able to continue teaching in English for a maximum of two years before they need to switch to Dutch.

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

MAASTRICHT. The two large tents at the back of the Turn hall on the Grote Gracht that have served as extra classrooms since the beginning of this academic year, are no longer used for this purpose on a regular basis, says Cerien Streefland, director of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. The walls of the tents are too thin to be used for hybrid education. One of the two now serves as a place to study with 25 study spaces.

Keuzegids 2021: not much new under the sun

Keuzegids 2021: not much new under the sun

MAASTRICHT. Keuzegids 2021 has been published, but it doesn’t contain much new information. The rankings are to a large extent comparable to those of last year, because the guide was based on the results of the National Student Survey from 2019. The survey was not held this spring because of COVID-19. The question is what all those figures tell now universities had to switch to online and later hybrid education.

Covid-19: Where does internationalisation go from here?

THE NETHERLANDS. How will the Covid-19 pandemic impact internationalisation in higher education and research? To get the discussion going, Nuffic has mapped out four future scenarios.

“Good education is important, but you also need to be ‘street smart’”

“Good education is important, but you also need to be ‘street smart’”

“Don’t wait for that ‘million dollar idea’. It could be a long wait. An entrepreneur is something different than an inventor. A mere one in five businesses is innovative. So, you want to start your own business? Then do it!” It is one of the tips from the French philanthropist and social entrepreneur Alexandre Mars. Last Thursday, he was a guest at a webinar by The Maastricht Entrepreneurship Club, a club of entrepreneurs that was set up last September by three Maastricht University students.

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

MAASTRICHT. Next Thursday, medical interns throughout the country are going to post selfies of themselves wearing facemasks or maintaining 1.5 metre distance. With the hashtag ‘#CotijdensCovid they want to appeal to their fellow students to continue to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and give them a glimpse of what their lives look like at the moment.

“Every complaint is one too many”

MAASTRICHT. Fewer complaints from students about undesirable treatment while student numbers are rising, how is that possible? The confidential advisor for students looked into 36 cases last year, ten less than in 2018, while the university has expanded by approximately a thousand students. This raised questions in the University Council.

The Faculty of Law invests a million euro extra

MAASTRICHT. Until 2025, the Faculty of Law is going to invest a million euro, in particular in education, by appointing more (temporary) lecturers. The money comes from the faculty’s reserves, which will amount to more than 6.5 million in 2021.

Students help lecturers with online education

Students help lecturers with online education

In spring, when education suddenly had to become digital, many block co-ordinators at the Faculty of Law found themselves scratching their heads. Periods five and six were on the way – how could they ensure that everything would run as smoothly as possible? How do you record knowledge videos? And how do Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom work? Students stepped up. And they're still busy. 

Graduation ceremony postponed after students' petition

MAASTRICHT. Because of a petition from master students of medicine, their graduation ceremony will be postponed to March 2021. At least, for those who want to. "We are very happy that we can now choose."

Illegal student party on Tongerseweg

MAASTRICHT. The police ended an illegal student party in the former Bonnefantencollege on Tongerseweg last Friday evening. The caretaker, who works for XIOR (a real estate company and lessor of the more than 250 self-contained student apartments in the complex), contacted the police himself.

Six times higher tuition fees for British students

Six times higher tuition fees for British students

MAASTRICHT. British students who are studying in the Netherlands but who do not officially live here, will have to dig deep into their pockets from January. Because of Brexit they will pay the high ‘institutional tuition fee’ instead of the much lower statutory tuition fee as of 2021. Whether it will be a hard or a soft Brexit makes no difference. For Maastricht this currently concerns about a hundred students.

Green light for UM exchange programmes

Green light for UM exchange programmes

MAASTRICHT. Second wave or not, Maastricht University is allowing its exchange programmes and work placements abroad to take place this academic year. Contrary to Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, who feel that the uncertainty is too great. The UM’s foreign plans will have to meet certain requirements, says Martin Paul, president of the Maastricht Executive Board. “Safety above all.”

“Senior General Secondary Education is often the highest possible option in their home country”

“Senior General Secondary Education is often the highest possible option in their home country”

Some (potential) students from outside the European Union acquire their secondary school diploma with flying colours, but don’t have quite the qualifications needed for a study programme at Maastricht University. For those who nevertheless want...

“I miss the chats before and after class”

“I miss the chats before and after class”

MAASTRICHT. She has a debate in the Lower House today and it almost feels like an outing with all those online meetings, says minister Ingrid van Engelshoven on Thursday morning at half past nine to eleven UM students. They were invited – every faculty asked one or more students – to speak with her for an hour or so about the quality of education during the corona pandemic. “What is it like for you to spend days on end in front of a computer screen? How do you find your feet as a first-year at a university during this pandemic? What do we need to remember when the pandemic has passed?”

The Young Academy: “Flying academics should stay on the ground more often"

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities need to do more to reduce their CO2 emissions from air travel, says The Young Academy. In a new report, they recommend learning from everything that has been achieved during the coronavirus crisis and investing in digital conferences and good webcams.

People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

MAASTRICHT. There is a queue at the coffee vending machines next to the university cafeteria inside Universiteitssingel 40 this Tuesday morning. Not just because people want to start their day with a shot of caffeine; important work is going on here. As of 1 March 2021, all coffee vending machines at the university will be replaced. Today, students and employees may test which coffee they prefer. The candidates? Douwe Egberts and Segafredo.

“Why would I not be able to finish my studies while raising a child?”

“Why would I not be able to finish my studies while raising a child?”

MAASTRICHT. How do you combine studying with having children? It’s a familiar question, laughs Dutch Iris te Boome from the Netherlands. She’s a sixth-year Medicine student at Maastricht University who decided to become a mother at a young age. Never for a moment did she consider quitting her studies over it. Marie Rys from Germany, a master’s student at the Faculty of Law, has a son who is nearly two years old. The pregnancy was unplanned, but she has found her way by now. Her study adviser was a great help in that, she says. Observant interviewed these two twenty-something mums in advance of the launch of a new network for parents and carers at UM this Thursday.

Dear Professor, how honest are you?

Dear Professor, how honest are you?

THE NETHERLANDS. In the Netherlands, the largest ever study of scientific integrity and sloppy science is being conducted across all disciplines. Or that was the idea, at least, but most universities and teaching hospitals are withholding their cooperation.

“Abolition of BSA is an example of a cheap score”

MAASTRICHT. The Lower House wants to get rid of the binding study advice. The House voted in favour of a motion by GroenLinks last week. The minister will have to talk to the education institutes to no longer make this advice ‘binding’. Student unions are enthusiastic, but education experts in Maastricht were not immediately convinced. “You have to be able to offer an alternative.”

Student wellbeing at risk in coronavirus era

THE NETHERLANDS. New research shows that the coronavirus crisis has had a profound impact on students. They feel lonely more often, struggle to concentrate and are increasingly worried about study delays.

Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

MAASTRICHT. The most recent exam week at Maastricht University turned out to be chaotic on some days due to technical problems with anti-cheat software Proctorio. Students were thrown out of the system on one or more occasions and were therefore unable to complete their exam, or could not take it in peace. It is unclear how many students are affected. UM has, however, decided on a leniency arrangement. Anyone who has been troubled will get a new chance.

That drop of golden fluid time and again

That drop of golden fluid time and again

Addicts, what kind of people are they actually? Why can one person just have a beer, a joint or a pill, while the other goes a step further every time? Also, how susceptible to addiction are you yourself? This was the subject of discussion during an online edition of Let’s Talk, the recurrent talk show by Studium Generale. Together with students from the FHML Honours programme, they organised an evening on the topic of drugs use and abuse last Monday.

Sizeable additional costs because of cyberattack and COVID-19

MAASTRICHT. The faculties are spending less money this year, but at a central level and in the service centres, Maastricht University is spending a great deal more, or is losing income. This has to do mainly with the effects of the corona pandemic and the cyberattack, said financial director Ruud Bollen to the University Council last week.

“Those scammers are so cunning”

“Those scammers are so cunning”

MAASTRICHT. Two master’s students from Portugal lost two thousand euros to a rental scam. On WhatsApp, a man posing as a landlord had promised them a two-bedroom flat in the centre of Maastricht. It turned out to be nothing but a lie. Although the summer rush on student housing is over, posts about scams are still popping up on Facebook. International students in particular are being targeted. They shared their stories with Observant. “These kinds of things are damaging to the reputation of an international city.”

Dutch MPs vote to reconsider binding recommendation

THE NETHERLANDS. A slim majority of MPs have voted to bring an end to the binding recommendation on the continuation of studies, a measure that essentially forces students to drop out if they make too little progress in their first year. They have backed a motion submitted by opposition party GroenLinks to reopen the debate on this hotly contested measure.

Coronavirus: more international graduates plan to leave the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands as an ideal country in which to live and work after graduation? As a result of the coronavirus crisis, students from outside Europe are now less likely to stay after they finish their studies here. A new Nuffic survey reveals that just over half of new graduates are still planning to apply for a residence permit.

Students help students

Students help students

MAASTRICHT. The student psychologists don’t receive many questions related to COVID-19 problems, says Liesbeth Mouha, student psychologist and fellow organiser of the Well-being Week, which is to start next week. “The people who do come with them, have often been in trouble before. So something was already going on there.”

A day in the life of a Zoom student

A day in the life of a Zoom student

“You averaged 11 hours, 36 minutes of screen time per day last week”, is the first thing my Ipad tells me on a Monday morning. It is 9:58 am and I've been trying to find the Zoom link to my 10 a.m class for the last fifteen minutes...

“I do get my passion for science from my dad”

“I do get my passion for science from my dad”

American student Meghan Callender was only sixteen years old when she arrived in Nieuwe Pekela for an exchange year. The province of Groningen – as flat as can be, with pastures, cows and water – could not have been more different from Washington State, her homeland full of nature and mountains. But it wasn’t just the surroundings she had to get used to. The culture, the way of life, relationships: everything was new. Looking back, it was an amazing experience, she says. It was so amazing that she returned. First to Groningen, but since September a few hundred kilometres south, in Maastricht.

“If we behave well now, we will soon be able to have drinks together again”

“If we behave well now, we will soon be able to have drinks together again”

MAASTRICHT. ‘Being able to give my friends hugs again.It is one of the quotes on the posters that can be found in the city, at the university, the clubs and association houses from Wednesday 21 October. Student associations Circumflex, Koko, and Tragos are participating in the national campaign #daardoeikhetvoor. An action by students for students, to impress upon them to take the COVID-19 measures seriously.

From top tennis player to researcher

From top tennis player to researcher

For years, Debbie Gach (23) competed as a tennis player in the Netherlands. She decided to leave the world of competitive sports behind in order to focus on her master’s degree in Human Movement Sciences, with a specialisation in Sports and Nutrition – a degree she has now obtained. “I look forward to working life.” She would like to get a PhD position or become a junior researcher.

Proctoring outsourced to American company Proctorio

Proctoring outsourced to American company Proctorio

It’s not just the tutorial group meetings and lectures that are different because of the COVID-19 pandemic; exams have also been adapted. Hundreds of students together in the MECC is now impossible. And online proctoring? That can be used if there is really no other alternative, the Executive Board of Maastricht University emphasises. Compared to the proctoring (digital testing under supervision) in spring, it has now been outsourced to the American company Proctorio. Surveillance software is used to analyse student behaviour. Students from the University Council are critical.   

Testing continues to be a struggle

Testing continues to be a struggle

MAASTRICHT. The first exam period is nearly upon us, but it will be very different from previous years because of COVID-19. Maastricht University had already pared down the maximum number of students allowed in the MECC from 1,800 to four hundred. For most exams an alternative was already sought in the summer, for example in the form of essays or presentations. For 79 tests, use will be made of online proctoring: supervised digital exams. Checking for fraud has been outsourced to American software company Proctorio.

Face masks compulsory at UM from Thursday 15 October onwards

Face masks compulsory at UM from Thursday 15 October onwards

MAASTRICHT. From tomorrow, Thursday 15 October, onwards, all staff and students will have to wear a face mask in the UM buildings. Under the motto: while walking or standing, the face mask stays on, when you sit down, it can be taken off.

“After this week the hassle will be over”

“After this week the hassle will be over”

MAASTRICHT. Suddenly, deadlines for the assignments had disappeared, the online lecture videos faltered, and some students appeared to be scheduled in two places at the same time. The transition from Blackboard to the more user-friendly Canvas was not a flawless one, but by now the main problems have been solved, says Charles Bollen, the University Library official who led the change-over to Canvas.

Face masks: from urgent advice to obligation

MAASTRICHT. As of today, there is an urgent advice nationwide to wear a face mask in higher education, and that urgent advice will become a duty, as soon as everything is legally completed. Prime Minister Rutte announced this during the press conference yesterday.

“Fencing was my oxygen”

“Fencing was my oxygen”

His grandmother died last summer, “the best cook in Italy”. Sad but determined, the Italian Giovanni Bava left his birthplace Asti to come and study Economics and Business Economics in Maastricht. His studio in Maastricht is the second home for him ever to live in.

Rector Rianne Letschert: “When they ask me later on what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one”

Rector Rianne Letschert: “When they ask me later on what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one”

MAASTRICHT. Yes, rector Rianne Letschert got dispirited by it at times. Here you have a “great new study programme” in which six faculties are going to collaborate – unique for the Netherlands and maybe even the whole world – and it looks as if it going to fail because of “laborious financial and bureaucratic systems that we designed ourselves”. After three years of “blood, sweat and tears”, Global Studies is finally there. “That is a long time for an impatient person like myself. But when I leave here and they ask me what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one.”

Master’s of Health Education and Promotion: all options are open

Master’s of Health Education and Promotion: all options are open

He already has a job, even though it doesn’t have much to do with his master’s of Health Education and Promotion, says Daan Janssen, 24 years old, who graduated at the end of August. He makes drawings and if he doesn’t do anything crazy, he can live off that. “I have always done it, but never took any lessons. During my bachelor’s of Medicine, I drew a lot of anatomical images, I found it a nice way of studying.”

'1 in 5 PhD students experience undesirable conduct'

THE NETHERLANDS. From screaming supervisors to professors wanting hugs, many PhD students experience undesirable conduct, warns interest group PNN. Whistle-blowing often yields no results. "It was made clear to me that I would not win anyway."

Diversity Day: “Feeling at home is the basis for success”

Diversity Day: “Feeling at home is the basis for success”

MAASTRICHT. “The university is focusing too much on solving the problem of loneliness, and not on preventing it. We need initiatives that will bring students in contact with others.” “There is no policy for disabled UM employees. That has to change.” These were a few of the remarks made during Diversity Day, which took place on 6 October. A day on which students discussed diversity and inclusivity at the UM. As well as the lack thereof.

“Dutch only”

“Dutch only”

MAASTRICHT. Discrimination on Facebook is there for the world to see in groups where supply and demand on the student room market meet: “German girls only (sorry landlord's rule).” “Hé meiden.” “Dutch only.” Often in capitals, DUTCH ONLY, just to make sure a foreign student doesn’t miss the message. A persistent phenomenon that annoys many, but about which nothing is being done. Because who is going to complain to the university, the city council or – if they are even aware of it – the Anti-Discrimination Service Limburg, (Antidiscriminatievoorziening Limburg)? “If you don’t get the room, you just keep looking. You want as little trouble as possible.”

Number of discriminating advertisements for rooms on Fbook is growing

Number of discriminating advertisements for rooms on Fbook is growing

MAASTRICHT. The number of discriminating Maastricht advertisements for rooms for ‘Dutch only’ or ‘German girls only’ on Facebook is growing. This leads to a lot of irritation on social media, but hardly any action to tackle it.

Randstad popular choice for Master’s students

THE NETHERLANDS. After getting their undergraduate degree from universities in cities such as Tilburg, Groningen and Maastricht, more and more students are choosing to do their Master’s in the Randstad. This is one of the observations reported by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) in an evaluation of the current Bachelor’s-Master’s system.

UPDATE: Fasos urges everyone to wear a face mask

UPDATE: Fasos urges everyone to wear a face mask

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Science (Fasos) urges students and staff members to wear a face mask. It's not  formally mandatory, although dean Christine Neuhold said during the Faculty Council meeting yesterday, that everyone "has to"  wear a mask. It's more nuanced than that, she says now. "When you say it's mandatory, people expect penalties. We will not have those." 

Nobel Prize in physics awarded for black holes research

SWEDEN. Three physicists were awarded the Nobel Prize today for their discovery of black holes. Roger Penrose proved that they could theoretically exist, while Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez were the first to discover a black hole in the Milky Way.

Maastricht students: online education is far from ideal, but demonstrating is a step too far

Maastricht students: online education is far from ideal, but demonstrating is a step too far

MAASTRICHT. Online education is far from ideal, say Maastricht students. The quality of problem-based learning is suffering, whether it is purely online or in a hybrid form. There is less discussion, students are less likely to speak out and for newcomers it is difficult to get to know others. These are some of the outcomes of a round of questions by Observant. But demonstrating (online) with students from across the country last Friday for more face-to-face education, was a step too far for most of them.

“I’m three-quarters Polish, but I’ve never been to Poland”

“I’m three-quarters Polish, but I’ve never been to Poland”

When she was in secondary school and her father became seriously ill, she went to therapy. It helped her so much that she decided to study psychology herself. Maike Prenzyna from Germany doesn’t see herself becoming a clinical psychologist, though. “I would care way too much about everything.” She is interested in going into research, but first she would like to find her feet in Maastricht.

“I’m a real adult now”

“I’m a real adult now”

A day before starting her new job, she defended her master’s thesis. It was graded with an 8.5. Armed with her brand-new degree in Global Supply Chain Management and Change, Monika Koritarova (25) was ready to embark on the Supply Chain Talent ...

Education, exams and research on campus continue as usual

MAASTRICHT. Education at Maastricht University will continue as usual, just like the planned exams in the Mecc and the research that takes place on campus. The latest corona measures of the Dutch govenrment won't change this. Employees still have to work from home as much as possible.

Student protest: we want more lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. Students want more face-to-face education. They will call for this at a protest on Friday at Museumplein in Amsterdam. "I've only been taught online this year."

“Making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that”

“Making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that”

When he studies, he always goes for a ten, plays at a high level for football club MVV, and wants to become a member of every club or association. First-year student of Econometrics Cedric Pots, living at home in Maastricht, sometimes has to have his enthusiasm curbed. He agrees that he sets the bar too high every now and again.

What happens to the loan system millions?

THE NETHERLANDS. Wondering what universities plan to spend the funds from the basic student grant on? The NOS op 3 news desk has created a neat overview.

More students with mental health problems as a result of the coronavirus crisis

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of young people with mental health problems remained mostly stable in recent years. But the coronavirus crisis has made life harder for students, according to a new national study. Former professor and researcher Peter van der Velden has expressed concern.

You can’t always run to A & E with your minor little pain

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University recently appointed a health counsellor for students: a single contact person for students with physical health problems. Students won’t get a medical diagnosis and there will be no treatment either. The counsellor advises and points (foreign) students in the right direction of the often unknown world of Dutch health care.

Corona compensation only for final-year students for now

THE NETHERLANDS. About mid-way through your studies and already delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak? Too bad, because only students in their final year will be compensated financially. No changes to these plans are expected for the time being. A more elaborate scheme was rejected yesterday by one vote in the House of Representatives.

"You wouldn’t want to be known as the fraternity that became a COVID-19 hotspot in Maastricht”

"You wouldn’t want to be known as the fraternity that became a COVID-19 hotspot in Maastricht”

MAASTRICHT. The number of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly and time and again the finger is being pointed at the students, who are alleged to have become the main source of infections and not to always be very particular about the rules. What about Maastricht? 'We really pay attention', it sounds more than once, 'especially in the week before we go to our parents'. But not every student is convinced of the contagiousness of the virus.

Rector Rianne Letschert: “A football team is not just made up of strikers or goalkeepers"

Rector Rianne Letschert: “A football team is not just made up of strikers or goalkeepers"

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Scientists teach, lead their department and share their insights with the general public. They are going to receive more recognition for this kind of work. But is it at the expense of their research?

‘More and more students paying way too much rent’

THE NETHERLANDS. National student union LSVb has issued a warning about the extremely high rents students currently pay for their rooms. Especially in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, access to accommodation requires deep pockets. The cheapest rooms are found in Enschede.

“My father said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you should go’”

“My father said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you should go’”

It was quite a shock for her parents when they heard that their daughter would have to move out in order to study Health Sciences. Nobody does that in Syria: “Everyone lives at home. We certainly don’t let girls live alone.” The rest of her family also told her not to do it over Skype. But on 31 August 2020, Hadeel Khawatmy (pronounced “Adele”) moved to Maastricht. “My father eventually said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you’re an independent person, you should go’.”

Alumna at Law with nursing roots

Alumna at Law with nursing roots

She wrote her final thesis on euthanasia and dementia. In it, she focussed on the Dutch case of a geriatrician who had ended the life of a patient suffering from dementia. The woman had signed a declaration when she was able to give informed consent....

“What the police often does on the streets is guessing”

“What the police often does on the streets is guessing”

What crime would you associate with a white and well-educated young man? And which one with a black rapper driving an expensive car? These are some of the questions the participants to the zoom lecture “Ethnic Profiling in the Netherlands” were asked. This event, that took place last Wednesday, was organized by Amnesty International in collaboration with Black Lives Matter Maastricht, and is part of the Anti-Racism Action Week, which started Monday 14th of September with the Vigil for Tomy Holten and will end on Sunday with the BLMM Protest.

State budget: no extra money for education

THE NETHERLANDS. No out-of-the-blue budget cuts, but no extra funding either to ensure high-quality education during the coronavirus crisis. The government’s Budget Memorandum underscores the importance of good education but does not provide a generous budget. 

Keeping up the spirit during lockdown

Keeping up the spirit during lockdown

Look, I Zoom in And I Zoom out But can I really focus? It all started last March on Twitter with these four lines of poetry by Paul Stephenson, assistant professor of Political Science and poet. Sally Wyatt, professor Digital Cultures and...

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

MAASTRICHT. Two large white tents, model festival tent, have recently been installed behind the Turnzaal on the Grote Gracht. Since the start of the academic year, they function as additional tutorial rooms. The largest (25 by 15 meters) can accommodate 55 students in a Covid-19-proof setting, the second (15 by 15 meters) 40 students.

Audit team: “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist”

Audit team: “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist”

MAASTRICHT. At breakneck speed, all UM buildings - from Venlo to Maastricht – have been made COVID-19-proof  before the start of the academic year. Paul van Eekeren and Yves Maris from Facility Services were right on top of it as ‘COVID-19 protocol audit team’. “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist, it is now important that everyone takes their own responsibility.”
SBE-graduate: "I have adapted my search"

SBE-graduate: "I have adapted my search"

She has had plenty of student jobs: as a receptionist at a hotel, working for an Escape Room, street vendor for regional daily newspapers. But now the time has come for a real job, and that is a different kettle of fish. ‘Currently open to new job opportunities’, it says at the top of the LinkedIn profile of the 24-year-old Selke Ruijssenaars. Sure, she is not the only person in her twenties who is now entering the labour market and making that known via social media, she realises all too well, but it is worth a try. 

20 billion for knowledge, innovation and infrastructure

THE NETHERLANDS. Ministers Hoekstra and Wiebes announced that the government has allocated 20 billion euros to help boost knowledge, innovation and infrastructure in the next five years.

New studios are going like hot cakes

New studios are going like hot cakes

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht boasts a number of large extra student complexes since this summer. Former offices on the Bassin, the Hertogsingel and on the Dokter Nevenstraat in Scharn have been completely stripped and renovated. In total, more than three hundred independent studios were added. The letting agents are not complaining about lack of occupancy. “Everything was gone within five weeks.” In Randwyck, where prefabricated ‘container homes’ arrived at premises of Maastricht University in June, things are progressing a little slower.

“I have to compete with candidates who have three to four years of work experience”

“I have to compete with candidates who have three to four years of work experience”

He was shocked by it, he hadn’t expected the competition to be so fierce: three to four hundred “often strong” candidates for jobs in Brussels, around the European Commission. Jobs that Jack van den Berg, who graduated from the master’s of European Studies in the middle of July, would love to have. 

Number of Koko registrations doubled

Number of Koko registrations doubled

The number of students who signed up with a student association has risen considerably this year compared to last year. Nationally, the number has grown more than fifty per cent, especially Eindhoven (79 per cent), Utrecht and Groningen (66 per cent)...

“UM could do so much more for sustainability”

“UM could do so much more for sustainability”

With one arm in a cast, UCM student Arthur Bribosia (23) accepted the annual Student Award last Monday. A few days earlier, when he heard that his movement Students for Climate had won the award, the Belgian student was overjoyed, climbed a tree, fel...

Maastricht rises slightly in the worldwide Times Higher ranking

THE NETHERLANDS / MAASTRICHT.The Netherlands still has eleven universities in the global top 200 of the British magazine Times Higher Education, but again most of them drop a few places. Wageningen, the national number one, drops from 59 to 62. Maastricht rises a few places to 121.

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is dealing with an increasing number of corona infections. The counter now (31 August) stands at 18 students who tested positive for Covid-19. The cause could be sought in student houses where the rules have not always been observed.

UM is growing rapidly: almost twenty thousand students

UM is growing rapidly: almost twenty thousand students

MAASTRICHT. Nearly twenty thousand students have enrolled at Maastricht University for this academic year. Last year there were about 19 thousand. The share of Dutch students is growing by 10 percent; that of the foreign students by 15 percent, says interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen. These are preliminary enrollment figures. Definitive data will not be available until December.

PNN: PhD students also suffer from heavy workload

THE NETHERLANDS. PhD students at Dutch universities often burn the candle at both ends, working long hours that sometimes result in burnouts and other psychological problems. Something needs to be done about the workload, says the Dutch network for PhD students, Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN).

“From an emotional viewpoint it was a difficult year"

“From an emotional viewpoint it was a difficult year"

Last week, the first largely online Inkom took place. A strange week, after a difficult year, says Milou Berdenis van Berlekom, chairperson of the Working Group Inkom.  But it was one that we can look back on positively. “We had a thank-you dinner on Sunday for the crew that helped us over the past three weeks. I looked around me and thought: we did it after all. Despite everything, we put on an Inkom.”

“I had a really fun Inkom group”

“I had a really fun Inkom group”

This year, the Inkom, the introduction week by Maastricht University, took place mainly online. Was it worth it? Did the first-year students meet new people? Has Maastricht become their city? We asked four freshmen.

Two students tested positive for Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Two students who participated in the Inkom, digital and on campus, tested positive for Covid-19. UM has heard this today, the university writes in a recently issued press release. The GGD (public health authority) is conducting a source and contact investigation

UPDATE: And again the introduction of student associations has to change

UPDATE: And again the introduction of student associations has to change

MAASTRICHT. Student associations and debating societies are trying to recruit new members, but the COVID-19 measures don’t make it easy for them. Especially because the rules keep changing. First, actual physical recruiting was allowed, then only online, and now it is different again, but how exactly? In the meantime, by-passing the strictest rules is not too difficult.

“It won’t all be cosy and comfy. Learning is sometimes very uncomfortable”

“It won’t all be cosy and comfy. Learning is sometimes very uncomfortable”

“Our dream is becoming reality because of you, students,” says an enthusiastic head of the Development Team Valentina Mazzucato. After three years of preparations, Monday 24 August is the kick-off for Global Studies, the new UM bachelor’s programme that is a collaboration between the six Maastricht faculties. Not all of the seventy or so students were present at the Vrijthof theatre. At least ten have travelling restrictions because of Covid-19.

Minister: cheating limited during online exams

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven claims that students have not cheated en masse since universities switched to online exams this spring. Or at least, they haven’t cheated more than usual.

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

MAASTRICHT. At the moment six foreign students are in voluntary quarantine in the Annadal Guesthouse. They 've arrived from an orange or red area in the world. None of them is showing any symptoms or have tested positive for corona at the moment, says Roel van der Nat, manager of the Guesthouse. The ‘isolation corridor’ is empty. “Let us try and keep it that way.”

“I really can’t cook”

“I really can’t cook”

Eindhoven, Nijmegen, Maastricht. You can study Biomedical Sciences in all three cities, but there is a restricted entry in Nijmegen and the study programme in Eindhoven is fairly technical. So, Robin Beurskens (19) registered in Maastricht at the las...

Is André Rieu from Maastricht?

Is André Rieu from Maastricht?

Somewhere between the University Library and the City Park, the INKOM city walk participants take a wrong turn. They go left onto Begijnenstraat instead of continuing straight ahead to the checkpoint in the park. The students are almost at Café Sjiek...

Mozzarella in carrozza

Mozzarella in carrozza

Giovanni Bava was dropped off in Maastricht by his parents and brother to study Economics & Business Economics. All the way from Italy by car. “My brother is going to study in Canada, so this was like a last family trip.” Initially, i...

“Moving to another country is not scary”

“Moving to another country is not scary”

Conor Johnston (20) is one of the first-year students who was worked hard during UM Sports Inkom workout on Wednesday morning. “I didn’t expect it to be that intense. But it was a good exercise.” He is pretty certain that he will be...

“Maastricht feels like home, like it’s my city”

“Maastricht feels like home, like it’s my city”

“I grew up in Afghanistan, but have lived in the Netherlands for five years now,” says Haroon Rezaie (21), first-year student of European Studies. “I really want to know more about the place where I live and where my future lies, th...

Digital pizza

Digital pizza

‘Learn to cook like a real Maastricht resident.’ That’s the promising description of the virtual event Meals of Maastricht, part of the Inkom 2020. It’s Wednesday August 19, 6 pm, and I‘m standing in my kitchen i...

The moment the cotton bud disappears into her nose, has been recorded for all eternity

The moment the cotton bud disappears into her nose, has been recorded for all eternity

MAASTRICHT. No Inkom in the MECC this year, but this Tuesday afternoon three doctors to be and a psychology student will be having their own ‘party’ in white protective suits. Well, it certainly isn’t a party, although things are quite relaxed in the GGD (local health authority) Zuid Limburg’s new testing facility, it being very quiet. In the MECC’s multi-storey car park on the Paul-Henri Spaaklaan, throat-and-nose swabs are taken for Covid-19 research. Students test students.

Chicken phobia and a serenade for number 95623489

Chicken phobia and a serenade for number 95623489

“What song would you like to hear, number 95623489?” The Inkom participants who logged in to the serenade evening by Tuna de Maastricht – part of the CultiNight – on Tuesday night, are assigned a random number as user name. Well, that is rather difficult to put into a romantic song. “Maybe we need to give them Spanish names,” one of the members suggests. “Like Esmeralda.” “Or Henk,” grins another.

“Ten more seconds, come on”

“Ten more seconds, come on”

The workout was fully COVID-proof. At the entrance to the sports hall, people were asked to scan a QR code and fill in a list of questions on their phone. If their screen turned green, they were allowed inside. The entire hall was being used so that ...

“I think I am going to have to learn to cycle again”

“I think I am going to have to learn to cycle again”

Callie Mak (18) from Singapore moved from Singapore to Spain with her parents so that she could do her A levels. This academic year she will start at the Maastricht Science Programme. “I wanted to move to a new place and do a study programme th...

A hybrid Inkom

A hybrid Inkom

Will I or will I not go to Maastricht during the Inkom?’ Derck Dolmans (20) asked himself a couple of weeks ago. He opted for a combination. “I will stay at home the first three days, most of the programme is online, and I will attend the...

Even in times of COVID-19 the UM will grow

MAASTRICHT. Definite figures or growth percentages are not being given, the situation at the moment is “still too unsure,” say interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen. But it is no secret that Maastricht University can bank on more enrolments this academic year.
 

“Where will this end? Is the government also going to fix the rent?”

“Where will this end? Is the government also going to fix the rent?”

MAASTRICHT. Having a BBQ in the city park should be allowed. Pubs should be open 24 hours a day. You should be allowed to drink alcoholic beverages on the street. Hazing should be abolished. Just a few of the propositions discussed first by four political youth parties last Tuesday, and then by the four large Maastricht student associations. In English.

Jumping while wearing high heels

Jumping while wearing high heels

“Come on guys, to the beat, right.” The five members of the Working Group Inkom (WGI) are standing on the roof of the MECC on Monday evening. This is where the Inkom opening ceremony will take place shortly after, which can be viewed via a livestream. But first some practice is needed. And again; jumping while wearing high heels is no easy feat.

Student associations get green light for face-to-face events after all

THE NETHERLANDS. Student associations will be allowed to host introduction events for prospective members after all. After some initial hesitation, the Dutch government conceded to pressure from the House of Representatives.

Top-class study and sports

Top-class study and sports

Cedric Pots (18) grew up in Scharn, so yes, it is logical that he is going study at Maastricht University. But in Pots’ case, things are a little different. From the time he was in fourth year of secondary school, Pots has known that he wants t...

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Could you please keep one and a half metres’ distance?” The new students at the entrance to the information market at Tapijn take a few steps to the side. “Thank you very much,” says the senior-year student, wearing an ...

A cycling doctor to be

A cycling doctor to be

26 June 2020 is a day that Maud van der Velde (19) will never forget. That is when she heard that she had been accepted after all to study Medicine in Maastricht, having been on the waiting list until that time. 

"I’ll postpone the ‘student housing-theme’ for a while"

"I’ll postpone the ‘student housing-theme’ for a while"

A few days before the introduction week Inkom kicks off, eighteen-year-old Renée Moers is still in Luxembourg, on a campsite. “I’m taking a little break with friends.” She was initially scheduled to fly to Alicante wi...

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

MAASTRICHT. Now that the COVID-19 measures have been somewhat relaxed, larger physical gatherings can take place during the INKOM, from 17 until 21 August. This means that each participant will be given the opportunity to attend the evening meetings at least once and freshmen can also become personally acquainted with their group during registration. However, the digital programme will remain key.

From textbook to paper reviewing

From textbook to paper reviewing

Covid-19 changed a lot for everybody, but for the second-year students of the International Medicine Track, it changed the content of their entire course. Instead of learning about drug development, they dived into all the research that has been coming out about the new virus worldwide.

Board SBE: “Please believe us, we don’t want to punish anyone”

Board SBE: “Please believe us, we don’t want to punish anyone”

MAASTRICHT. "Do we actually have a chance of changing any of your decisions or are we just here to listen to hear you explain them?” Last Friday afternoon, the School of Business and Economics held an online town hall meeting via Zoom for worried, angry and disappointed students who did not pass the first-year subject of Quantitative Methods 2. The exam was declared invalid because of fraud. The Faculty board is at a loss with the situation and is trying to find solutions where possible. Students (among 160 were present during the meeting) have questions. A lot of questions.

“I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and took off”

“I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and took off”

International Business alumnus Arjan Tiessen This interview with wine importer Arjan Tiessen (37) has been about a year and a half in the making. It all started when Arjan, who lives in Tanzania, replied to my request for an interview on Facebook ...

“UM should not say that Zwarte Piet is racist”

MAASTRICHT.  University Council member Sjaak Koenis feels that the university should not involve itself in political discussions. The Executive Board is doing that by saying that Zwarte Piet is racist.

Texting using during exams: new ways of cheating during the crisis

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. The number of suspected cases of academic misconduct during online exams is on the rise. In recent weeks cheating occurred at various universities, from Maastricht to Twente, to Rotterdam and Nijmegen. “We trust our students, but we are not naive.”

Allocation of 40 percent of the abolished student grants is still unclear

Allocation of 40 percent of the abolished student grants is still unclear

THE NETHERLANDS. After the abolition of the student grant in 2015, students were promised educational improvements. But will the 2.5 billion euros that is being made available up until 2024 also be spent on that? Research carried out by Folia shows that one in three universities and academic institutions do not as yet have a realistic spending plan in place.

Literally: Fit & Fun Outdoor

Literally: Fit & Fun Outdoor

For the time being UM Sports is taking things outside now indoor sports are still not allowed. As of 1 July, sport centres may open their doors again, but UM Sports does not have official approval yet, they report on Facebook. ...

“It is worth the students’ while to come to Maastricht”

“It is worth the students’ while to come to Maastricht”

MAASTRICHT. On campus when possible, online if necessary. That is Maastricht University’s slogan for its education activities in the new academic year. This slogan goes hand in hand with the appeal to students: come to Maastricht. How does the slogan work in practice? How many hours a week will a student spend in the university buildings? Observant took a tour of the various faculties.

Invalid exam, “bitter for the students, but it had to be done”

Invalid exam, “bitter for the students, but it had to be done”

MAASTRICHT. The Board of Examiners of the School of Business and Economics had “no other choice” than to declare the Quantitative Methods 2 exam invalid, says chairman Erik de Regt. “We stand for the integrity of exams.” Still, he does understand all too well that “this is very bitter for many students”. The faculty board wants to organise an online town hall meeting to give a proper explanation.

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

MAASTRICHT. The first-year exam of Quantitative Methods 2 was declared invalid this week, because some students had cheated. Students are outraged, disappointed and angry. Not in the least because the School of Business and Economics changed the rules after the exam, as a result of which ‘insignificant’ little intermediate tests have suddenly become decisive factors in passing or failing the course.

Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

No coughing the past few days? No temperature or runny nose? Nor any roommates with such symptoms? Good, says the girl at the entrance to the Koko grounds, to the rear of the railway lines on the Gebroeders Hermansstraat. The visitor subsequently receives a dose of disinfectant spray on his hands and is allowed to continue. Just like the rest of the catering industry, student association bars are open again. How does that work? Observant visited Koko to have a look.

The Ultimate Freiburger Recipe

The Ultimate Freiburger Recipe

Now that UM students are starting to toss their backpacks into the corners of their rooms and pack their suitcases to get away from stress and deadlines, I too am awfully confronted with the fact that my year abroad is slowly but steadily dawning to ...

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

What does the Maastricht Faculty of Law look like in a virtual world? Now that the majority of staff and students works and studies from home, some are looking for a way to create a community. How? By building the Faculty of Law in Minecraft, a popular computer game.

Cheated: Test 1,200 SBE students declared invalid

MAASTRICHT. An exam of 1,200 students of the School of Business and Economics has been declared invalid due to cheating. That is what news website nu.nl has just reported. It would be Quantitative Methods 2, which was taken online on June 12.

#Metoo: can you act on an anonymous complaint?

THE NETHERLANDS. Touching, intimidation, indecent comments… It did not lead to a formal complaint at the University of Amsterdam. Can institutions of higher education take action in such cases? Three lawyers on the complications.

Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Albert Vijghen and Jim Bemelen studied Econometrics together at Maastricht University, after which they both became teachers. Vijghen teaches at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and Bemelen at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In additio...

ISO: Tens of thousands of students behind in their studies due to corona

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of students with a study delay has risen by 54,000, says the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) based on new research. According to ISO, this increase is due to the coronavirus crisis.

UvA lecturer discredited for ‘touching’

THE NETHERLANDS. For years, Master’s students at the University of Amsterdam have complained about the unacceptable behaviour of one lecturer, writes NRC Handelsblad. The University of Amsterdam says the article is very one-sided. The lecturer in question is still employed by the university.

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

She had been looking forward to it all year: spring, the moment when she would only have to write her thesis and would be free to explore the Netherlands. But two weeks before her last exam, the country went into lockdown. Now, master’s student...

Hello, 'above the keyboard' dressing!

Hello, 'above the keyboard' dressing!

I sharpened all my pencils. Cleaned and neatly organised my desk. Requested permission to access all Google docs and Zoom meetings. A tingling in my stomach affirms it: My second semester in Freiburg starts in two days and I am excited! Wait, back...

On an exchange? That will also be possible at another UM faculty

On an exchange? That will also be possible at another UM faculty

MAASTRICHT. Students who do their exchange visit (partly) from home (i.e. online) next year, will still be entitled to the EU exchange grant Erasmus+. Also, non-EU students who, because of the travel restrictions, have to re-apply for a visa, need not pay the 147 euro cost. The UM will take care of that.

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

MAASTRICHT. Novum’s leader is said to have violated the code of conduct during the latest University Council elections. Various student parties have lodged a complaint. There will be a hearing on Thursday june 18th.

"I feel lonely sometimes”

"I feel lonely sometimes”

In March, master’s student of Strategic Marketing Belén Sánchez Ortigosa was faced with a difficult dilemma: should she get on a plane to Madrid to be with her family, or stay in Maastricht during the lockdown? She chose the second option. &ldq...

Court sides with University of Amsterdam on use of surveillance software

THE NETHERLANDS. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) can continue to use surveillance software during online exams. This is the outcome of preliminary proceedings brought before the Amsterdam District Court by two student councils and a UvA student.

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

MAASTRICHT. Online proctoring, or testing with an invigilator who can see into the student’s room. It was introduced in great haste in three Maastricht University faculties. Students were consulted at the very last moment, but not in public council meetings. Privacy objections? Dean Thomas Cleij from the Faculty of Science and Engineering: “Should I have said to five hundred students: Sorry, but because of privacy reasons you will have to add a year onto your study? I don’t think so.”

Rectors: a generation of students could be lost

THE NETHERLANDS. The rectors of Dutch universities write in an opinion piece that they fear for their students’ development if options for lecture hours remain limited. The school leaders call for more room for students.

Analysis: Racism in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. After George Floyd was killed by an American police officer, many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world took to the streets to protest against racism. But what is the current situation in terms of racism in Dutch higher education?

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Some 1,400 people protested yesterday (Sunday) on the Griend against racism and police brutality. Among them also many (international) students.

“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

Around the world, protests have been held against racism and police violence against black people and people of colour the past few days. These were prompted by the death of George Floyd in the USA, who died after having been held down with a policeman’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In Maastricht too, some two hundred people gathered to give support to the Black Lives Matter movement. Observant spoke with a few students who were there.

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

MAASTRICHT. The first prefabricated student units arrived in Randwyck last Tuesday. They still have to be furnished and hooked up to water and electricity. In two months’ time, from August, 252 students can move into this accommodation on the grounds of the former sports hall.

"I’m particularly sad that I didn’t get a chance to see what working in a hospital is like"

"I’m particularly sad that I didn’t get a chance to see what working in a hospital is like"

Sabine Kemper, master’s student of Healthcare Policy, Innovation and Management, was supposed to be doing a research internship at the hospital right now. It would have been the perfect opportunity for her to gain practical experience. Due to t...

Petition: Students must keep their average

MAASTRICHT. A student of the School of Business and Economics wants Maastricht University to introduce a "no detriment policy" due to the corona crisis. He has started a petition and hopes that the average grade that students have achieved so far will not decrease if they score worse for the upcoming exams.

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

MAASTRICHT. Exams at the School of Business and Economics involving large groups of students, will not take place with the use of proctoring. That was the Faculty Board’s conclusion after the so-called stress test. Organising large-scale online exams in which dozens of employees need to be at hand to act as proctors appears to be a bridge too far.

Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Work placement, thesis, study, politics. These are just a few of the things that keep Jonathan Felix, master’s student of Law and Labour, busy at the moment. Even during the pandemic, he has his hands full. “Three days a week, I do a dist...

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

Podcasts are extremely popular and are shooting up all over the place. News, sports, food and unsolved murders: you name it and there is a podcast about it. About almost everything, thought Katinka van Kan (28) from Maastricht, who is an consciousnes...

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Kennedy d’Abreu de Paulo is a master’s student of Biomedical Sciences, specialising in neuromodulation. “Neuromodulation is about making adjustments to the brain or nervous system, for example through deep brain stimulation, where e...

“Much is still uncertain; we must consider various scenarios”

“Much is still uncertain; we must consider various scenarios”

MAASTRICHT. The University Library doors were ajar this week, the first researchers are allowed back in their laboratories, and on the Tongersestraat a trial project is being run to test the social-distancing campus. The UM is preparing itself for the ‘new normal’. “But much is still uncertain. We are preparing ourselves for something that is ever-changing, we must consider various scenarios,” says Nick Bos, vice President of the Executive Board.

Corona crisis: a quarter of non-EU students scrap plans to study in the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Only four in ten prospective students from outside Europe are still determined to come to the Netherlands to study, according to a survey by Nuffic. Due to the corona crisis, 25 percent have abandoned their application, while the rest are still in doubt.

Combatting confinement fatigue: hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday(?)

Combatting confinement fatigue: hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday(?)

Two sisters in times of corona writing about their lives in these strange and difficult times. “The surveillance society got a new dimension, at least for me. Drones fly overhead and alert you in at least 5 languages that you are walking or sitting too close to others.”

Christine Neuhold is Professor of European Democratic Governance at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. Stephanie Neuhold is Head of the Intensive Care Unit, Kaiser Franz Joseph Hospital Vienna.

UM students clean up litter

UM students clean up litter

MAASTRICHT. The Klimaat Actie Netwerk is encouraging students to pick up plastic waste that has been littered. The party calls it the UM-Clean up action. Students are to fill a bag with plastic waste, take a picture of themselves at the spot they cle...

University library reopens with limitations

University library reopens with limitations

MAASTRICHT. The University Library in the city centre has re-opened. The first 75 students found a place at the library on the Grote Looiersstraat 17 last Monday.

“Fortunately, I don’t need to go looking for a job”

“Fortunately, I don’t need to go looking for a job”

She had imagined her last weeks in Maastricht to be very different: enjoying the sidewalk cafes, going out to dinner or just chilling with friends in the garden of her student house. But after four years of studying, Noortje van Nunen (21) is temporarily back living with her parents in Wilnis. “I made some wonderful friends in Maastricht and instead of having a great farewell party, we now hardly see each other. That makes me really fed up.”

Supermarket Sneeze

Supermarket Sneeze

Months ago, I wrote a paean of praise for the Mensa Canteen here in Freiburg. Needless to say, I was shaken to my core when I heard that its doors shut weeks ago due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, and a tear still manages to escape from my eye when ...

41 candidates for ten seats on the University Council

MAASTRICHT. With no fewer than 41 candidates for ten seats on the University Council, students in Maastricht are really spoilt for choice in these university elections (from 25 -28 May). This is quite different at most other universities. At the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, for example, there are just enough candidates to fill the seats and so there will be no elections. Why are people in Maastricht so enthusiastic? Observant visited the candidates.

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

MAASTRICHT. Student party Novum has started a petition against online proctoring of exams at Maastricht University. Three faculties apply this form of digital examination, in which students are supervised by webcam. A considerable breach of privacy, which Novum feels is not allowed. In the petition, the student party refers to this type of examination as “unlawful and unconstitutional”. These are “Orwellian developments”.

Dutch Research Council and the lockdown: ‘Women harder hit than men’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The current crisis has thrown the allocation of research funding by the Dutch Research Council into chaos. But when it comes to shifting deadlines, the action group Athena's Angels fears female scientists are at a disadvantage.

Yes, the doors are opening again

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed yesterday evening that institutes of higher education will open their doors again starting on 15 June for practicals, exams and guidance for vulnerable students.

DKE designs motivational posters

DKE designs motivational posters

MAASTRICHT. The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has come up with an original way to motivate students for the exams, which will start in two weeks. Students can download motivational posters with their favorite teachers. Ass...

Poems and strawberries for the elderly

Poems and strawberries for the elderly

Strawberries are red, the sky is blue, Sadly no visitors, but people are thinking of you! With these types of cheerful poems and other uplifting messages, the students from the ‘Maastricht Chamber of Associations’ (Circumflex, Trago...

Again the cyber attack, now on TV

Again the cyber attack, now on TV

What exactly happened during the cyberhack last December? Next Wednesday, UM will once again disclose what happened in the TV programme De Kennis van Nu (The Knowledge of Now). The research institute for water technology Wetsus from Leeuwarden, which...

Coronavirus: a €535 tuition-fee refund for those graduating late

THE NETHERLANDS. The government is allocating €200 million to support students during the current crisis. These funds will be deployed to benefit students in vocational education and training (MBO), higher professional education (HBO) and university education.

Cabinet: “No students in public transport during peak hours”

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities and universities of applied sciences will most likely be able to open their doors for essential practicals and exams in mid-June. But students should minimise their use of public transport.

Studying by 1 September? Face-to-face as much as possible in Maastricht

Studying by 1 September? Face-to-face as much as possible in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Unless the government throws a spanner in the works, all students will come to Maastricht again after the Summer, as far as the UM is concerned. Education activities will take place partly ‘on campus’ and partly online. Students who cannot come to Maastricht (yet), for example because they are not allowed to leave their country or are sick, will receive a “full-scale online offer”.

Online election campaign will be “a lot tougher”

Online election campaign will be “a lot tougher”

MAASTRICHT. No stands in the university buildings, no flyers to hand out, no chance to speak directly with passing fellow students. It will be a lot more difficult to campaign now that it must be done digitally, expect the student parties participating in the university elections from 25 to 28 May. That is when the new student members will be chosen for the Faculty Councils and University Council. “You are dependent on the people who already follow you on social media, it is difficult to reach the wider audience.”

“I started with my PhD in the bachelor”

“I started with my PhD in the bachelor”

Although Britt Schuurman began her master’s degree in Medicine in March, she has yet to do any clinical rotations. She was supposed to be doing a rotation in the Department of Surgery at the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond right now. “I w...

Solo rowers at Saurus are allowed to get going again

Solo rowers at Saurus are allowed to get going again

MAASTRICHT. Student sports association Saurus is (partially) open. Single-person boats (skiffs) are permitted in the water again. The rowers must adhere to a strict corona protocol. With this, Saurus is the first Maastricht student association to get going again. It is expected that other associations will follow soon.

Election Magazine online

Election Magazine online

The Election Magazine can only be viewed online this year. Normally, the magazine goes along with the paper Observant two weeks before the university elections, this year from May 25-28. Because Observant is not published due to the Co...

"I do things now that I usually do on holidays"

"I do things now that I usually do on holidays"

It has been a strange academic year for Femke de Haan, a third-year student at University College Maastricht. Last September, she went on exchange to Canada. Soon after her return to the Netherlands in January, Maastricht University closed its doors ...

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

MAASTRICHT. The UM Guesthouse is currently half empty. “About 450 students have left early. Some of them even left behind all their belongings”, says Maurice Evers, head of department at Maastricht Housing. As of this week, students at the Guesthouse who decided to stay despite the coronavirus crisis and students who decided to leave early will be given the option of extending their stay for a maximum of twelve months so that they can complete their degree or exchange.

Unclear how many new students will enrol

Unclear how many new students will enrol

MAASTRICHT. How many international students have already enrolled to study at Maastricht University next academic year? Is there cause for concern, or no reason to worry? The Executive Board won’t publish the numbers. “The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic is exceptional, complex, and very uncertain”, says interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen.

Coronavirus: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

Coronavirus: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

MAASTRICHT. Bachelor’s students who have gained almost all credits – at least 80 per cent, or 48 ECTS – of their last year, may - contrary to the norm – embark on a master’s programme at the UM in September, the Executive Board has decided.

“This is quite possible the cleanest student house in Maastricht”

“This is quite possible the cleanest student house in Maastricht”

Olsi Sokolli is a bachelor’s student of European Studies. His original plan was to go into self-quarantine at home with his family in Altamura, in southern Italy. He had already bought his ticket, but his flight was cancelled at the last minute...

Rector Rianne Letschert warns of potential ‘collapse’ of Dutch universities

MAASTRICHT. If the universities can no longer open for the foreseeable future and students stay away, there is a chance that some could collapse. Student cities could also be badly hit, warns Rianne Letschert, Rector Magnificus at Maastricht University.

Studying in September: ‘On campus if possible’

Universities are doing their level best to provide online working groups and lectures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is whether up-coming students want distance education. Is studying during the pandemic worth the bother? It certainly ...

Postponement but no cancellation for international students

THE NETHERLANDS. International students still want to come to Europe, but more than half want to delay it by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the outcome of a large survey by the QS Intelligence Unit.

“I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction as Italy”

“I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction as Italy”

Bernardo Centofanti from Rome is a master’s student of International Business who works as a tutor teaching the course Finance 1.5. Just before the university closed, he moved out of his semi-studio flat and into a student house with five other...

"Also this generation students must be able to take a blow"

"Also this generation students must be able to take a blow"

THE NETHERLANDS/ MAASTRICHT. “We must be able to take a blow, which also applies to this generation of students. If their first reaction to the corona crisis is ‘How will I be compensated?’, then I think that is very sad. ” That is what rector Rianne Letschert said last Sunday evening during a television debate with experts about life after the corona crisis.

Almost 35,000 euro of emergency aid for UM internationals; there are still funds available

Almost 35,000 euro of emergency aid for UM internationals; there are still funds available

MAASTRICHT. The emergency fund that was set up by Universiteitsfonds Limburg/SWOL for students suffering from money problems because of the corona crisis, has already paid out about 35 thousand euro. The same amount is still available for on-going or new applications.

“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

Jeanine Brouwer teaches three courses: a research practical and an academic writing course for psychologists, and a course on Addiction to third-year students of the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences. She sometimes feels like her studen...

‘Give foreign graduates more time to find a job’

THE NETHERLANDS. Corona crisis or not, students from outside Europe must find a job within a year after graduating. Otherwise they will be sent back to their own country, the ministry of Justice and Security confirmed.

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

MAASTRICHT. And then suddenly, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands appears in the Zoom tutorial group meeting. That happened to the students at University College who were taking the Macrosociology block. What was that like? “Great!” “Quite an honour.” “That I get to experience that as a foreign student. I will never forget it.”

Youths protest against online proctoring

THE NETHERLANDS. Having your webcam on while you take an exam? Preferably not, say young politicians and students. They have serious objections against ‘online proctoring’ and demand an alternative.

“I can’t really get to know my students now”

“I can’t really get to know my students now”

Alexander Carlo teaches Financing Emerging Markets, a second-year course in the bachelor’s programme International Business, as well as Corporate Finance in the master’s programme. Things have been going well so far, he says, although it ...

The many shades of deconfinement

The many shades of deconfinement

In the following email exchange two sisters, who work in very different fields, reflect on how gradual deconfinement affects their work and lives. Christine Neuhold works on EU affairs at Maastricht University and lives in Brussels. Stephanie Neuhold is Head Doctor in charge of the ‘Covid 19 intensive care unit’ of a Viennese hospital.

Alternative Inkom: mainly digital

Alternative Inkom: mainly digital

MAASTRICHT. Two weeks ago, Maastricht University’s crisis management team decided that there would not be a normal Inkom this year. The decision was taken in consultation with the Working Group Inkom (WGI). “Initially, we were of course very disappointed,” says chairperson Milou Berdenis van Berlekom. But after a brief period of time to recover, the working group is now slowly looking towards the future, to see what is still possible. Student associations meanwhile fear that the number of members will drop.

“Online education is exhausting; sometimes I need a nap”

“Online education is exhausting; sometimes I need a nap”

Anja Dekanski works as a tutor at University College Maastricht. This block, she’s teaching a first-year course called Research Methods 2, as well as a course called Strategy & Negotiation for second- and third-year students. “Within ...

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