Students collect money for lonely elderly

Students collect money for lonely elderly

MAASTRICHT. They skipped last year because of COVID-19, but in 2021 Ragweek’s charities week is back. Between 16 and 23 April, students work together with student associations and sports associations to collect money for the “Met je hart” (With your Heart) foundation, which supports lonely elderly people in Maastricht.

Over 46,000 students want their tuition back

THE NETHERLANDS. In light of the ongoing lockdown measures, over 46,000 students have signed a petition demanding either a full tuition refund for the current academic year or a free ride next year. The initiators of the petition will present their proposal to the House of Representatives.

“Students again have to deal with the crap”

“Students again have to deal with the crap”

MAASTRICHT. Are the 252 prefab homes in Randwyck independent living units for which the inhabitant can apply for rent benefits? Or should they be ‘regular’ student rooms according to the permit issued? This has caused a conflict between Studentenhuisvesting Maastricht and the city of Maastricht. The University Council is concerned. Huurteam Zuid-Limburg is looking into the inhabitants’ questions.

Ramadan in a box: video cooking with refugees

Ramadan in a box: video cooking with refugees

Ramadan has started. Normally speaking, Muslims would come together every evening for four weeks to break fast with an elaborate meal – the iftar. As this is not possible at the moment, the Refugee Project Maastricht and Islamic student association Nour have thought of something that will still make it special: Ramadan in a box.

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

MAASTRICHT. Even though there is more and more criticism from – among others – the academic world regarding collaboration with China, Maastricht University strengthens its bonds and welcomes about seventy Chinese doctoral students with grants, 50 per cent more than last year. “You must not stigmatise them; you must work with them on the basis of mutual respect.”

The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

MAASTRICHT. Will the university be able to open its doors like normal in September? Or will the 1.5-meter distance still be a leading factor? The University Council’s education and research committee heard this week that the UM is preparing itself for both scenarios.

Too ill to pursue her master’s degree

Too ill to pursue her master’s degree

Prize winner Imke van der Velden (21, suspended her master’s degree in Health Food Innovation Management at UM) studied the behaviour of fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds. Can they be persuaded to eat a healthier, more plant-based diet through Instagram?

Campuses to open up again, even if there are self-test shortages

THE NETHERLANDS. Even if self-test deliveries to higher education institutions end up falling short this month, students will still be allowed to go to campus again one day a week. This was announced by the Ministry of Education last week.

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

THE NETHERLANDS. Politics is threatening to deal a blow to the internationalisation of higher education and research. Don’t let this happen, warns Freddy Weima, outgoing director of the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education Nuffic.

“People are fed up with online meetings”

“People are fed up with online meetings”

Student organisations bring students together, but how can you do that during a pandemic? How can you create a spirit of community when meeting in real life is not an option? Various student organisations in Maastricht reported similar problems dealing with online events; people are done with online meetings, don’t always show up when they say they will, and are reluctant to look for activities outside their own social circle. They had to come up with creative ideas to substitute real-life activities – with varying degrees of success.

“Everyone said: you won’t manage; you will have turned back before you get to Eindhoven”

“Everyone said: you won’t manage; you will have turned back before you get to Eindhoven”

Lockdown or not, American student Jacob Herbert flew to the Netherlands for a semester at Maastricht University halfway through January. Just like six fellow countrymen, who also ventured to cross the ocean, he is now participating in the tutorial group meetings online, from his room in the Guesthouse. “I thought, I will just go and see. I had hoped that lockdown would be over by the end of January and we could have lessons on campus.”

Buy a paper? Click on a link from your own university

US/AUSTRALIA. Hundreds of universities in the United States and Australia are the victims of hackers, who do not shut down systems, but place links to ‘essay mills’, rogue websites where students can buy papers.

How well can a device monitor patients?

How well can a device monitor patients?

Patients recovering from surgery or who have been admitted to a general hospital ward via the Accident & Emergency department may deteriorate suddenly. To monitor these patients, nurses make rounds to check their heart rate, breathing rate and blood oxygen levels. Prize winner Tom Den Ridder (25, currently working as an Intensive Care Unit doctor at MUMC+) studied whether it’s more effective to monitor patients using special equipment.

“The car driver drove alongside us and offered 100 euro for sex”

“The car driver drove alongside us and offered 100 euro for sex”

LONGREAD. Sexual harassment and violence against women: since the murder of the British Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and later found dead in London on 3 March, large-scale protests have been taking place. Eyes undressing you, psssstt sounds, shouting and abuse like “nice pussy!” to “slut”. Students from Maastricht University know a thing or two about this and are taking action in a number of ways. The Diversity Office is also working on a plan of action.

Open letter: UM speed up your sustainability strategy

Open letter: UM speed up your sustainability strategy

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University must develop concrete plans to achieve its sustainability goals. So say the more than a thousand signatories of an open letter, which was handed over to the Executive Board on Tuesday afternoon. Vice-chairman Nick Bos received the letter on the steps of the administrative building on the Minderbroedersberg. When asked, he said that the Executive Board will respond to the letter “in time”.

Chinese scientists pursue military expertise at Delft

THE NETHERLANDS. Are PhD students and guest researchers from Chinese military universities coming to TU Delft to gain expertise that will strengthen China’s military might? It’s a fear that appears to be well-founded, as the university’s magazine Delta reveals in a series of investigative reports published today.

What does ASMR do to the brain?

What does ASMR do to the brain?

A whispering voice, gentle knocking on wood, the rustling of the pages of a book. In some people, these kinds of sounds create a relaxing, tingling feeling in the scalp, known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). Why? We don’t know. In fact, we know very little about ASMR in general. Prize winner Ana Reinartz Groba (now a student in the Cognitive Neuroscience research master’s programme) decided to go explore uncharted territory. For her bachelor’s thesis, she studied the brain during ASMR using EEG.

Ten questions about coronavirus tests and higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Self-test, rapid test, proof of testing, vaccination passport... we hear so many terms these days. So what’s what and what role will they play in opening the doors to higher education again?

Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

MAASTRICHT. Education in period five remains online for all faculties, even if measures are relaxed in the meantime, said Rector Rianne Letschert to the University Council last Wednesday.

Can we demand test and vaccination passports for campus access?

THE NETHERLANDS. The return of face-to-face teaching seems to be getting closer all the time, but when the day comes will universities and universities of applied sciences be refusing to let in students who have not been tested or vaccinated? Many are still in doubt.

Kaleido’s ‘living room’ to settle in Tapijn in a year’s time

Kaleido’s ‘living room’ to settle in Tapijn in a year’s time

MAASTRICHT. Kaleido, which started off as an international student club in the Timmerfabriek and was subsequently housed all over the place, is expected to open its doors in Building Z at Tapijn in September 2022. No more temporary accommodation, but “finally a fixed place to meet,” says project leader Neal Cowan.

Two golds for SBE in international student competitions

Two golds for SBE in international student competitions

MAASTRICHT. How can Canada improve provisioning in health care? Also, what can Danish supermarket chain Coop do to reach youths and in doing so increase sales by five per cent? Two questions that the students from the School of Business and Economics know how to answer. Students from this faculty won two international case competitions within the space of a week: competitions in which student teams try to solve a problem.

No relaxation of measures, not at the UM either

MAASTRICHT. There is no official announcement yet, but the anticipated relaxation of the measures in higher education will not take place. The number of infections is too high. The doors of Maastricht University will therefore not be opened (further) next week. A great pity, rector Rianne Letschert feels, and “terrible” for the students. “But you don’t want to end up in a full-scale third wave.”

Not every Master’s graduate to get a €535 rebate

THE NETHERLANDS. Students earning their Master’s degree this academic year are entitled to a €535 refund on their tuition fees. According to the Ministry of Education website, that is. But the more detailed information available from the Education Executive Agency (DUO) seems to tell a different story.

Breaking news: first-year tuition fees to be lowered to €542

THE NETHERLANDS. First-year students will pay only €542 in tuition fees for the next academic year: a quarter of the standard rate. This decision by the Ministry of Education represents almost 100 million euros.

Social contact, fresh air and a history lesson

Social contact, fresh air and a history lesson

MAASTRICHT. The Seed Barn or The Uitvreter (Loosely translated: The Freeloader)? What name is better name for the building of a student association? The second, was decided during the general members meeting of Circumflex in 1992. The association then moved into a building at Herbenusstraat 9 and had to come up with a name, say two senior Circumflex students from a camping chair in front of the building. First years learned this and more last Monday during the building walk, a walk along the old establishments of the association.

‘ABP, don’t invest our pension savings in oil’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. ABP, pension fund for the educational sector, has to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry once and for all: that’s the demand coming from researchers, students and staff all across the country. We can’t do that overnight, ABP says.

On the legal punishment for infanticide

On the legal punishment for infanticide

Prize winner Sarah Samuel (23, now a master’s student of  Law and Labour at UM) took a deep dive into history for her bachelor’s thesis. She combed through hundreds of newspaper articles, legal statistics, parliamentary papers, and issues of the Dutch weekly legal journal Het Weekblad van het Regt to find out why the Dutch public began to think differently about the punishment for infanticide halfway through the nineteenth century.

Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt. Those are the political parties (in that sequence) that will get the most votes from employees and students from various universities throughout the country this week. This is the outcome of a survey held by the university media in Utrecht (only among students), Rotterdam, Twente, Groningen and Delft.

520 study places available during XXL weeks

MAASTRICHT. There are too few study places at Maastricht University. The student delegation of the university council wrote this in a letter to the executive board this week. Even before the letter was discussed in the council, the number of study places had already been expanded.

“Getting up, getting dressed and going to the library. Very simple, but I miss it”

“Getting up, getting dressed and going to the library. Very simple, but I miss it”

They are reasonably satisfied about the online education, but if they were allowed to come to the university tomorrow, they would be straight there. In her third session with students from various faculties, rector Rianne Letschert spoke to second-year psychology students last Monday. “You have almost no spontaneous interaction anymore. Even having coffee with a friend has to be pre-arranged.”

Higher education faces at least three more weeks of lockdown

THE NETHERLANDS. Higher education will continue under the current restrictions until 30 March, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge said last night in their press conference. But after that the door might be opened a crack.

Research reveals a billion euro deficit in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch higher education system needs hundreds of millions of euros in extra funding annually, says a report that the government shared last week. The distribution of funds can also be improved.

Minister says rapid testing will allow spring campus openings

THE NETHERLANDS. Minister Van Engelshoven expects that some students will be able to safely return to campus thanks to rapid testing for coronavirus. According to the daily Trouw, the government has huge numbers of such tests ready to go.

New official statistics: no rise in mental health issues among young people in 2020

THE NETHERLANDS. Students are suffering psychologically from the coronavirus crisis – that’s the conclusion of one study after another. But according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the number of young people with psychological problems did not rise significantly (again) in 2020.

“I had ten registrations for the training within five minutes”

“I had ten registrations for the training within five minutes”

MAASTRICHT. Since Wednesday 3 March, student sports associations are allowed to organise outdoor sports activities in groups again. The triathletes are back on the athletics track at Jekerdal, the korfball players are going to play on the korfball field in Amby next week, and the Fyrfad volleyball players have also found an outdoor location.

“It was terrifying, having all those eyes on us”

“It was terrifying, having all those eyes on us”

How do you find a suitable topic for research? What is an efficient way to read an academic article? And how can you keep secondary-school pupils motivated during this process? With these and other questions, a teacher at secondary school Porta Mosana College in Maastricht approached University College Maastricht (UCM). Third-year students Alanna Staunton and Tessa Haugh took up the challenge.

UM wants this year too: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University wants to uphold the flexible transition between the bachelor’s and master’s study for next year too. Rector Rianne Letschert said to the University Council last week that they were waiting for the minister to approve. That approval is expected by mid-March.

Saurians back on the water with four at a time

Saurians back on the water with four at a time

MAASTRICHT. “So much fun, our first training again. It is strange to be in the boat with so many people ”, it sounds on Wednesday afternoon at the jetty at Saurus. The four rowers and the steer in the boat are looking forward to it. As of today, young people under the age of 27 practice sports together again.

INKOM 2021 theme: These are the times

INKOM 2021 theme: These are the times

MAASTRICHT. The theme for INKOM 2021 is ‘These are the times’, announced the Working Group INKOM (WGI) last Friday in a YouTube video. It is still not clear what the Inkom will look like this year. “At the moment, we are working with four scenarios,” says WGI chairperson and medical student Iris Vloet.

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

MAASTRICHT. Student members of the law faculty council are anxious about the transitional regulations for the group who are following the ‘old’ Dutch Law programme, but who still have to resit exams – the programme has changed considerably since September. There are reports of study pressure, uncertainty and fear of not making it. Vice dean Sjoerd Claessens tries to convince them that “nobody will be left behind”.

UPDATE: Will I be getting coronavirus support, too?

THE NETHERLANDS. The outgoing cabinet has earmarked an extra 8.5 billion euros to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis in the educational sector. Students will be compensated, too, but some will get more than others. You can check to find out.

Dutch Research Council (NWO) refuses to pay ransom to hackers

THE NETHERLANDS. The cyber attack on the Dutch Research Council’s network appears to have been perpetrated by DoppelPaymer, an internationally-operating ransomware group. The Dutch Research Council has refused to pay a ransom, even after some of their documents had been shared online.

Nuffic: lonely international students yearn for on-campus lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. International students are also struggling in these times of coronavirus crisis. Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, announced this in a new report. Many of these students feel lonely, anxious or even depressed. But an occasional physical class makes up for this to an extent.

No relaxation of the restrictions just yet, but higher education is allowed to ‘prepare’

THE NETHERLANDS. As was feared, teaching at universities and universities of applied sciences will have to continue largely online for the time being. However, evening practical classes are permitted again, and the higher education sector has been given the green light by the government to ‘prepare’ itself to reopen.

Tricks used by Hackers are becoming increasingly cunning

Tricks used by Hackers are becoming increasingly cunning

Privacy and cybersecurity training for Maastricht University employees; courses for all students as part of the curriculum. Preferably today rather than tomorrow, Bart van den Heuvel, responsible for data security policies, apparently wants to say in an online round-table discussion by the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab.

Few students in Guesthouse isolation and quarantine wing

MAASTRICHT. Up until now, hardly any use has been made of the special isolation and quarantine rooms at the Guesthouse on the Brouwersweg. There were only two students living there who have tested positive. Approximately fifteen students have voluntarily spent ten days in quarantine, says Roel van der Nat, team leader at the Guesthouse. 

“Just being able to see each other physically makes a world of difference”

“Just being able to see each other physically makes a world of difference”

MAASTRICHT. Social contact, some more social contact and preferably a little social contact. There is a great need for this among Maastricht students. Any other conclusion was impossible last carnival Friday. Rector Rianne Letschert had a discussion with the chairpersons of a number of study and student associations as well as a few University Council members, teachers and an UM psychologist via Zoom about student well-being.

All Saurus boats back on the water on 3 March

All Saurus boats back on the water on 3 March

MAASTRICHT. All boats of the student rowing association Saurus can get back on the water on March 3rd. Finally, sighs chairman Karel van Melle, “it seems an eternity ago that we could row unimpeded”.

UvA and HvA hackers have not yet demanded ransom money

THE NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have been victim to a cyber attack since last week, but thanks to security measures already in place, the damage appears to be limited. This attack is not related to the recent hack of the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

KNAW stands up for academic freedom

THE NETHERLANDS. The fierce battle for research funds is having an impact on academic freedom, argues Dutch science association KNAW. Researchers are increasingly being constrained by a spectrum of requirements and conditions.

Starting today: sixty extra study places at Tapijn

Starting today: sixty extra study places at Tapijn

MAASTRICHT. From today, Monday 22 February, vulnerable students can also study in Loods V at Tapijn. There is space for a maximum of sixty students. Study places may also become available at other locations of the university library soon.

Coronavirus compensation: 50 percent tuition fee reduction and relief for junior researchers

THE NETHERLANDS. Students enrolled in study programmes in the past year will receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition fees for the upcoming academic year as compensation for coronavirus disruptions. The contracts of academic researchers will also be extended, and higher education will receive compensation for skyrocketing student numbers. Student who pay the high tuition fee (instellingscollegegeld) get a reduction of 1000 euros.

Education for at least three faculties will remain online until summer

Education for at least three faculties will remain online until summer

MAASTRICHT. At the moment, practically all education is online, and that will remain the case for the rest of the academic year for three of the six faculties: Law, FASoS and FHML. The other three - if COVID-19 regulations allow – will switch to hybrid education in period five.

Selection for Medicine completely online

MAASTRICHT. Anyone who wants to start the study programme of Medicine in Maastricht in September 2021, will have to do the selection procedure completely online, writes Mirjam Oude Egbrink, scientific director of the Education Institute, in a letter to the faculty council of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences.

Unanimous support for ‘tuition-free’ extra year for students with delays: what now?

THE NETHERLANDS. Many students are falling behind in their studies due to the coronavirus crisis. The House of Representatives has just adopted a motion allowing them to enrol in an extra year of university free of charge. But it is too early to celebrate.

“Having my own studio apartment is OK, but I prefer being around other people”

“Having my own studio apartment is OK, but I prefer being around other people”

Giovanni Bava can tell that he has grown a lot in the six months that he has been here. His English has improved a lot and he is more disciplined than he thought he was. But not everything is going smoothly: he is having difficulty concentrating. He has already contacted the student psychologists at Maastricht University about it.

This is how your basic grant died

This is how your basic grant died

These days it is nothing out of the ordinary for students to accumulate large debts. For almost 30 years preceding 2015, this was different. In 2015, the Dutch government put an end to the largely disliked basic grant. A story about hard cutbacks and wondrous promises. “The situation completely exploded that evening.”

Minister Van Engelshoven wants to accommodate delayed students

THE NETHERLANDS. Students who are delayed due to the corona crisis do not have to pay the bill themselves, now also says outgoing minister Van Engelshoven. But not all of them need a full extension year as far as she is concerned.

Struggle for academic freedom flares up in Turkey

Struggle for academic freedom flares up in Turkey

TURKEY. On Monday night, 159 students were taken into custody in Istanbul in protests against the new rector of Bogazici University. The students see his appointment as President Erdogan's latest attempt to restrict academic freedom in Turkey.

Professors and students send an open letter to the Executive Board about sustainability

Professors and students send an open letter to the Executive Board about sustainability

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University must develop a concrete strategy, if it wants to be a sustainable university in 2030. This is stated in an open letter to the Executive Board, written by students from the KAN Party, lecturer John Harbord and professors Roberta Haar and Pim Martens. They invite the rest of the UM community to also sign the letter. The letter will be presented to the Executive Board on 27 March during Earth Hour.

Senators put law against Anglicisation in the deep freeze

THE NETHERLANDS. Proposed legislation against the Anglicisation of higher education (Language and Accessibility) has encountered a delay. The Dutch Senate only wants to discuss it when a new government has been installed.

UM Sports is also taking up the 100 kilometre-challenge

UM Sports is also taking up the 100 kilometre-challenge

MAASTRICHT. Walking or jogging 100 kilometres in the month of February. That is the challenge that UM Sports is putting to the university community. Participants can register their kilometres via the Strava app.

"Staying inside all the time makes me feel trapped"

"Staying inside all the time makes me feel trapped"

Meghan Callender, first-year student of Global Studies, is trying to make the best of the current situation. She goes outside as much as possible and regularly meets up with a friend who lives next door. Eating dinner together ­– even just virtually, over FaceTime with her boyfriend in Groningen ­­– is very important to her.

Lockdown until March 2, no decision on period 5 yet

THE NETHERLANDS / MAASTRICHT. The lockdown in the Netherlands will be extended until at least 2 March. Prime Minister Rutte announced this last night. Primary schools and childcare will open again from 8 February and products ordered from shops can b...

Discussion at FPN about pass/fail assessment

MAASTRICHT. Not marking student exams with a grade, but just giving a pass or a fail: what are the advantages and disadvantages? This was discussed in the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience’s latest faculty council meeting.

UM’s 45th anniversary: empathic speech by rector in an empty St. Jan

UM’s 45th anniversary: empathic speech by rector in an empty St. Jan

MAASTRICHT. ​A great deal of understanding for the difficult circumstances in which staff and students have found themselves for some time now. At the same time, a lot of praise for what has been achieved this past year, despite – or maybe because – of COVID-19. Rector Rianne Letschert held an empathic speech in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Maastricht University.

Brexit: MEPs want Erasmus grants for Scotland and Wales after all

EUROPE/THE NETHERLANDS. Could it be possible to allow students from Scotland and Wales to still take part in the Erasmus+ exchange programme – despite Brexit? That’s the question 145 Members of the European Parliament put to the European Commission in a recent letter.

Education programme for period five: online or hybrid, decision next week

Education programme for period five: online or hybrid, decision next week

MAASTRICHT. Online education or hybrid after all? A decision will be taken very shortly about what period five – April to June –will look like. Rector Rianne Letschert made this promise to the University Council last Wednesday.

Equal opportunity? Honours programmes on track, says Minister

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Students whose parents had a lower level of education have less chance of being selected for honours programmes in higher education. Minister van Engelshoven finds this unfortunate, but there is little she can do about it.

"Sometimes, people primarily want to feel less lonely"

"Sometimes, people primarily want to feel less lonely"

MAASTRICHT. Home sharing, those two words say it all: sharing a home. Students moving in with a landlady or landlord and in return for giving help they pay less rent. They cook, do the gardening, or walk the dog. Or they teach a new language. Connecting is the magic word.

LSVb wants online exam proctoring to end

THE NETHERLANDS. National student organisation LSVb reports that many universities and universities of applied sciences are still using online proctoring during exams, even though this gives rise to all sorts of problems.

Many questions about students’ plan for a spiritual space at FASoS

Many questions about students’ plan for a spiritual space at FASoS

MAASTRICHT. The student fraction of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wants a ‘spiritual space’ in the FASoS building. This would enable staff and students to pray, meditate or hold discussions. The proposal raised many questions during the latest faculty council meeting.

UPDATE 2: Fear of riots in Maastricht

UPDATE 2: Fear of riots in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. After riots broke out in several Dutch cities in recent days, there is now fear that rioters will be moving to the city center of Maastricht tonight - January 26. Messages on social media give cause for this. Maastricht University is taking precautions.

Curfew is “heavy blow” for students

Curfew is “heavy blow” for students

A curfew has been introduced, starting this weekend. Between nine o’ clock in the evening and half past four in the morning nobody – with a few exceptions – is allowed outside. This won’t make much difference to club life, say the chairpersons of the Maastricht student associations. For student life in general, they feel that this is a completely different matter.

“It felt like they’d rolled out the red carpet for me at MECC Maastricht”

“It felt like they’d rolled out the red carpet for me at MECC Maastricht”

He hasn’t been to any illegal parties, but he has been attending Business Days. No, first-year student of Econometrics Cedric Pots (18) from Maastricht is not looking for a job yet, but he enjoys taking a look behind the scenes at companies. He has already met quite a lot of students, but he hasn’t made any friends yet. 

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.

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