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Entries for September 2020

“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 Program of high-tech company ASML in Veldhoven, North Brabant. She will work as a project coordinato...

When your internet breaks

When your internet breaks

"What are you doing? Studying? Playing games?" With these words, the waitress placed the beer next to my closed computer at the cafe I had been spending my afternoon. Why? Well, let me tell you the tale of broken wifi at a student house in the middle of a COVID-19-proof university. It all started when the construction workers next d...

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.
The do’s and dont’s of ‘COVID-19 education’

The do’s and dont’s of ‘COVID-19 education’

Give every student five tacks and a jar during a tutorial group meeting. Each time someone says something, a tack disappears into his or her jar. After five times, they are out of speaking time. “This gives quiet students the opportunity to also contribute to the discussion. The chatty students have no tacks left after twenty minutes,” ...

We do not need excellent students

We do not need excellent students

In my youth, I obediently followed the rules and repeated what I was taught. I was a pet to authority, and would reject that cage if I was given another chance. Education put me in classrooms, made me ask permission before speaking, and made me compete with my friends to see who could produce the best low-grade bureaucratic output. Deviation was...

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.
"Vegetarians are very interested in cultured meat"

"Vegetarians are very interested in cultured meat"

MAASTRICHT. Cultured meat company Mosa Meat, a spin-off of Maastricht University, has received 55 million euros from private investors and 10 million euros from the Dutch government. Professor Mark Post will use this money to bring the cultured beef hamburger to market. Where it will be introduced first remains to be seen. “It could be in Sin...

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 ...

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 ...
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?
Mid-term Week

Mid-term Week

It was 10pm when I allowed myself to have dinner. I had been studying all day, getting up at 9:30am in the morning (which is way later than when my 8am alarm went off, but when you study until 1:30am the night before, getting up at 8 again is simply too unrealistic for a sleeper like me). While my stomach already started complaining at 7pm, I promi...

‘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.
Smaller waist size in children from Healthy Primary School

Smaller waist size in children from Healthy Primary School

Children in primary school who exercise more and eat more healthily, have significantly less stomach fat than others of the same age in regular primary schools. The UM is presenting this result today at the final symposium on the Healthy Primary School of the Future (Gezonde Basisschool van de Toekomst).
“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 (prono...
Getting to know my grandfathers

Getting to know my grandfathers

In my very first column for Observant, I wrote about the end of history illusion (by psychologist Daniel Gilbert and others) showing that, no matter what age, we think that we have finally become the person we ‘truly’ are, and are no longer going to change. I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of history illusion these days, bec...

Temporary UM registration figures: almost 14 per cent more first-year students

Temporary UM registration figures: almost 14 per cent more first-year students

MAASTRICHT. The number of first-year students at Maastricht University is expected to increase by 14 per cent this academic year. The UM now has a total of more than twenty thousand students. The majority is from abroad, about 44 per cent has Dutch nationality. These are temporary figures, dating from 1 September.
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. Nevertheless, the doctor was charged by the public prosecutor, after the dossier had been presented...

“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 ...
Sabic, it’s your mess that we are cleaning up

Sabic, it’s your mess that we are cleaning up

Arthur Bribosia, who recently won the UM-Student Prize for his support of Students 4 Climate, and Ezekiel Stevens, university council member for Climate Action Network, will join Global Clean Up Day, this Saturday. At the same time they question the role of Sabic, a partner of Maas Clean Up. “One of the main producers of plastic pro...
The division of invisible labour

The division of invisible labour

How are my PhD students doing? How do I explain to my child that I have to work even though I’m at home? How do I stay in touch with my friends and family online? These are just a few answers to the question “what was on your mental load list these past few months”. This question was asked during the FEM roundtable discussion on i...

Summer School continues with online courses this autumn

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht Summer School was attended by more than two hundred participants last year. “A record in our recent history,” says Annemarijn Weber. While everything had to be online because of the Covid-19 pandemic and they could only offer a small selection of their courses. There will be a repeat this autumn; not under the...

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. 
GPs get help to recognise depression

GPs get help to recognise depression

People seeking help for depression or anxiety go see their GP first. But general practitioners often don’t know what to do with this. For example, they don’t recognise depression in three quarters of patients. UM researchers have developed two tools to support them.
No Zumba behind closed doors

No Zumba behind closed doors

When instead of riding your bike to uni or the library every day, your 'sports' mainly consists of walking to the kitchen to get more milk to dip your cookies in (the cookies you already keep in your room, after all, anything else would require too much effort), you just know that the time has come to check out what UM Sports has to offer t...

Sympathy for the Rule Breakers

Sympathy for the Rule Breakers

Northeastern University in Boston recently dismissed 11 first-year students who were watching TV together in a dorm room. These students allegedly violated the university’s social distancing rules, which they were repeatedly informed of and even signed contracts promising their compliance. The students had moved in only a few days prior, but ...

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 since September a member of the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, replied t...

European Public Affairs alumna: “I have been tremendously lucky”

European Public Affairs alumna: “I have been tremendously lucky”

She has time for an interview every day at the end of the afternoon, Ida-Susanna Pöllänen informs us by e-mail. Once she is on the telephone from Finland, the recent graduate from the master’s of European Public Affairs tells us that she has a job.
COVID-19 steward: “Sometimes I collect 25 thousand steps a day”

COVID-19 steward: “Sometimes I collect 25 thousand steps a day”

“Hello everyone, may I have your attention please,” student steward Artur Klatka asks a (COVID-19) filled lecture hall in the new UM building on the Paul Henri Spaaklaan. “I could see from outside that you were standing too close to each other. Could you please maintain the one-and-a-half-metre distance? Thank you very much. If yo...

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.

FHML Faculty development team wins excellence award

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty development team – responsible for the training of lecturers – from the department of Educational Development and Research (O&O) at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences has won the Aspire for Excellence Award. The prize is awarded every year by AMEE, an international association for medical educa...

Growth Fund: is science about to get the money it’s been asking for?

THE NETHERLANDS. Over the next few years, the government will spend €20 billion on education & research, innovation and infrastructure. Is this the major investment that teaching staff and academics have been crying out for?
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, i...
Lockdown Blues

Lockdown Blues

How did you spend your time when we were forced to stay home or at least not have contact with other people? It was a difficult time. Maybe you also had a visit from the covid-19 witches? They certainly did some pot-stirring in my village. My strategy to keep them at bay was to get on my road bike and climb a few South Limburg hills. Often, I had t...

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 Ruijss...
The only one present

The only one present

"I hope I'm not the only one here today." I said it with a grin. Sometimes you only realize the irony of a situation in retrospect. This is one of those times. Last Wednesday morning, I immediately knew how I had to follow the designated route to get to my tutorial room. Though this was not, as one might assume, because I was so ex...

Not possible yet to shower at the sports centre, but training there is safe

Not possible yet to shower at the sports centre, but training there is safe

There’s a reservation system, stickers and signs galore, tape everywhere, a one-way walking system, and sanitiser can be found every few metres. Everything takes a little longer and requires a little more preparation than usual, but you can get a corona-proof workout in at UM Sports. The showers are not yet available. The new house rules a...

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.

Two European grants for Maastricht

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The Netherlands has received 42 European research grants for young scientists this year. Two are for Maastricht researchers Katie Kuschminder en Olga Zvonareva.
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 occ...
Two starting grants for Maastricht University

Two starting grants for Maastricht University

MAASTRICHT / THE NETHERLANDS. Katie Kuschminder and Olga Zvonareva from Maastricht University have both received a starting grant, a European research grant for young scientists. The Netherlands received a total of 42 this year.
“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. 
Tapijn receives artwork and sustainability certificate

Tapijn receives artwork and sustainability certificate

MAASTRICHT. On Monday, the artwork of photographer Robin de Puy was unveiled in the renovated carré building at the Tapijnkazerne. It is a gallery of portraits - including those of Maastricht students - that together should express the diversity that Maastricht University stands for. The photos are printed on the thirty-meter long awning that hangs...
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) had a lot of new first-year students. The Maastricht associations easily exceed those percentages b...

Jaargang 40

Jaargang 40 Due to the corona crisis, Observant was not published on paper after March 12, 2020. Therefore, instead of the pdf of the paper newspaper,  the weekly newsletters that have been sent since that time are published here.  Nieuwsbrief 17-06-2020 Newsletter 17-06-2020 (English version) Nieuwsbrief 10-06-2020 Newslet...

“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, fell out of it and broke his arm. Rector Rianne Letschert gave him a bouquet of flowers, a little statu...

Education after COVID-19: from instructor to mentor

Education after COVID-19: from instructor to mentor

Helping students individually, mainly being there as a mentor. That is the future of the university lecturer according to professor Eric Mazur, education expert and Balkanski professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. In his keynote speech on Monday during the online opening ceremony of the academic year, he shared new insights...
Another black hole collision detected through gravitational waves

Another black hole collision detected through gravitational waves

Another great discovery has been made with the help of gravitational waves. In May 2019, the telescopes in the US (LIGO) and in Europe (Virgo), which UM has been affiliated with since 2017, detected waves resulting from a collision of two black holes.

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.
Nice germs

Nice germs

Germs have been getting bad press lately. I’ve never been one to like them myself. As a habitual germaphobe, I have been able to navigate my way through FASoS buildings without touching handles for years. Yes, I am one of those weirdos who opens doors with elbows or sleeves. I love electronic openings. And oh, the sound of automatic hand clea...

The storm has not yet passed

The storm has not yet passed

MAASTRICHT. The choice of theme ‘After the storm’ was somewhat optimistic, President Martin Paul admitted during the opening ceremony of the academic year at Tapijn barracks, which could be followed this year via a livestream. The COVID-19 pandemic is, after all, still in full swing. But that won’t prevent Maastricht University fr...
Three million euro grant to simulate the brain

Three million euro grant to simulate the brain

UM’s neuroscientists have received three million euros to coordinate an international research project. It’s part of the Human Brain Project, to which the EU awarded one billion euros in 2013. Its goal was and still is to create a computer simulation of the human brain in ten years.  The subproject, in which several European lab...

Welcome (back) to Maastricht!

Welcome (back) to Maastricht!

Surrounded by piles of clothes and half-built furniture, I carefully sit on the blanket I placed on my mattress (I still have to wash the bedsheets) and look out of the window. The street seems suddenly quiet. No more big cars with boedelbakken (trailers) pull up the sidewalk, unloading box after box. No more students with backpacks bigger than the...