"I have no Volkswagen"


“My last name sounds like the name of a hill near Vaals? Oh, that’s funny. I’ve lived my whole life in Aachen, but I’ve never heard of Camerig”, says Steffi Kammerich, a second-year student of International Business. She has a difficult name, not common in Germany. “They always mishear it: Kammerlig? Kamerling? Maybe I should get married and just take of my husband’s name.”

Je bent 27 en toch pas tweedejaars. Hoe kan dat? “I can’t speak Dutch, but I can understand it when you speak slowly. After school I did an apprenticeship and became a banker at Sparkasse Aachen. I worked there for a year but I felt like something was missing. I wanted to study, see more of the world than my office at Sparkasse.” Kammerich chose Maastricht because of PBL, the enthusiastic stories of two of her colleagues, and “it makes no difference if I drive to the centre of Aachen and search there for a parking place or go to Maastricht. Both take 25 minutes.”

You know you’re a so-called car-German? She laughs: “I have no Volkswagen, I have an Opel, bought when I was working full time. And yes, I drive every day from Aachen to Maastricht. My life is in Aachen, I have my part-time job there (20 hours), my apartment, my friends, family. Living in Maastricht is expensive; I can’t afford two places. And I don’t have to party every day. Just on the weekend, that’s enough.”

Met a Dutch student lately? Silence. She’s thinking. “It’s not a good sign that I have to think so long. Is there a Dutch student in my tutorial group? Yes, yes, a girl, but she didn’t say much today. Me neither. The topic was too difficult.”

Do you have any Dutch friends? “I wouldn’t call them friends. They are fellow students. It’s not easy to make Dutch friends when 80 to 90 percent of your group is German. A friend of mine is a member of Circumflex – that worked out quite well for her, she has a lot of Dutch friends.” Kammerich had some Dutch students in her project groups in the last year. “They’re really young, especially the guys. They’re boys. They’re 18 or 19. Some of them are a bit shy. I don’t want to say nasty things about them, but maybe they are a little bit lazy. Maybe German guys are too, but then they are better at hiding their laziness. Oh, I hope I don’t have Dutch guys in my tutorial group who read Observant.”

Favourite restaurant? “Deli Belge.” You call that a restaurant? Smile: “No”

You probably don’t have a favourite Dutch television programme? “Yes I have! When I was 12 my friend and I used to watch Growing Pains with Leonardo DiCaprio. It was in English but subtitled in Dutch. We didn’t understand it, we just looked at Leonardo.”


Riki Janssen

Loraine Bodewes Fotografie

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