On the menu: pierogi and golabki


Pierogi and golabki. If you are from Poland, you know immediately what we are talking about; for others it could probably mean anything. The menu in Grand Café Monastero on the Kommel included these two typically Polish dishes last Friday. All Polish students at Maastricht University were invited for dinner. About fifty of them came. The organisers, the Poland target country team, also joined in.

As far as target countries are concerned, the UM has been focussing more closely lately on student recruitment and co-operation in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, Poland and China. Maarten Schadd, Dutch PhD student at the Department of Knowledge Engineering, is a member of the Polish country team. “Pierogi is a pastry dish, a kind of ravioli, but then bigger. They are filled with cheese or meat. Really delicious, with a special taste, cannot be compared with Italian ravioli. Golabki are cabbage rolls filled with meat.” Schadd did not stand over a hot stove himself – “we ordered everything”.

This dinner completed the so-called “three-stage plan”, meant to welcome Polish students, and in particular the newcomers. The first stage consisted of an information meeting; the second was a party in ‘De Twee Heeren’ pub. Schadd informs us that the UM has accepted a record number of new Polish students this year. He does not have exact figures, but his guess is approximately thirty bachelor’s and twenty master’s students. “That means there must be about a hundred Polish students wandering around this university.”

One of them is Wojtek Jakubowski, a second-year student of Arts and Culture. He can remember his biggest problem as newcomer very well: finding an affordable room. “The price-quality ratio” is not so great, in his view. He is full of praise about this evening. “The Polish community here is very small. So you have to be lucky to meet someone. That is why it is so nice that these meetings are organised.” Is Wojtek Jakubowski planning to return to his own country after completing his study? “I love travelling; I want to see a lot of other places in the world.” Whether he will return for a job, therefore remains a question.

Marta Danel was born in Poland and has lived in the Netherlands since she was twelve, and studies at the European Law School. She does not know exactly why Polish students choose Maastricht, “but maybe they want to see and experience what it is like to study at a university in a Western European country. See what it is like to live here in a city.” She personally just loves the atmosphere in Maastricht; the small scale, “it gives me a family feeling”.

Another dinner soon? Schadd: “A Polish student club has been set up. They will organise something every a month.”



Wendy Degens

On the menu: pierogi and golabki
Maarten Schadd

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