“This has been the best time of my life”, says Sophia Meyer-Landrut, a first-year Arts and Culture student who was born and raised in Frankfurt. “I love being here. I feel at home in Maastricht. When I was at home for Christmas – I love it there too, we have a big family – I was looking forward to coming back.” The reasons? “I’ve made really nice friends, I think the town is beautiful and the people are friendly. Take for example the little bakery in my street; last week they saw me struggling with my things and asked if I needed a bag. The people in Maastricht are nicer and more open than people in Frankfurt. And of course, I love it here because it’s the first time I’ve been on my own.”
“The Germans are like a wave washing over Maastricht. I get the impression that not everybody likes it.”
Are you a typical German student?
“I don’t have a car, it’s really not necessary. I’ve never owned one. This is the Netherlands –here we have a bike!”
Who is the dean of your faculty?
“Did he introduce himself during the introduction? No, I don’t think so; it must have been someone else. Oh, is his name Rein de Wilde? I don’t know him.”
Are you well integrated?
“As a student or as a German?”
Is there a big difference between the two?
“In a foreign country I feel more German than at home. But I think I’m well integrated as a student and as a German. I did a Dutch course and now I can understand the Dutch language quite well. I’m scared to speak another language. Except English, that’s almost the same as German. I lived in Canada for a year.”
Met a Dutch student lately?
Big smile: “Yes, we have a group of friends, and two of them are Dutch girls. We often cook together; sometimes we try to speak Dutch. Yesterday evening my best friend Eva and I had a discussion with a friend from Pakistan about the foreigners in Germany. A lot of them don’t try to fit into German society. Our Pakistani friend, who has lived in the Netherlands much longer than us, spoke in Dutch, Eva and I in German.”
Is there anything else you want to share with us?
“I think a lot of German students don’t really mix. They stick to their own German group and go home every weekend. That’s a pity. Our world is getting smaller and smaller. We are one world, so we’d better get to know each other.”