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 when they realise their mistake. They turn back and go through Helpoort gate on their way to the park. Fifteen participants can join the city walk, but only six people have shown up this Thursday morning, all international students. Two of them actually already did the walk yesterday. “It’s a good way to get to know people quickly”, they explain.
The two students who’ve been here before are lost as well, but they know that we shouldn’t wait for a guide to appear. This is a walking route without a guide. While this seems like a disadvantage at first, the new first-year students are quite positive about it afterwards. “It’s a lot easier to chat with the other participants this way. You can’t talk over a guide.” Topics the walk covers include computer game Counterstrike, the infamous German Run at the University Library and the question “Which one of you will learn to speak Dutch?”
Students can scan a QR code with their phones to get information at the six checkpoints along the route: the student service centre, the University Library in the city centre, the City Park, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein square, the market square, Vrijthof square and Platielstraat. Almost all of the students have heard of André Rieu before, but none of them knew that he was from Maastricht. “That’s good to know when my friends come over from Italy to visit me at the end of August”, one student laughs.