Working on a Danish farm, skydiving and emigrating to Spain

Working on a Danish farm, skydiving and emigrating to Spain

Summer plans for UM students: what are they going to do now almost everything is allowed again?

15-06-2022 · Background

For the past two years, the options in the summer holidays have been minimal. Now that the corona measures have been released in most countries, the summer vacation can be celebrated as usual. What are students of Maastricht University going to do this summer?

Billy Can was actually planning to visit his family and friends in Hongkong this summer, but because of local Covid measures, he has decided not to do so. The first-year student of the Maastricht Science Program is not exactly thrilled about spending a week in a ‘quarantine hotel’ immediately after arrival. “Hopefully, the measures will have been lifted by Christmas, so that I can go there in a normal way. I miss the food and the surroundings.”
So, Can will spend his summer months in Europe, where “the good life has returned”. It gives him the opportunity to do something he has been planning to do for years, but which Covid prevented until now: travelling on the basis of the Workaway platform, whereby you do voluntary work in exchange for accommodation and food. “It is a cheap way of travelling while at the same time you meet a lot of people. To me that seems like a great experience.” First, he is going to work on an organic farm in the north of Denmark for a month or so; after that, he will work for a number of weeks at “an adventurous travel agency in Spain. It has only recently been set up by a number of guys who organise meditation and outdoor activities.” Exactly what his task will be, he doesn’t know yet, but one thing Can does know: “I’m going to enjoy nature and the people.”

Renovating a house in Spain

Merel Kuiperi and Quinten van Walsem are leaving for Spain this summer, where they will stay for at least a year. Her mother and stepfather bought a house near Granada and the couple are going to help with the move, renovations and rebuilding. She is almost finished with the master’s of Fiscal Law and he with the bachelor’s. “We see it as a gap year. What we will do after that, we’ll see then,” they say. “The house has to become self-supporting,” says Kuiperi. There is a huge plot of land with the house, so we want to create a garden with vegetables and fruit. They also want to build a few places for tourists to sleep. “A kind of glamping.”
Their Spanish is not yet what it should be, but they are studying hard with the Duolingo language app. “I can understand it fairly well,” says Van Walsem. “I listen to a lot of Spanish music.” Kuiperi: “I may start working in catering, you pick it up quickly that way. Because it is the idea that we mix with the Spanish people, otherwise it is just a year living with our Dutch family, only in a different place.”

The Flemish Louic de Geyter, first-year student of Economics and Business Economics, has a resit on 7 July. He is leaving for Marrakech the next day. Is that not too hot, right in the middle of the summer? “I love the heat; I’ve had it with the weather here.” Other than that, he is going skydiving for three or four days, he tells us as if it is the most normal thing in the world. He has a diploma and has done about sixty jumps. “I’m an adrenaline junky.” This summer, he will be taking his camera up in the air him. “A friend of mine is also qualified and he is a professional wakeboarder [on a kind of surfboard with a rope attached to a boat, ed.]. I am going to take photographs and make videos of him in the air in his sponsored clothing.”
So, this year he is going for the heat, but normally speaking he can be found in the snow. Even in the past two COVID-19 years. “I often had to change my plans, but I was always able to go.” De Geyter skied at a high level. He can still be found on his skis, with friends, family and as a teacher, but no longer professionally, due to his knees. “I am only 19, but it’s over and out. Next year, I am going skiing with my ‘onkel’ (uncle) in Japan, apparently that is really cool.”

Jumping in the air

Lieke Wijgerse, master’s student of Forensics, Criminology and Law, only has two more weeks left in Maastricht. She is going to start her work placement at the Nederlands Instituut voor Forensische Psychiatrie en Psychologie, (Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology) on 20 June. “I will be doing research there. I can use the data that I collect for my thesis. I also feel it is important to gain some practical experience before I start looking for a job.” So, she’ll be working throughout the summer, although she is going to visit the Zwarte Cross and Solar festivals. “I will also be going away for a weekend with some girlfriends to the Ardennes.” That is not the same as the last two years, when the club of friends could be found on Mallorca and Ibiza. In Mallorca, they had to be seated when out for a drink in 2020 and the year after on Ibiza, facemasks were compulsory everywhere, even on the streets. “Not quite the parties we wanted, but great holidays anyway.”

Wiktor Siewierski is on his way to his last exam of the bachelor’s of European Law School this Thursday afternoon. In two days’ time, he is leaving for Poland to see his family and girlfriend. He hasn’t been there for a few months now and he has missed them. “Everyone in Poland is very family-orientated. His grandparents, for example, are very involved in his upbringing.” He will spend a large part of the summer holidays at festivals, including the Open’er Festival in Gdynia (Poland), which he has visited often. “I always used to go there with my family. My father worked in the music industry. There will be a variety of good artists, this year too. Martin Garrix for example.”
Other than that, Siewierski is going to Tunisia. “I am going to visit a friend who is from there. I met him here. He is going to show me his country. It is fun to learn about a country and culture from the inside. During Ramadan, I joined in with him for a couple of days. That was tough, but the food after sunset is delicious.”

The Turkish Melina Barbut and the Flemish Femke Boelen are busy completing their first year of the bachelor’s of Biomedical Sciences. If they have no resits, they will be finished at the end of the month, they tell us while sitting in the beaming sunshine drinking an ice coffee at the sidewalk cafe in front of UNS 40. The approaching holiday will mainly be about relaxing and spending time with family and friends. Barbut will travel to Turkey, where she will holiday in two different places – once with family and once with friends – and the rest of the time she will stay with her parents. “I am looking forward to that: not having to cook or clean for myself. I do miss that comfort.”
Boelen will also go on two holidays. Five days with her boyfriend in Portugal, two weeks with her parents in Mexico. “First, it’s Mexico City, after that a road trip through the country. Adventurous, yes.” It is the first time in three years that she is going abroad for a holiday. “I really missed that. Also because you then have intensive contact with each other. If you stay at home, it is different.”


Yuri Meesen, Dennis Vaendel

Author: Redactie

Illustrations: Simone Golob

Tags: summer,holiday,students,student life,covid-19,instagram

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