(Original post by Duncan8)
First of all, let me introduce myself! I'm a 19 year old Belgian student, living in the French part of Belgium. I always wanted to study abroad and in English specially.
During my last year of high school I quickly searched for unis in the Netherlands and came across Maastricht, 50km away from my hometown. I visited the city and instantly fell in love with it. I soon decided to apply to the faculty of law, to study European law (and after International laws). Check the faculty tour here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGGiz1lj2rk
Maastricht university also offers programs in European studies, Science, Engineering, European Public Health, International Business, Econometrics (more Finance), and Economics. The university has a Triple-crown accreditation (only a few in the world received that award including the London Business School, Warwick, ...).
So a few things I learnt about Maastricht University and Maastricht in general
- The way of learning is a bit different: you sit in small classes and it's PBL (Problem Based Learning). I was a bit intrigued about this approach, but it turned out to improve considerably my speaking skills and I ended up studying more regularly. It works the way like that: You always have to prepare 4 to 6 tasks before the class starts and the discussion leader asks other students about them. The discussion leader is appointed by the tutor at the end of each class to prepare the next tutorial.
- Tutors are approachable. If you have a question, just shoot them an email and they sometimes will even reply you on Sunday's!
- You can do plenty of things there, ranging from sports to student associations. I have some friends who are doing some rowing on the Maas, also some are doing Thai Boxing, Kick Boxing, or other sports. It usually costs around 80 to 120€ a year. Gym is the same price. Regarding student associations, I enrolled in UNSA, it's like the Model United Nations. You prepare the big conference in Maastricht and go to Sweden, Germany, and even Israel to speak at those conferences. You also drink on a weekly basis in a relaxed environment!
- Living in Maastricht is just great. It's definitely a student city with tons of bars, restaurants everywhere and deals for students (you often get 10 to 25% off at various locations). The city atmosphere is lovely, and chill. Going out is always a great experience, even if beers are a bit expensive in pubs in the centre, you have plenty of student bars with 1€ a beer.
- I'm still amazed by the architecture. The faculties are all located in the centre but separated from each other. The Faculty of law is built in an old church but is all brand new in the inside. It's the case for all university buildings, it's hard to describe how it looks like, but stunning is a good start!
- Get a bike. There are no cars driving in the centre. No cars mean also better air! It's really peaceful to bike around the city and its cobbled streets.
- It's not cheap, but not expensive either. 1713€ are the annual tuition fees for European citizens.
- Finding a job in Maastricht? Easy bizy. I sent roughly 15 emails and got 4 job offers - at a cocktail bar, in a hostel, in a call-centre, and at Apple. I don't even speak Dutch!
- Renting a flat is not expensive either. You can find flats around the university faculties starting at 250-300€. Flats in the city centre usually are around 350-400€ for something really really decent. (I live 3 minutes by bike from the faculty in a 400€ per month room, 15sqm, with 2 other students and we have a 143sqm2 flat in total with 2 bathrooms).
Few questions: Are the courses hard? Is it interesting there? How are the girls there?
Be prepared, you'll have to study at least a bit to pass the courses.
Last year we were around 400 students starting the European Law Bachelor and now we're a little over a 100 in the second year. I'm not a genius I can tell you and I'm now into my second year. But I had to study quite a lot for some courses, and on a regular basis (exams every two months). I also had to spend entire nights information for essays. Deadline are sometimes quite tight and you end up with no sleeping on certain days. I'd say the hardest thing when you start university is to get to know what they expect from you. You have to be serious, hard-working, and a little intelligent is always a plus!
Oh and yes, English is not my mother tongue as you can see, so that added a bit more difficulty to the whole thing.
About girls, you'll feel like being in a model show when sitting in the library (which can be slightly distracting). Dutch girls are just fantastic, and I'm not even counting International student girls. I have recently met some Finnish and Swedish girls. So yes, it's good there!