1 School of Business and Economics Exchange Report Maastricht University, the Netherlands Fall 2017 Karson Luk Year 4 BBA (ISOM)
2 Part 1 Monthly Activity Log September Weed First things first, weed is available anywhere anytime in the Netherlands. On the first night in my accommodation which is the Maastricht Guesthouse, other exchange students had already invited me to smoke a joint, a rolled marijuana cigarette, in an orientation party. This might be the best chance for you to experience the consumption of soft drugs illegally but at the same time, you have to bear you own risk of any health, safety or another issue. What I will suggest you is to do some research on it before your first time of trying it if you really want to. I have saw a lot of my friends smoked weed or tried the cannabis cake during that time but none of them was actually high nor addicted but most of them felt very tried after having marijuana, especially after having the cannabis cake. Therefore, please be very careful if you are going to try it. One thing you need to know about the Netherlands and Maastricht is the difference between a café and a coffeeshop. A café is commonly known as a place you can buy meals and drinks but a coffeeshop is a place where you can legally buy soft drugs! There are other important things that happened in September, which you can refer to a later part of this report about general exchange information. October Surviving Hiking is always a dangerous activity, especially in the places you are not familiar with. In October, I went to Switzerland, one of the most expensive country in the world. Before I arrived at Zurich, I felt so regret to book the air ticket because everything was super expensive compared to other places I have ever traveled except the air ticket. Simply a 3-day "Swiss Pass", a transportation pass costed around 170euro. However, no matter what it costed, I realized the trip was well worth it because I went on an extraordinary adventure on the Alps. It was definitely a life time experience to hike on a steep snow mountain with your under-equipped companions who had no hiking
3 shoes, no maps, no food and no water but brave hearts. I would say all of us have survived from that endless like hike without losing any toes and fingers was a miracle. November 2017 Rider I was on a ride from Liege, Belgium back to Maastricht at night alone by bicycle. After a month of riding my own bicycle, I thought I have already mastered the skill of road cycling, so I designed to go on a return ride to Liege. Everything was going just fine until I was on my way back. The nightmare began with the puncture of my bike s back tyre because I mistakenly got on the highway and I could only ride on drains. Then although I found the right way for bicycles, part of it was in construction. In the countryside with no street light but a punctured tyre, I had to find another way which was much longer and dangerous. Fortunately, nothing worse had happened and I used 3 times the original time to make it home safely. December 2017 Snow Maastricht seldom got snow but once it did, you would be amazed. The first time I saw snow in Maastricht was during my final presentation of a project in the course, Knowledge Management. My speech was stopped by the sudden snow appeared
4 outside the 2 old and large Dutch windows in the classroom. I could not let the presentation distract me from enjoying the landing of the Maastricht first snow in our exchange life. Part 2 General Exchange Information Visa Procedures The visa procedures are kind of straightforward and you can find more accurate information from the school and the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website. It is better to follow the most updated information available online. Orientation Activities The orientation activities were compulsory and important. Apart from general information about the school policy and culture, a police officer also came to provide us many fun facts about the special regulation in Maastricht. You can ask them any question about the school or the regulation. International Services & Activities Most of the international services & activities are held by either one of the student societies, SCOPE and ISN. I did not join much because most of them incurred fee and were not so attractive. Accommodations As mentioned by the host university, Maastricht Guesthouse is the most popular choice for exchange students. I stayed in Maastricht Guesthouse and it was really worth the expensive rent. My hallway was newly decorated, everything was so clean and comfortable, and most importantly, 80% of residents in my hallway were exchange students from European countries. Making real friends from all around Europe would not be a problem.
5 Courses Registration Students in Maastricht University usually have to do course registration twice in one semester unless you want to retake any course or you want to take a sports skill class in the last period. Teaching & Assessment Methods Teaching & assessment methods in Maastricht University are very different from HKUST. They called it PBL, problem-based learning, which means professors will seldom give lectures but students have to lead some relevant discussion about the long reading material you will need to read before every class. Sports & Recreation Facilities Maastricht University has its own sports center but you have to pay a membership fee before you can actually enjoy its sports facilities. Also, it is quite far away from the business school and the guesthouse. Finance & Banking ING bank is the most common choice for Hong Kong students for opening a bank account. It is cheap and will make your life much easier. Highly recommended! Communication Don t worry about it. Most people in the Netherlands speak English. The cashier in the supermarket may speak better English then you do. Social Clubs & Networking Opportunities There are mainly two social clubs, including SCOPE and ISN n for exchange students and for students to build their social network. I did not join many activities held by those associations but the ones held in my hallway by exchange students ourselves. Health & Safety Fortunately, I didn t need any medical service during my journey but one of my friends get a serious injury and needed to be sent to a hospital nearby. So far it was quite safe to stay in Maastricht.
6 Food Food in Maastricht is relatively more expensive than in Hong Kong so most of us would cook for most of the time since the food ingredients are surprisingly cheaper than that in HK. Transportation The majority like me would buy a bike for the daily transportation in Maastricht. You can find a bike in a bike store or from a Facebook group, which is much cheaper. It cost around Euros for a new one and around 60 Euros for a second hand one. And then after your exchange study, you can sell it easily via the Facebook group again. Climate I love the weather over there! It was so comfortable, and the sky is so clean without any pollutant like what you can see in HK. It will be cold and rainy in winter so you should better bring some warm and waterproofed clothes and shoes. Cautionary measures Be careful of your bike! Don t park it on the street overnight. Many of my friends lost their bike because of that. If you have to park it overnight, park it in the school area or park it in the Guesthouse. Part 3 Items to Bring - Passport - HKID card - Phone - Laptop - Charger - Adopter - Warm Clothes Part 4 Useful Links and Contacts If you have any question, you can always SBM Exchange Team at