Your life as an student means much more than just studying. It’s good to know that in The Netherlands most of the student life happens off-campus.
Living in Maastricht
As an international student it is most likely that you will live in the city of Maastricht, because all the English-taught programmes are located here. Maastricht is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities of the Netherlands. With 120,000 inhabitants, the city is quite small. However, it has a cosmopolitan feel, due to its proximity to Belgium and Germany. Students make up about 20% of the population, warranting a lively student culture. Maastricht is popular for its rich cultural life, a wide variety of shops and boutiques, in addition to many terraces, bars and restaurants. It is regarded as one of the safest cities in the Netherlands. All of which make it an ideal place to live, work and study in.
Living in our region
Maastricht is part of the attractive province of Limburg, the most southern province of the Netherlands. Bustling and dynamic towns such as Aachen, Liège, Hasselt and Tongeren are close by, humming with cultural activity and great places for shopping or entertainment. If you prefer outdoor activities and nature, it is only a short drive to the hills of the Ardennes and the Eifel.
You can live in student accommodation or in a private rental. Many students live in privately rented student houses, studios, or shared apartments. When renting a student-room, you share facilities like kitchen, bathroom, toilet and sometimes a living room. When renting a studio or apartment you don’t have to share those facilities. Also, when renting a student-room you usually can’t choose your own housemates.
Do you want to work alongside your studies? Then you first have to think about what kind of job you would like to do and how much free time you have to work.
Do you have to speak Dutch?
If you do not speak Dutch, certain jobs will be impossible for you. Even if you speak some Dutch, the job may require the fluency of a native speaker. Learning some basics can help impress employers and integrate more fully into the community. In your first year of study you are eligible to take part in a Dutch Course offered by the University of Maastricht.
However, even without Dutch there are opportunities for international students. A good starting point is the Maastricht University Vacancy Board, which advertises a lot of student jobs in a variety of different fields of work. Another place to look is a temping agency (uitzendbureau). The agency will act as your employer and match you to companies that need temporary workers. Finally, bars and restaurants often need an extra pair of hands to help with waiting, bartending, cooking or cleaning.
If you like to sport, you have several opportunities. You can become a member of UM Sports, that offers more than 50 different sports. If you want to plan your own time, the gym is the place to be and if you want to play in a team the sport associations are welcoming new members. There are of course also many sports associations, health clubs, yoga and pilates studios in Maastricht that you can join or where you can take classes.
Joining a student association during your study is fun as well as educational and will help you make you feel at home. There are a number of general student organizations. Some study programmes have their own dedicated associations. Below you find the ones with an international touch:
International Student Network Maastricht
International Student Network (ISN) is the biggest international student organization in Maastricht. Their goal is for international students to enjoy their time in Maastricht as much as possible and to give them a place to meet other international students.
They organize a separate introduction week, city trips, parties, cantus, cultural tours, sport activities, and much more. They also have a buddy programme that might be interesting for you. Visit their website for more information.
The Enactus community consists of 72,000 students who are entrepreneurial, values-driven social innovators across campuses in 36 countries around the world.
The team at Zuyd currently consists of 14 students working on two different projects: Kafena and Plastic.Free. Both projects focus on having a positive impact on the environment while improving the social aspect in our society.
Members of Enactus do not only participate in making the world a better, more sustainable place, but also develop their personal and professional skills. By applying the theory acquired in your studies, you gain hands-on experience in the field of business, marketing, communications and management. With those activities, you get the chance to turn your ideas into practice for projects on how the future world we will live in should look like.
But Enactus is more than just an activity on your CV. You get the chance to be part of a close and motivated team, members supporting each other in their activities and working together towards a purpose.
Aegee is an European student association for students studying in Maastricht. Aegee offers several local activities but also opportunities for European trips and conferences. See the website for more details.
You can become a member of classes, debating societies and committees. All these are active parts of the union. They organize a wide range of activities, including sport and cultural events. Parties range from small events to the Upstream festival for all the students studying in Maastricht. Koko also offers you opportunities for personal development and development of social and organizational skills. Check out their website for more information.
Amphitryon, the student union of the Hotel Management School has about seven hundred current members. Its name is based on the Greek goddess of hospitality. Amphitryon as existed for sixty years now. The club (Sociëteit) is the living room of Amphitryon and a meeting place for friendships that last a lifetime. Amphitryon also offers you many opportunities for personal development. For more info see the website.
Maastricht Student Union
Maastricht Student Union (MSU) is an association which aims to give a voice to the student population of Maastricht in all matters concerning student life. The union works to represent all students by working with UM and Zuyd Hogeschool, the municipality, and other third parties to ensure that students’ interests are always represented. For more info visit the website.
At all the Dutch universities, you will find a Studium Generale programme, which organizes lectures, discussions, courses and events in the fields of science, art and culture. Most of the events organized by Studium Generale are offered in English.