A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Near the end of the first year of my Bachelor’s I was invited to apply for the Humanities Lab, a program within the university’s Honours College. So far the program has offered high quality courses that have enriched my study experience, but I realized I hadn’t been to any social events the program hosts. I decided to sign up for the upcoming trip to Maastricht, which promised a tour of the city along with a lecture series from Maastricht University. I was immediately drawn to this since the furthest south I’d been in the Netherlands was probably Rotterdam, and that’s not adventurous of me at all!
The group met at Leiden Centraal in the afternoon and we were each handed an information booklet before we embarked on our train journey.
Us International Studies students mingled with students from other programs whom we might not have otherwise met – one of the benefits of the Humanities Lab. We transferred trains in Utrecht and continued our 3-hour trip to Maastricht.
It was dark by the time we arrived but I was struck by how beautiful the city looked! I noticed how evenly-lit the streets were compared to the Hague, which can look a bit dreary on a cold evening. In contrast, the walk from Maastricht station to our hostel was quite pleasant and many people were taking evening strolls. Maastricht didn’t look like an ordinary Dutch city to me at all, and seemed to resemble Belgium a bit (though I wouldn’t be an authority on this). We arrived at the hostel, a modern building by the Maas river. After making our beds and settling in (we were 6 girls to a room, with the guys in 2 other rooms), we had a nice buffet-style dinner downstairs. It was a relaxing evening, with only a pub quiz on the agenda.
At around 9pm we made our way to a nearby pub where we had a room reserved upstairs.
We split into teams and spent the next couple hours engaged in several intense rounds of quizzing. The purpose was to learn some fun facts about Maastricht – such as how the city is known as the birthplace of the European Union by way of the Maastricht Treaty.
After it was decided our brains had been picked enough, we were left to our own devices. For some, this meant going out for more drinks but for me it meant heading back to the hostel, which was holding a lively salsa party. My friends and I decided to get some rest in preparation for the full day ahead, which you’ll read about in Part II along with photos and a video!