My time in Maastricht was truly unforgettable. I spent the whole year (2011) abroad, and I cannot even find the words to explain how amazing my experience was. I am now in my fifth and final year doing a dual degree Bachelors of Business Management/Commerce at UQ, and wanted something different after third year. Maastricht University, particularly the business school, is quite different to UQ, with almost no lectures, but rather small tutorial group discussions, and different faculties placed all around town. Although I found the workload a bit bigger than at UQ, I loved the classes and was able to meet and make many new friends.

As Maastricht University has a compulsory requirement for third year students to study abroad for six months, it meant that they have a huge number of incoming exchange students, which makes their program extremely organized, and allowed me to meet a number of other exchange students from across the world. They also therefore have a big exchange student organization (ESN) that runs events constantly for all of the exchangers. They even organize weekend trips away to different countries that are great. Housing in Maastricht is generally expensive, and difficult to find on your own. I applied for the exchange student housing before leaving Australia – which was the best decision I made!!! If possible apply for the C Building, and second choice would be the P Building. They are basically the closest to the Uni and where majority of exchange students live, which is a LOT of fun!

Maastricht itself is perfect in many ways for exchangers, not only because it is largely a student city, but also because the city itself feels more like a small town, and within one week you will know how to find everything. Buying a second hand bike is essential. You will be able to get around the whole town quickly, and to and from Uni easily. The ESN organizes the sale of second hand bikes for around 50 euros, but there are also other bike shops around the city where you can buy a bike for between 50 and 100 euros.

Travelling around Europe from Maastricht is also extremely easy. Maastricht is in a convenient location, with trains running to many different airports where cheap flights on low cost airlines can be caught. I travelled to 14 different countries over the year, generally with lots of the friends I made in Maastricht, and a few times on my own. Some of the countries included Morocco, Lithuania, Portugal and all around Eastern Europe. Germany and Belgium are also only ½ hr away; so many trips were made to different cities in both these countries. I would also highly recommend visiting other cities in the Netherlands, as there are some very beautiful locations in Holland. It is easy to get caught up in travelling without visiting your host country!

I have so many memories I will keep forever from my time in Europe, and I would highly recommend anyone considering exchange to choose Maastricht. It was a fantastic experience, one I will never forget!

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