Welcome to Maastricht during resit week: a harsh landscape that resembles the scene of a Western before a major showdown is about to take place. An eagle making eagle-sounds, some tumbleweed wooshing over the dusty road, a barren landscape and dead silence. Although Maastricht is visually pretty much the opposite of this (and thus making this analogy pretty stupid), you at can catch my drift. I didn’t notice the emptiness that much in my first two years at uni. I was one of those ‘train-Limbo’s’ that headed back to my parents in the beginning and even went back every weekend after I got my first room here. However, after I stopped doing that and built a life here it becomes pretty obvious that the city isn’t spectacular when the students are gone.
98% of the Dutch and Ze Germans go back home and about 99,9% of the Exchangers (the ones I hang out with the most) travel around Europe. I can’t do this, because in order to keep up with their pace, I need to spend all the free time I have to get my life together. Their constant partying and their not-doing-anything-during-the-day-because-they-are-on-exchange is pretty hard to follow when you finish your masters, have a job on the side and still want to have a hobby that doesn’t involve drinking (E.g. sports). Therefore I normally welcome the weeks when they are gone so I can breathe again.
However, constantly being reminded of people leaving town to go see the wonders of Europe, keeps my mind occupied. Why is it that we, the Dutch and the other regular students, don’t go off to Paris, Prague or Barcelona for the weekend that often? Is it the fact that we don’t have enough money? That can’t be cause we can also decide to not drink on one of the retarded nights you have in Maastricht when you spend too much dinero in order to get drunk enough for you to enjoy yourself. Is it the higher workload we normal students have, cause exchangers simply don’t give a shit about grades (all they get is a pass/fail)? No, cause I know plenty of people who couldn’t care less about honours (hiphip hooray ‘6jes cultuur’). is it the obligations that you have to your football-, tennis or badminton- team? No cause they have plenty of weekends off and let’s be honest, not all of us are star players that can’t be missed.
I don’t get it and don’t think I will. Maybe you just need to go on exchange to appreciate travelling a bit more. If it’s not the cheap ass plane-ticket that makes you consider travelling more, than at least keep the emptiness of Maastricht in mind. Pretty sure you will have more fun in Milan, than you will in one of the bars at Platielstraat where the average age is dinosaur, the music is shit and the drinks are too expensive.