Introduction Week – Social

Since my arrival at Maastricht University the word “Erasmus” has been floating around during daily life. Curious, I asked a friend what it meant, and learned yet another reason why I think many European countries are doing education right.

The Erasmus Programme stands for EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students and also holds the namesake of Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus. In 1495 Erasmus was granted a stipend to study at the University of Paris. He later attended Universities in Leuven, England, Basel, Venice and traveled to many other European cities.

Created in 1987 by the European Commission, the Erasmus Programme aims to create an opportunity for EU students to also study throughout Europe as Desiderius Erasmus did hundreds of years ago. In addition to creating a network of participating schools, the Erasmus program also offers scholarships and grants to European students.

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This concept ROCKS. Education is so expensive in America, and many students are prohibited from studying abroad due to financial limitations. The Erasmus Programme opens up an experience of a lifetime to all EU students by providing financial assistance and an easy means to go abroad.

While I did not receive any money from the Erasmus Programme (being American and all) I am still benefiting from the programme. Erasmus is more than an academic institution, it also adds a huge social component.

My first week here was filled with ESN – Erasmus Student Network events. Here is a breakdown of what Introduction Week looked like in Maastricht:

Jan. 28-Jan, 30: ESN hosted City Tours to show new students around Maastricht. After the city tours, they took us to Kiwi for a free drink to socialize with other new students. Click here for the Facebook event to learn more.

  • It is possible that I did not attend the City Tour; but made it to Kiwi every night for the free drink….maybe. It was always a great way to start the night and make new friends! Basically the entire second floor was reserved for Erasmus students, and new faces were always coming and going. Lots of fun! This is Kiwi.Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 3.12.54 PM

Monday, Jan. 28 Welcome Drink at The Shamrock. Click here for the Facebook event to learn more.

  • The Shamrock is a small Irish pub in town, and is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to go. I was introduced to The Shamrock on my first night in town. Since then I’ve had fun trying new kinds of beers and running into loads of other students enjoying the small, relaxed atmosphere of The Shamrock.

Tuesday, Jan. 29 Beer Rallies – teams of 4 compete to chug their beer the fastest. Really. Click here for the Facebook event to learn more and here for photos.

  • I had the intentions of keeping this blog entirely alcohol free, but that simply is not going to work. Beer is essential to the culture here, and is treated much differently in the Netherlands than in the States. The drinking culture here is responsible, and focuses on the social aspects. I’m not sure where the US college culture became so warped with alcohol consumption, but we could learn a few lessons from Europeans.
  • My friend, Marta, from Barcelona and I paired up with the two biggest guys in the room we could find – we were going to take this competition very seriously!
  • Essentially the game works as a race. Two “judges” stand on each side of the table. They “cheers” their beers, then drink in unison. The first judge to put their beer down on the table starts the race,  so both ends of the teams have to pay attention. The first person chugs their beer, puts the cup on their head to prove it is empty, smashes it down on the table and the next person goes. The last person on the team of 4 to have their cup hit the table first, wins!


Wednesday, Jan. 30 Pubquiz. Click here for the Facebook event to learn more.

  • This night some of us opted to stay in and hang out. I’m sure it was a fun event!

Thursday, Jan. 31 Pub Crawl. Click here  for the Facebook event to learn more and here for photos.

(photo credit ESN Maastricht)


  • Before the Pub Crawl my friend, Lukas, from Italy cooked some of us REAL Italian pasta. Check out my blog post about Italians in the Kitchen.
  • After our Italian dinner, we met about 250 or so students in the Vrijthof (the main city square) and broke out into groups. We joined group 3 and had a mix of 5 or so European countries represented in our Pub Crawl group.
  • The Pub Crawl went through seven bars around Maastricht…a great way to learn our way around the town and meet more people!

Friday, Feb. 1 CANTUS. Click here to read about Cantus. PS that wasn’t a friendly link share, that was a demand! I cantus believe I had never heard of Cantus before, you should know about it too!

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Seriously, go read about Cantus.

Saturday, Feb. 2 prESNow party. Click here for the Facebook event to learn more and here for photos.

Sunday, Feb. 3 Superbowl at the Shamrock, starting at 12:30am read my post about The Superbowl and Other Sports Abroad.

Monday, Feb. 4 Mexican Night. Click here for the Facebook event to learn more and here for photos.

Tuesday, Feb. 5 White Party click here for photos.

  • We had dinner with friends then went downtown to an apartment pre-party and looked silly walking around as a group in all white outside of the white party.

The night started like this….

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Then turned into something more like this…

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At the end of this crazy introduction week, I am ready to start classes and dive into academics. (Token education related closure for you, Mom and Dad.)

Posted on by Reagan J Payne in Part I

One Response to Introduction Week – Social

  1. Mom

    I’m glad classes are starting…

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