Last year, Eva Despesse, Ruben Marchal and Aylin Güney received a Jo Ritzen Scholarship to study at Maastricht University. How do they like their studies? Are there any highlights so far? And what would they like to say to other future (scholarship) students?


Eva (Economics and Business Economics year 3): ‘‘I really like studying at SBE. It is very different from any of the options present in France, my home country, and this is why I decided to study in Maastricht. I learned a lot about my own abilities and about how I can make progress. The highlight that I can think about is when I had the option to choose a specialisation. I chose Economics and Management of Information. It made my educational journey brighter as it is a topic that I love and the courses are really interesting. Moreover, I would like to add that e Maastricht University handled particularly well the corona situation so we can continue to study almost as usual.

After my bachelor, I want to continue my study and do a master. My experience at SBE made me decide to do it here, in Maastricht, and in the same field. This will allow me to improve my English skills even further, which is something that I really value for a future job.

What I would like to say to future scholarship students? Receiving this scholarship is of great help to follow higher education, but – other than that – I felt truly supported by the UM Scholarship Office during my bachelor’s programme, as they were checking up on me every now and then.’’


Ruben (International Business, year 2): ‘‘My studies so far have been very enjoyable! The courses in IB surpass my expectations. The first year mostly focuses on gaining a solid understanding of the basis of various business branches. This was especially helpful for me as I studied sciences in high school. In the second year, we are expected to use our acquired knowledge and build upon it in a meaningful and in-depth manner.

One strong point of the courses is the ratio of theoretical and applied learning. The theoretical parts are always applied to real life situations. This makes understanding them much easier but also makes the courses more interesting. In every class, student are expected to produce either a presentation or a paper about a subject. This allows us to gain a deeper understanding of how the theory is reflected in the real business world. For example, I have already used some of the knowledge from my Finance class when personally investing in the stock market. The frequent presentations have also helped me tremendously in becoming more confident when speaking in front of people.

The PBL system with frequent exams allows us to truly focus on the subjects at hand. Moreover, it helps to stay focused throughout the period. Because of the short time frame between the tutorials and the exam, the work you put into the tutorials will directly translate to better exam performance. As a shy person, this gave me even more of an incentive to actually participate in the tutorials.

The scheduling freedom that comes with having less than 10 hours of contact per week is also valuable. In my case, combining basketball, weightlifting, classes and social life was fairly easy, as I could modulate my self-study hours to fit my schedule.

The professors in the IB department have done a remarkable job when adapting to the pandemic. In some classes, proctored exams were replaced with papers and the grading criteria were adapted to fit the online tutorials. The way in which we learn was also adapted, opting for small break-out teams of 4 to 5 students instead of 15 students made online learning much easier for example.

Going into the programme, I did not know what field of business I wanted to specialise in for my professional career. The IB program has allowed me to study many different branches of business, giving me a clear overview of what my options are for the future. Once I choose a specialization, I will still retain a good understanding of other branches which will be useful in my professional career!’’


Aylin (European Law School, year 1): ‘‘At the beginning of the academic year, I had the opportunity to attend on-campus classes, which helped me to get to know the Problem Based Learning method. I particularly enjoyed the time spent at the library and in the city. I felt like I was not really missing out on having the college experience. Now that classes are fully online, I am facing new challenges, such as staying focused and productive while self-studying. Knowing that studying remotely is the best option from a health standpoint, I try to get the most of it and remain optimistic.

Another highlight that I am thinking of is passing the exams. As time went by, I realised that my studies align nicely with my expectations and my plans for the future. I have been seeking to have a global knowledge of law in an international environment. The experience that I will gain in European Law School will prepare me for a master’s degree and, later on, to become a legal professional at both a national level and international level. The Jo Ritzen Scholarship helps me to stay focused on my plan to graduate. It is meaningful, not only because it lightens the financial burden, but also because it encourages staying on the right track.

My main recommendation for future scholarship students is to stay true to themselves and to be authentic. I invite them to make sure the programme they choose is the best fit for their future ambitions. Luckily, a number of scholarships are offered at Maastricht University. They are accessible for various student profiles, depending on your nationality and your study program. I would advise to apply early and to check the deadlines. And of course, I wish them the best of luck!’’


About the Jo Ritzen Scholarship

As you may know, our fund offers various scholarships on behalf of several organisations. The calls for scholarship students for academic year 2021-2022 are online now on the UM website. To that end, we want to introduce you to the current students. In this edition: Ruben Marchal, Eva Despesse and Aylin Güney, who all received a Jo Ritzen Scholarship.

The Jo Ritzen Scholarship is a scholarship programme open to French first generation students. Since last year, the primary focus of this programme are students who are applying for the LLB in European Law School at the Faculty of Law. However, there are several other scholarships available if you wish to study at the School of Business and Economics. 

You can find more information about this scholarship on the UM website.