Last September, Esther Adwoa Hoogeveen started the bachelor’s programme European Law School thanks to a UM First Generation Students (FGS) scholarship, aimed at students who are the first ones in their families to follow higher education. With the goal in mind to make education accessible to everyone. We asked Esther about her experiences at UM.

My study at Maastricht University and the PBL system
‘I am Esther and thanks to the UM FGS Scholarship, I currently follow the European Law School program (ELS) at Maastricht University. I chose ELS because I wanted to get an insight into more than one legal system, and so far ELS has not only met my expectations but has exceeded it. A course I particularly enjoyed was Comparative Contract Law, where I got to see how countries like the Netherlands view an advertisement or display of goods as an offer to contract, whereas the UK does not. Additionally, through the course European Legal History, I have gotten insight into how Roman law influenced the laws we have today in Europe.

Regarding the Problem-Based Learning approach at UM, it is a valuable system that has pushed me to take charge of my learning process and to thoroughly engage with the learning materials. This is because unlike the traditional system of teaching where the teachers would give you all the information you needed to know, with the PBL system before attending class it is required that you do self-study and have a sufficient understanding of the topics. Moreover, the PBL system is particularly useful for me as a law student because of its problem-solving approach where we apply what we have learnt to practical cases in class. Most notably, I have been lucky to come across tutors and lecturers who are not only skilled in their field but also passionate about their course which translates into their teaching. My great experience so far with my program and the PBL system is not to say it has not been challenging. However, with determination, hard work, and good organization, it has not only been doable but also enjoyable.’

The City of Maastricht
‘Although it is unlike the hustle and bustle I am used to from living in the Hague and studying in Amsterdam, Maastricht is a vibrant student city. Also, the locals are very friendly and laid back. One of the things I like about Maastricht is its fascinating medieval-era architecture, I thought I was in a different country when I visited Maastricht! Another plus point of Maastricht is its geographical location, it is situated between the German and Belgian border, which is advantageous for travelling and exploring with friends.

Extracurricular activities and social life
‘Because of the UM FGS Scholarship, I can fully focus on my studies and engage in extracurricular activities I enjoy without worrying about part-time jobs. For example, I am currently a member of the European Law Student Association which organizes activities to help European Law students grow academically and professionally. Also, I volunteer at the UNICEF Maastricht Student Team, where I help with events aimed at raising funds for various projects that benefit children. Moreover, because of the international environment that Maastricht University offers, I have been able to make new friends from different countries with distinct cultural backgrounds. This is invaluable because, besides having a group of friends that support me, interacting with people of different cultural backgrounds exposes me to different perspectives, which in turn broadens my outlook on certain issues.’