Maastricht: A City of All-sorts

It would be wrong of me to keep this from you any longer. I have been in Maastricht for over two months now and I only have five words: I don’t want to leave. I bet you’ve never heard that before…But truly, this city has a special charm and I am beyond thankful for this experience. My first impressions of the city were that it’s insanely cute, reasonably sized, with plenty to do. I have enjoyed countless afternoons exploring the cobblestone streets, each with something different to offer.

Follow this Fall 2018’s Office of Study Abroad & International Experiences Global Correspondent, Isla Swindles, on her studies in Maastricht, Netherlands! Isla is a UMass Lowell Business Administration major studying this Fall on a UMass Lowell Partner-led in USAC Netherlands: Maastricht University.

Friends and I at Mount Saint Peter

Maastricht is an international crossroads of history, economics, the arts, and so much more.  In fact, if it wasn’t for the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, the European Union we know today may not exist. This eclectic city has so much more to offer than meets the eye – beautiful churches and vibrant grass fields. The city of Maastricht has always had a multicultural influence and continues to boast a truly international demographic.

Basilica of Saint Servatius

One of my favourite things about the city is that it’s super bike friendly! I ride to class, to the bars with my friends, and even carry my groceries on my bike. I feel so much safer on the roads here since the culture around cycling is completely different to in the US. Cars give way to you and respect your space on the road!

Bike parking at the Business School


My second favourite thing about the city is that people really value their lifestyle. No matter the day, the terraces are filled with people sharing meals with friends and loved ones. One Sunday morning I was headed to the library and saw a group of older gentlemen playing bocce – laughing and enjoying their time together. I am not sure why, but it caught my attention to see their carefree selves happily enjoying the beautiful day together. They didn’t seem to be worried about the upcoming week but truly enjoying the moment.

People enjoying the sunny day on the terrace

There is always something going on in Maastricht. From jazz festivals, to Asian street food festivals, Maastricht is a happening city. And just a stones throw away from Belgium and Germany, there are plenty of nearby cities to explore that have their own charm but are equally as beautiful as Maastricht.

Maastricht City Hall


48 Hours in the Balearic Islands

Hola amigos!

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Balearic Islands in Spain. As soon as I touched down on the island of Mallorca, I knew I had made the right decision to visit. It was 1:30 in the morning and the air smelt as salt and a warm, humid breeze followed me as I made my way to my hostel. Despite being 1 o’clock in the morning, the island was just getting started! Young people packed the streets and restaurant patios were filled with people enjoying tapas and cocktails.

Rather than provide a written chronological sequence of my time on the island, I put together a short video filled with the many reasons why I fell in love with the island of Mallorca. From breathtaking landscapes to mouthwatering foods, Mallorca now has a special place in my heart and I highly recommend anyone to visit the exquisite island!

48 Hours in the Balearic Islands