The last week of any program is the hardest of course, and not even necessarily based on the curriculum. You go into a course overseas with a few friends, and it feels like it’s never going to end – you’re having fun, pushing each other forward, and making these new bonds. Unfortunately, whether the course is three weeks or 6 months, the end will come before you know it and you will have to walk away from all those new friends. It’s a hard, sad truth of any overseas course.
Of course, the good news is that with today’s day and age, it is the easiest to stay into contact with people thanks to the advent of the Internet, so now you will have worldwide contacts and friends that will help and be of your assistance for the rest of your life! :)
Emotional stuff aside, IR & Politics wrapped up this week with a few different items on the agenda. The first on the agenda was the Final Exam, which was due on Friday after learning as much content about the European Union as possible, weighted 35% of our final mark. Writing multiple essays and working on multiple cases from all different aspects of the EU, from integration, to asylum seekers, to defense policy, to human rights systems, the different courts, different decisions, and a variety of different issues was difficult to do in two hours, but our class completed it and on the whole were happy with the way we went!
The final part of our course isn’t actually done at Maastricht University – we have to write an essay on a certain aspect of the European Union and how it works. Our year has such an interesting spectrum of ideas as well, ranging from the very current Asylum Seeker Crisis, the differences of economic refugees and other classifications in the eyes of the EU, the Digital Single Market, the Euro Crash of Greece, and so on. This essay is the final aspect of our intensive course, which is also worth 35% of our final mark as well. Assuming that this and all the other tests have gone well, then this course is over and we walk away with a Subject Graduation Certificate!
There was a final celebration on the Friday as all three courses rolled to a close – we enjoyed canapes and drinks together in the Centre for European Studies Building, catching up with each other, laughing and talking with our different teachers and coordinators, and thanking the Director for this opportunity. A couple hours passed too quickly before we each parted our own way.
Fortunately, you never have to say goodbye to a location if you don’t want to – Maastricht University offers an EU-renowned Masters degree program that International Students can take part in, or you can work for the Centre of European Studies as well. There are many options to take so you don’t have to say goodbye if you truly love it.
Personally, on Saturday, I travelled back from Maastricht to Amsterdam, and from there back to Australia and back to my regional town, clocking up to 30 hours travel time (including rest stops). Other people I know travelled to France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Italy and Greece – even another person going on another intensive course in Geneva! The journey in Europe doesn’t have to end, even if it has to academically.
This course has been fantastic and AIM Overseas / Maastricht University should be very happy with the experience they’ve given the 160 or so students who travelled for the January Program. If you are reading these blogs and deciding if you want to travel overseas, I would recommend it – such experiences do not fade into irrelevance easier.
This is my last blog post as the AIM Overseas Blogger for International Relations & Politics in the European Union, and it’s been great! If you would like to read the other blogs, they are linked below:
The photos contained are a few of my favorites from over the weeks, including a final picture from the IR team. Signing off, one last time. :)