This morning, I walked to class down a cobblestone road in a sleepy Dutch neighborhood as the sun lit the tops of the narrow brick homes that lined the street on either side. I passed small homes just beginning to stir and old couples walking dogs. The flowers on the trees are blooming pink and white and their aroma floats down the streets. Bikes rattle past me as other students make their way to classes at Maastricht University, my destination.
I’ve lived in the city of Maastricht for two months now and I love it so much more than when I first arrived (which is saying something). I’m going to school at Maastricht University where nearly half of the student population is international. Along with 37 other Baylor students, I take classes from a Baylor professor as well as Dutch professors.
Maastricht is a city that, although its population is over 120 thousand, feels like a small town. The oldest part of the town is surrounded by a medieval wall that you can walk along and watch the city down below. This is one of my favorite places to study or eat lunch with friends!
Speaking of studying, there are cafes all over town that are perfect for reading or just hanging out. Livin’ Room is a tiny cafe where Elvis plays over the speakers and the baristas have a distinctly 1950s vibe. Another great cafe is Coffeelovers, a chain of stores that is unique to Maastricht. My favorite one is Coffeelovers Dominicanen, a bookstore and cafe inside of a repurposed Dominican church right off one of the main squares.
There are two main squares in Maastricht: The Vrijthof and The Markt. The Vrijthof is my favorite of the two. This large square is surrounded by cafes and shops. But the main attraction is the churches. Soaring over the rest of Maastricht are two churches’ towers. One is Catholic and, across a narrow street, the other is Protestant. The small road between them is fondly called “Purgatory.”
As you can see, the inhabitants of Maastricht have a sense of humor and fun. Their kindness and willingness to help a clueless American like me has made me feel at home in a city so far from what I know. The small streets that wind in every direction make it easy to get lost. But that’s the beauty of Maastricht; If you let yourself get swept away by the winding roads and your sense of adventure, you’ll always find something beautiful.
Corrie Coleman is a sophomore Journalism major from Dallas, Texas. After college, she hopes to work for a non-profit that aids refugees, using her passion for photography and writing to raise awareness and work towards justice for the oppressed.
Corrie finds joy in hikes, sidewalk chalk, puppy videos, and long conversations around a campfire. She is inspired by sunrises, good books, and her parents. You will almost always find her with Converse on her feet and a camera in her hands.
She plans to spend her days with good friends, exploring the world and loving without reserve.