The first-year IBCoM student is looking forward to the third term of the academic year. “Terms one and two really seem designed to break your spirit,” Ruaira says without a hint of a smile. “That’s what more advanced students say as well. A lot of people drop out early in the year.” She herself did not drop out. She hasn’t successfully completed Year 1 just yet, but so far, it looks like she will only have to re-sit one exam.

Ruaira Maitimu

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“One thing I really liked was being taught statistics by the same lecturer whose lecture I’d attended during the student-for-a-day programme. I spent that entire day hoping I’d be accepted into the programme. And a year later I was attending the lecture for real.” The 18-year-old believes she has detected a few changes in herself after spending just a few months at EUR. She thinks her perspective on the world, in particular, has changed. “Mainly due to stories told by fellow students from Ukraine, Korea or Vietnam. I was hit pretty hard when they told me how special it was for them to be able to get a degree here. These things are considered so normal here that we hardly ever stop to consider they might not be entirely normal to everyone.”

Because she is doing an international degree, Ruaira now dreams in English, she says with a smile. But of course her English has to be good if she is to realise her ambitions. After all, she still wishes to spend some time in the United States as an exchange student. “I’ll have to get high marks to do so. I can’t think of a better incentive to work hard for my degree.” She has her sights set on attending the University of San Francisco. The Los Angeles-based university she originally wanted to attend turned out not to have an exchange programme with EUR.


On Friday evenings and on Saturdays, Ruaira works at a bakery in Woerden (“we sell the most delicious sausage rolls ever”). She spends her Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Saskia’s Dancing School. You see, Ruaira is part of two of the school’s competitive teams. Her love of dancing runs in the family, because her brother and sister are keen dancers too. At the same school, as it happens.

The commute between her home and the campus takes about an hour, but Ruaira often leaves home a few hours early, to do some studying in the hours leading up to her lectures. “Ideally in the G Building, where you can do your studying in a cubicle. At the UL I tend to get distracted by all the other students.” She also leaves home early because she doesn’t wish to be late for her seminars, where being just a few minutes tardy counts as half an absence. Students who rack up two entire absences are set an additional assignment.
And they are strict. “A fellow student from Vietnam had her bag stolen at the airport in Paris, with her resident permit in it. She wasn’t able to re-enter the Netherlands after that and had to wait for a new permit at home. The university ‘went easy on her’ by setting her two additional assignments,” says Ruaira. “So I’m not running the risk of being late for class while travelling from Woerden.”