Classes may have come to an end but that doesn’t mean we are done publishing interviews with this year’s students! Most have returned home to complete their thesis, due for completion in August. This edition of "Meet our Kuadrilla” features Jolanta Sawicka from Białystok, Poland, a philosopher simultaneously completing her Ph.D. from the University of Warsaw; and Nick Frijns, from Maastricht, Netherlands, completing his third master’s here in Oñati. He previously studied Dutch law, Criminal law and Criminology & Forensics at Maastricht University. This is the last interview from our series, we hope you enjoyed learning more about the 2017-2018 students! Enjoy and share!
Jola: How are you feeling, Nick?
Nick: I feel exhausted!
Jola: I feel exhausted, too. Since December I’ve been sick with a cough.
Nick: I’m more exhausted from the work but I see where you are coming from. What are you going to miss the most?
Jola: You!… And I will miss the stress.
Jola: I will miss to a certain extent this changeability every two weeks…And for sure I will miss Oñati in general.
Nick: Same for me. I will really miss this town. I’ve never experienced a town like this…
Jola: It’s quite interesting. You come from a really big metropolitan European city --
Nick: --It’s not that big!
Jola: How big is it?
Nick: Maastricht is small, 150.000 people tops
Jola: Oh similar to my town [Białystok], about 300,000 thousand people… But even coming from a small city, I can go even smaller… and even then I can get lost!
Nick: After a week I thought I had the town figured out but even now I’m discovering something new.
Jola: Even here I have had so many first times….my first guitar concert at Txaketua, without any professional lessons.
Nick: You only know two chords but you know how to play them well!
Jola: Three maybe… There was also the first time I played the drums (its quite interesting). My Euskera lessons. I will miss this first times here. It puts a stamp on my life.
Nick: Life changing moments, it makes you nostalgic. I’m already nostalgic with this last week!
Jola: It’s situation like then when something stuck in your throat. „No more pintxo-pote? Oh no!” We can agree that this town, is a really special place. What about the Institute?
Nick: The Institute is quite peculiar.
Jola: But what about the idea to organize courses with people from around the world. Is it helpful to learn something more or new from the socio-legal field and to have people from other contexts: social, cultural, philosophical? Is it helpful, or not, from your perspective?
Nick: Some people found this master’s to be too sociological, some find it too focused on the law. So already people are approaching this all from different perspectives. It’s very interdisciplinary. It’s not just sociology, not just law, and sometimes it’s very political.
Jola: Hmmm… I was also thinking about the reason why I came here. It was to learn about the relations between law and sociology since my background is in philosophy. I am the only person here who studied only philosophy with no experience in law or sociology. When you have the possibility to talk to people from different countries, you can see the different approaches. Moreover, in Poland, we don’t have such a mixed class. Even when we have people from Erasmus, they are usually organized in one group. But here we have America, Australia, Latin America, and you can see differences not only in approaches but even in the education process. In two weeks we are finishing an essay! In Poland you have a semester that is few months long and not every course is finished by an essay but rather ends with an exam. Or maybe because of my philosophy background I need more time to rethink of a topic and write and this two-week rhythm was too fast sometimes.
Nick: I thought I knew what an international environment was…Maastricht is very diverse but not as compared to here. In Maastricht people come from Europe for the most part. But you notice here that Europe is in the minority and you can see the similarities within Europe and then other cultures outside of Europe that are way different as well. That for me was a real eye opener!
Jola: Full of experiences. No regrets, Nick?
Nick: Of course not, I will return.
Jola: You should, just for pintxo-pote.
Nick: You came in here as a philosopher, so are you going home with more questions?
Jola: Yes, yes that’s true. More questions and more doubts.
Nick: I thought so.