Students develop new concepts for Expat Center Maastricht Region

Pascalle Pechholt (coordinator ECMR) : “We were impressed by the competence and the high level of empathy of these 5 students of HMSM.”

The Expat Centre Maastricht Region (ECMR) together with students and the research centre Global Minds @ Work of the Hotel Management School Maastricht collaborated together to find new opportunities to help ECMR become an established partner of expats in the region and offer expats a better integration in the Maastricht Region.

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The aim of the research

In 2021, Maastricht was ranked 50th out of 57 cities in a list of best and worst expat cities. This became the reason for the collaboration between the hotel school, the research centre Global Minds @ Work and the Expat Centre Maastricht Region with the aim to improve the position of the ECMR amongst expats. The results of the research of the students provided the ECMR with three new concepts to strengthen their position and become the go-to partner for expats. 

The students conducted the research as part of their final management project before they graduate. The extensive research soon showed that expats were quite happy living in Maastricht Region. They also mentioned that the Fast-track procedure and information about formalities was more than sufficient.  But there were multiple opportunities ECMR could use in order to become a trusted partner for expats and to make them feel more involved in the community. The findings ultimately lead to the three concepts developed by the students: The Expat Journey, The Expat Map, and the Expat Buddy Project. 

The three concepts developed by students

The Expat Journey will be a visual to support expats setting in the region, and help them get familiar with Dutch customs, habits and the formalities of processes. The Expat Map is a digital map of the 17 municipalities of the region that helps expats with informal integration such as self-care and recreation. It will provide an overview of social clubs, sport clubs and other activities in the area. The third and last concept students designed is the Expat Buddy Project. This collaboration between the HMSM and ECMR provides expats with the option to socialise with a buddy to support them and help them familiarize with the region. A buddy offers the opportunity to ask questions, explore the region and help to establish a personal network for expats. The first buddies already applied to join this project.

With these concepts, the ECMR aims to take on an active role in becoming the organisation, which helps expats through their entire journey, instead of only the formal procedures at the start.  Pascalle Pechholt (coordinator ECMR) : “We were impressed by the competence and the high level of empathy of these 5 students of HMSM.” 

About the project

During the final stage of their bachelor Hotel Management, students will do their management project, which entails a research project for external clients. 

The Expat Centre Maastricht Region (ECMR) is an organisation that commits to helping highly skilled professionals coming to Maastricht Region (MR). They assist expats and their family members  with a fast-track registration procedure like the residence permit and citizen service number. The Fast Track process saves time and reduces the administration required for employers and employees alike. Additionally, ECMR provides other information expats need to start their lives, for example, about health insurance, public transport, and language courses. 

The Research Centre Global Minds @ Work is one of the three research centres part of the Hotel Management School Maastricht. It is their mission to facilitate the development of the global competence of young professionals. They have developed tools such as the Global Mind Monitor, and the Curious People blog platform which are now used in the curricula of different programmes at Zuyd University. They also offer staff training and involve students in research projects.

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