The goal of Stichting Meet Maastricht is to bring closer together the young internationals (mostly university students but also immigrants and refugees) and the local culture and heritage of Maastricht. Spring in Maastricht is a beautiful time, perfect for going out and discovering local treasures. We want to organize a series of outdoor and indoor activities - tours, guided museum visits, workshops, urban games, bike rides, runs, and so on - for the internationals, so that they can truly interact with their temporary home, the city of Maastricht, and enjoy its beautiful and unique heritage. We want to get in touch with local experts from cultural institutions and schedule around 12-15 cultural activities (at least one for each week of Spring), which we will promote among young internationals and offer to them either for free or for a discounted price.
Young internationals in Maastricht are a very significant group of inhabitants - 8,952,MU students (55,9% of the total number in 2016-2017 http://www.eurogates.nl/en_study_abroad_education_in_holland_netherlands/) plus other students plus immigrants, together over 10% of the whole population. Also, they are a very dynamic group, with new exchange students arriving in each semester. As results from the research we conducted in Autumn of 2016, young internationals are genuinely curious about Maastricht, looking at the city often as tourists, but they come across obstacles while trying to connect with the city and its culture (mostly the linguistic barrier and the lack of centralized and reliable sources of information). We are the only initiatve in Maastricht that is trying to help them by actually organizing cultural activities just for them (always in English) on a regular basis, and by doing that together with local experts to provide the highest quality. We believe that increasing cultural participation among young internationals benefits not only the participants but also the city itself - we help local cultural venues to reach out to new audiences, we improve the city's image, and we increase the chances that the students will feel at home here and as a concequence maybe consider remaining in Maastricht after the graduation (brain drain and a gap between students and the city are major problem individuated both by UM and Gemeente Maastricht).
We would like to use the subsidy from Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie for covering the costs of the activities, to promote them (social media, website, printed materials such as posters and postcards), to promote our partners (cultural institutions) and for volunteers' payments. We have a team of four very dedicated volunteers including three young internationals and one experienced local cultural professional, who built a broad network within the local cultural scene and with various student groups and associations. We have experience organizing cultural activities (we have been active as an informal initiative since September 2016 and as a Stichting since August 2017) and well working communication channels, so we can make a big impact on the local cultural scene and make "Cultural spring in Maastricht" a success. We estimate to make a direct impact on around 400 internationals (participants) and indirect impact on around 1500 more (who will hear about the local heritage and become more willing to participate another time).