Programme partner: Hotel Management School Maastricht (HMSM)

Interview with Tom Kuypers, Senior Researcher/Lecturer

19 June 2023

Each month we’re going to give one of our Programme Partners the floor and introduce themselves and their services so you can ensure you’re getting the most out of life in the Maastricht Region. This month we interviewed Tom Kuypers, Senior Researcher/Lecturer at the Hotel Management School Maastricht (HMSM).

'I was born and raised in the small town of Elsloo, about 20 minutes away by car from Maastricht, in the heart of the Maastricht region. Next to my teaching position at HMSM, I also work as a senior researcher for the Global Minds at Work research centre. In this role, I conduct research on the importance of Global Competences, and supervise and support student projects on this same topic. As such, we are part of the larger Maastricht Region community of Zuyd Hogeschool (university of applied sciences) and contribute to the development of the region. Both in educating our students, as well as sharing our expertise with partners.'

How has your organisation been involved in Expat Centre Maastricht Region events or projects?

'Recently, a group of 5 students did a collaborative graduation project with the goal of improving the position of the Expat Centre amongst expats. Their research results eventually led to 3 new concepts that the expat centre can use to strengthen their position and become an even better partner for expats living and working in the Maastricht Region. These 3 concepts are: The Expat Journey, The Expat Map, and the Expat Buddy Project.

The Expat Journey will be a visual guide to support expats setting in the region, and help them get familiar with customs, habits, and the formalities of processes in the Netherlands. 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 Expat Centre Maastricht Region provides expats with the option to socialise with a Buddy to support them and help them familiarise 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 have already applied to join this project.'

How can your organisation add value to the lives of internationals in the Maastricht Region?

'In an interconnected world, young professionals are faced with serious complex technological, social, and environmental transitions that require immediate action within and across borders. To make sure that they are ready and able to face these challenges on a local, Euroregional, national, European, international and intercultural professional level, it is imperative that they develop their global competences. Our Global Minds at Work research centre aims to support and foster the development of young professionals’ global competence by: innovative, interdisciplinary, applied research and education; translating (valorising) this into real-world applications in education and professional domains; and by engaging a wide variety of stakeholders from different disciplines.

Global Minds at Work is the go-to centre of expertise for global and intercultural competence for Zuyd Hogeschool and our professional network.'

What is the best thing about living in the Maastricht Region? 

'The Maastricht Region offers me the opportunity to work and live in an environment that is diverse in many ways. It combines the local and global seamlessly. With 2 national borders nearby, I can easily visit new and exciting cultures, and visit culturally diverse cities, which offer new experiences.

At the same time, for me it is close to home, to my family and friends. I can go for a long run on Sunday morning on the beautiful Mechelse Heide in Maasmechelen, visit a nice theatre performance with my wife and 6-year old daughter at the Kumulus theatre in Maastricht in the afternoon, and go for dinner at a great Lebanese restaurant in the city centre of Aachen in the evening. That is the kind of diversity and opportunity I love about living in the Maastricht Region.'