Being a cross-border worker is intense. First of all, not in all the cases, but very often one is exposed to different languages and that is not always so easy, yet very rewarding.
Studying Dutch in Maastricht, speaking French in Liege and working in English, while reading in Russian at nights and being a Romanian native speaker was not easy in this half of the year. I learned that instead of thinking of how difficult it is to switch from one language to another, if I get to pretend that a mono-lingual world simply does not exist and the only reality is where one gets to speak more languages everyday, then there is nothing to complain about… Eating extra nuts and chocolate to fuel my brain and keep on going, is just as fine. I thought to quit reading in Russian when it became almost impossible, but after a break and reading this… I changed my mind.
After all, hearing French everyday is like a poetry. Understanding finally some Dutch is like winning a dog race prize for me, because somehow I got to learn it not so fast. Finally, keeping the beauty of your own language and things you get to learn through other languages is getting in touch with your inner self and helps creating everytime a new you.
Last thing, my colleagues from Liege introduced me to some Liege dialect, to learn about Brussels and other language dialects and particularities in Belgium: check.
Second of all, commuting time – what a great opportunity to reflect in the train and to get tired (too much reflection?). Living in Maastricht, one gets to be extremely spoiled with commuting distances. If you get to bike for more then 15 minutes, that’s already considered far. Many of my friends who left Maastricht and work in big cities of the world and have to wait daily only at the traffic lights more than 20 minutes, not to mention the commuting times, reconfirm me one more time: there is no better place to commute than commuting in Maastricht 🙂
Commuting is one of the most frequently used indicators to measure the impact of cross-border work on income and there is a wide range of studies on that. Mobility for work in the European Union is widely analyzed using European Labour Force Survey, however “due to small number of annual cross-border moves makes it problematic to use them for showing detailed and statistically reliable breakdowns by country cross-border mobility” (Bonin H. et al., 2008). According to Bonin et al. (2008), some older statistics show that cross-border commuting rates between United States federal states was about 3.7 percent of the population, while this indicator was in 2008 of only 0.2 percent in the European Union..
Being a cross-border worker means to be part of two worlds simultaneously. As a researcher, who previously worked for Maastricht University and now working for Liege University, I get to learn from very talented and motivated colleagues from both universities. I still go like home to my host university – Maastricht School of Governance and United Nations University/Merit to celebrate various occasions and greet my former colleagues. Also, I am welcomed at Liege University. I get to scan through university-newspapers from both sides
University of Maastricht University of Liege
Being a cross-border worker is a great opportunity (which offered me a job that I could not find in Maastricht at that time) and socially enriching experience, yet, is quite time consuming – I still did not manage to visit Liege Opera House and Theatre and to actually go for a walk downtown 🙂 I hope to do so in 2016!
p.s. I always knew I live some spectacular time of changes in the area where I live, but to see something like this at present times, without no treaties or pacts of peace.. confirms, I live history. everyday in the fairy land of Limburg.
More from Objectif:
Bonin, H., Eichhorst, W., Florman, C., Okkels Hansen, M., Skiöld, L., Stuhler, J., Tatsiramos, K., Thomasen, H. and Zimmermann, K. F. (2008), ‘Geographic Mobility in the European Union: Optimising its Social and Economic Benefits Report’, Contract VT/2006/042, European Commission DG.