Testimonial from Maarten, a chemistry student at UAntwerp

"My name is Maarten Van Wesemael. I'm a student at UAntwerp without a scholarship, and a student representative. I rent a room in the city and work to pay the rent. I would like to share my story in light of the fundraising campaign to give students a financial boost in these uncertain times. 

For me personally, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a lot of uncertainty. As I am largely paying for my education myself, I have to work all year round. When I was told that my student job was being cut, I felt tremendous pressure and worried that I would get into financial trouble. All my energy went into finding a solution, with my studies taking a back seat.

This caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. I need to work in order to be able to study, as is the case for many of my fellow students. When I was still working every week, I managed to make ends meet. With that financial buffer gone, you definitely learn to look at things more critically, but that doesn't solve anything.

No one can predict how long this pandemic will last. This causes a lot of financial uncertainty. While every student's situation is different, it's safe to say that not everyone has a financial safety net, such as parents, grants or allowances.

So in closing, I would like to make a plea. This situation may only be temporary, but the future is likely to have many other challenges in store for working students. Thanks to the University of Antwerp Fund, donations can now be made specifically to provide students with the support they need to focus on their studies without having to worry about their finances."

Nesrin -  UAntwerpen Master Student Biology - Global Change Biology

"Just at the point where I would obtain my master's degree in Biology, I also had a great student job at the port of Antwerp, in a petroleum lab. Not too relevant for my s tudies, but still good to gain experience in the workplace. Two months ago I was kindly asked by email to put my student job indefinitely “on hold.” I am a student so I do not receive temporary unemployment benefits. My brother was new to a firm so he is not entitled to unemployment benefits My dad is unemployed and now lends money to his friends. We are all at home and may or may not work.

In the meantime life just keeps on going. Fixed bills such as rent, electricity, water, internet, ... have been growing since March and more are being added.

It is my last year as a master student and the examination period will start soon. After a while you become immune to all the stress around your studies, but seeing that your family suffers from the current situation and cannot do anything about it, that is just a new peak for my stress level. "

Anonymous - UAntwerp student Interior Architecture

"My friend and I live together in student housing and also pay this together. Due to the corona crisis, we both currently lost our student job in the catering industry. We are currently using our savings, but this is gradually running out. worry about the future.

Since the catering establishments are likely to open last and we cannot find another job in the meantime, panic is gradually mounting. The exams are also coming and for me, as a student of interior architecture, this is often an expensive period because models have to be made and plans have to be printed in large format. That is also a cost that I will not be able to afford anymore.

Hopefully there will be a financial solution for students soon because this uncertainty is terrifying. "


Anonymous - UAntwerp student - Bridging program for international relations and diplomacy

"Since the summer of 2016, I have been working for a company that specializes in travel assistance and breakdown assistance abroad. Given the current corona measures, I am already aware that all temporary employees are currently technically unemployed and all permanent employees are 50% technically unemployed. At the moment, all employees are still in the dark because there is still no clarity as to whether foreign trips can continue at all this summer, so the chance that I will be able to return as a job student this summer vacation is very small.

I have been paying for my education completely myself for four years now. Since two years I have been able to obtain the status of independent student. You can obtain this status by working a lot as a student and thus fall under the highest scholarship category of the Flemish government. Thanks to this scholarship, I pay 110 euros registration fee instead of 900 euros.

The possible cancellation of my student job is very stressful, because not only do I risk losing my scholarship, but also because of the scarcity of student jobs I would just have little or no income."

Anonymous - UAntwerpen student - Master Biomedical Sciences

“Covid-19 has been one of my worst nightmaresyet. Not only because of the threat it poses to my life but generally becauseof the destabilization it has caused nation wide and most importantly here inAntwerp where I study. I wouldn't have expected it to be as detrimental as it presentlyis. I wished and prayed it disappeared quickly as it came so we all could go onwith our normal day to day activities in life.   Surviving in Antwerp forme meant a constant source of income which I was getting from my sponsor and byengaging in student jobs. From here I could pay my tuition, rent, feed, andalso, I could save up for rainy days. The rainy days however have been for toolong and my savings are speedily drying off as my source of income has beencompletely cut off. Without a job most especially in this last year of minewhich needs quite some money, I would be left desperate and confused. I wish toapplaud the fund raising initiative put forth by the school administration inorder to help us the students financially to go through this trying anddifficult moments. I beg on sponsors to highly consider this and offer us ahelping hand by contributing massively.