Arlanxeo: UWC Maastricht’s good neighbour

March 26, 2020

Arlanxeo with student Christelleac

“Every visit to UWC Maastricht leaves a mark.” These are the words of Heleen Petter, HR business partner at Arlanxeo Holding BV, during a visit to meet Christelle, one of our scholarship students. The company Heleen works for finances an annual scholarship which helps students like Christelle to attend UWC Maastricht.

“Every time I’m here, it really makes me think. I always hear inspiring stories, and the students organise such special events or presentations. When I’m back in the office, behind my own computer, I tend to see a lot of things differently.” It is her colleague Niko’s first visit to the school. When talking about their company he explains: “We want to be a good and responsible employer, for example by not only looking after our current employees, but also looking to the future. One element of that is supporting students like Christelle; the next generation, so to speak. And we are based here nearby, so it’s also about trying to be a good neighbour!”

Christelle, meanwhile, is listening with interest. She is from Burkina Faso and has only been at UWC Maastricht for a few months. What Heleen and Niko tell her about Arlanxeo really appeals to her. It is clear that the company looks beyond its own borders and that is something that Christelle can really connect with. Her arrival at UWC Maastricht brought with it a great deal of change in her life. Prior to that, she spoke very little English, lived with her parents, brothers and sister and went to a regular secondary school in the neighbourhood. She has had to leave all that behind and now shares a bedroom with three other students, each from a different country. “But that’s completely in line with the UWC philosophy,” she explains. “You learn an awful lot just by spending so much time with each other. We have had to learn to compromise and make it work when we’re all in our room. One may want to listen to music while the other wants to sleep. But by talking to each other, you learn!” She also reflects on the voluntary work she is involved in at ‘Serve the City’, where she sings for the elderly or organises beauty sessions for people with mental disabilities. “When I see the smiles on their faces… it feels so good! It really makes me very happy to see that I can do something for them!”