[Translate to English:] Timo Scholte in Bergen

And how are things in Bergen?

Pretty good. I have been here for almost a month now, writing my thesis, and so far I have enjoyed my stay. The University of Bergen has a great research group on the subject of parameterized algorithms, and I am working under their supervision.

It is quite different from the rest of my education. Not only is the problem I’m working on fairly hard, I also have to get used to working in this setting. Most of the people around me are working on a PhD or a post-doc, meaning they’re all a view years older than me. Also, most of them are already married. They are clearly in a different phase of their lives, which makes it harder to bond with them.

Fortunately, the group is pretty socially active. A couple of times a week, they meet up for group activity. This could be darting, playing a board game, or just grabbing a drink. This makes it easier to get to know your colleagues, and because most of the people are internationals, it also teaches you about different cultures.

Outside of my contacts within the university, I hang out with my housemates a lot. I live in an apartment with two Norwegian students. This is great, because it introduces me to a part of the student life in Bergen. Since our living room is pretty big, they often have friends over, which makes it easier to meet people.

Furthermore, there are a lot of activities aimed at students in Bergen. For instance, there is “Det Akademiske Kvarter”, which I like to compare to the former Gaslab in Eindhoven. The difference is that “Det Akademiske Kvarter” is considerably bigger. Every week they host a series of events, from concerts to lectures, and quizzes to parties. Unfortunately, most lectures are in Norwegian, as are most of the conversations in Bergen.

Altogether I’ve enjoyed my time here so far, despite getting confused by minor differences. For instance; supermarkets are not allowed to sell alcohol on Saturday night after six o’ clock. This means that part of the store is closed off with rolling grille, which is quite confusing if you are unaware of this law. Fortunately, the differences are not too grand to overcome, so I think I’ll enjoy myself here for the coming months.

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