Published on November 8th, 2017 | by KATERINA VAŠÍCKOVÁ
ONCE UPON A TIME IN NORWAY, FROM A TRAINEE’S DIARY
I remember the cold January evenings when I was coming back home after another day spent in a lab. Snow crunching under my feet, the warmer and long days, as well as the experimental results for my Master thesis, were not in sight at all. And I had already started to devise plans for summer.
Foto: KATERINA VAŠÍCKOVÁ
I had been certain that I wanted to hit the road again before I threw myself into the work cycle. For what would likely be the last time, I went through all the endless opportunities that student life has to offer, and which satisfies the traveller’s dreams. The combination of a job experience abroad and travelling, seemed to be the best option. I was browsing the IAESTE webpage, and the extensive list of internship offers they provide, when I found myself scrolling down to the job positions in Norway. The idea of working at the Department of Physics and Technology at the University of Bergen for eight weeks on a Nanomaterials-related project, almost made me write the first lines of a cover letter, right after reading the entire job description. Frankly speaking, I didn’t hesitate long. I postponed my thesis troubles for a while, and started to work on the application instead.
Snow was not crunching under my feet anymore when I got the acceptance email. Spring was round the corner and I was buying the flight ticket to Bergen. My motivation was rising since the endless days spent in a lab, and sleepless nights when staring at a blinking text cursor of a thesis document were slowly reaching their end. I had decided to turn my back on the warm summer in Czech Republic, and instead set out on a journey to rainy Bergen. I was simply bursting with excitement about that.
To my surprise, Bergen welcomed me with sun. Rikke, the IAESTE Summer Coordinator, picked me up at the airport. And since then there’s been two intense months of learning, meeting other foreign students (and locals especially), getting know the culture, and exploring this Scandinavian beauty. I got used to strolling Bergen’s cute streets and alleys every time the work ended. I enjoyed cruising around the city on a bike. I profited from the long summer days, and went hiking after work. Seriously, hiking never seemed to me as easy as in Bergen, where a small walk just from the city center led me to a nature paradise with stunning views of this charming city, countless islands, and surrounding mountains.
It had also become a habit for me to hit the road basically every weekend to explore other parts of Norway. Thanks to IAESTE we had a chance to visit beautiful parts of the Sogn og Fjordane region, to experience proper rafting at Jølstra river, to enjoy marvellous fjord view, and at the same time see the Jostedal glacier view from Fjærland, and to meet other trainees from other parts of Norway. Together with other Bergen trainees we made a journey to Vik in Sogn to visit our friend working there, or to Oslo to meet other trainees. Due to my restless mind I devoted the rest of the weekends hiking to Trolltunga and camping on the top, hitchhiking around Hardangerfjord and Voss, and road tripping to Flåm and Aurland. I tasted a bit of farmer life on Holsnøy island and I always sought to chat with people I met on the road.
“I COULD NOT HAVE CHOSEN A BETTER WAY TO TAKE A LOOK AT NORWEGIAN LIFE AND CULTURE”
Looking back at the summer, I value the work experience that was given to me at the Department of Physics and Technology just as I cherish the meeting of new people and getting to know the locals who made all of this possible. Simply expressed, I could not have chosen a better way to take a look into Norwegian life and culture. Looking through all the pictures from my camera I can see that part of me stayed in Norway forever.