It has been about five months since I moved to Norway, and I can say that “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…”
Well, let’s start with my social life. My goal of having a network of (mainly) local friends has been a partial failure yet. People here seem to need more time to get confident with someone, although girls appear to be more open than guys. Of course, this may very well be just because an Italian man can be quite exotic to them, as my local friend Mikal pointed out many times. 🙂 I still feel confident about the future though, especially once I will be able to speak Norwegian fluently.
In the end, I managed to create a little network of international friends around me. Lovely persons, who helped me in the difficult moments and who gave me a lot of good memories. My special thanks go to Mikal, Federico, Silje, Petra, Sonia, Valentin, Enrichetto, Diego, Fabio, and Regine, (merely ordered by who I met first) for all the moments shared together.
I finally started studying Norwegian. Here the approach with the local languages is completely different from what I am used to having in Italy. There are two official standards of written Norwegian: Bokmål, which is the one I study (literally “book language”, used by 85% of the population) and Nynorsk (literally “new Norwegian”, used by 15% of the population). On the contrary, there is no officially sanctioned standard of spoken Norwegian. My course is a 48-hour intensive course, and I although my Norwegian skills improved considerably, it is still impossible to jump into a conversation for me. I am mainly trained to listen to the spoken dialect of Oslo (or urban upper class Eastern Norwegian, as someone would call it), but in real life, Norwegians use to speak their dialect with each other, and the differences can be significant. You can imagine how challenging this can be for someone who is only at the beginning of the learning process. Anyway, I will continue with an intermediate course the next year, not only because I want to improve my skills but also because I have to be ready to speak Norwegian fluently as soon as possible.
The reason is that another big change is going to happen again in my life. I was a bit unsatisfied with my work lately, so I decided to come back to my original plan of continuing my studies. Becoming a researcher has been one of my biggest ambitions, so I applied for a PhD research fellowship position at the University of Bergen, and I got it. The position consists of three years of research and one year of teaching, meaning that I will live in Bergen for a long while. I will start in January, and I will probably be travelling several times to conference and spending months abroad as visiting researcher, hopefully in some sunny, warm place where I will be able to charge my batteries. 😉 I will do research in the field of model-driven engineering, under the supervision of Uwe Wolter and Khalid A. Mughal. It was a difficult choice, but I feel it was the best for my life, and I am looking forward to starting this new experience.
That’s all at the moment. Please, keep the finger crossed for me once more. 🙂