One month in Bergen—Life of a software engineer in the most beautiful city of Norway

26th of July-26th of August. I have been in Bergen for exactly one month, and my life has changed dramatically…

I live in a cosy flat in the city centre, close to all the attractions of the city. It has three rooms, one bathroom, and two little storage rooms. The kitchen has gas stoves instead of electric hot plates, something rare here in Norway since cities have no gas networks, and this makes me feel a little bit at home. Unfortunately, there is no living room, but my room is large, about 16m², and has a sofa.

I share the flat with other two nice Norwegian guys, Thorolf and Willy. The life at home is a bit different from what I am used to having in Italy or during my Erasmus. People spend most of the time in their rooms. Sometimes they come to the kitchen to prepare some food, but they even eat back in their room. Kind of weird to me, but I was told that Norwegians tend to be reserved and that this behaviour is normal…

The company where I work is not so big, and sometimes I feel like I work in a family-managed business. It is located in the city centre so that I can be at work in 10 minutes with my bicycle. I have flexible working hours, but in general, I work from 9:00 to 17:00.

I work closely with Mikal, the guy who helped me in finding this position. We will have to develop an entirely new project about surveillance systems starting almost from scratch. The way is long, but we want to do the things in the right way, as Ian Sommerville teaches in the Software Engineering book. 🙂 We agree on the goals of the project, but we have diverging opinions about its implementation. As you may know, I am a believer and advocate of free software, but Mikal is an enthusiastic Microsoft fan. While I recognise that some of the Microsoft solutions could do better than the free/open source alternatives, I am a bit concerned about becoming a locked-in company. Anyway, the final word on the technology is always up to the technical leader so that we will see.

Soon I will receive my first salary, and I am looking forward to feeling some economic stability in Norway. Here the cost of living is a bit higher than in the rest of Europe. The rent of the room costs 3000 NOK (about 375 EUR) per month, which is not so much more than in other countries, but a half litre beer, for example, costs 50 NOK (about 6 EUR). The salary, however, even normalised to the cost of living, can be considerably higher than in the rest of Europe.

My parents sent me a package of 30 Kg, which took almost one month to be delivered. It was stopped by the customs at the Italian border because of some “missing documentation”, but it made it through in the end. Now I can finally eat some decent food. 🙂 I do not like a lot of things about my home country, but I still believe that Italy has the best cuisine in the world.

I came to Bergen with few contacts left from my Erasmus exchange and the short trip I had here in Easter, but this was more than enough to get to know lots of new people. The bad news for me is that most of them have just left or are leaving soon. Thank you Mauro, Silje, and the other guys at the “Auberge epagnole”, you have been very gentle. I hope to keep in touch with you and to see you again, maybe here in Bergen or maybe somewhere else in the world.

And by the way, Silje taught me a little bit of Norwegian (and I taught her a little bit of Italian). At the moment I can only say childish sentences like “Jeg heter Alessandro og kommer fra Italia” (My name is Alessandro, and I come from Italy), but I hope to improve my skills soon.

I have also registered to Facebook, a social network which is popular here. Everyone I met so far has a profile there, and it seems like this media is going to be a usual means of communication in the future, at least here in the North. I see Facebook as a useful tool, but I still prefer to get to know people the old way: face-to-face, possibly in front of a glass of wine. 🙂

Anyway, I see that I have written too much this time, and my stomach is reminding me that it is time to eat something. I will keep you posted!

7 Comments

  1. Nice article very interesting to the readers .Now Iam waiting for a software job in Bergen.Let me know about name of software companies.

  2. Ariel Gabizon

    17 January 2014 at 15:27

    I am going to Bergen soon, and enjoyed reading this. Thanks!

  3. Mr Hypothesis

    6 January 2014 at 12:10

    Nice article there,I love Norway, never been there but always wished that i will get there someday.

  4. Oh, interessante, un italiano a Bergen?! Non ci conosciamo, ma entro natale verrò a Bergen anche io per lavoro e stavo sbirciando un pò come è la mia futura cittadina… Concordo con il tuo post sul non accontentasi ed andarsene dall’Italia: mica siamo capitani, non siamo certo tenuti ad affondare con lo stivale;)

    A presto!

  5. Alessandro remember that Ian Sommerville, even though is a guru in his area, is also a Professor 🙂 and you aren’t at university :). Don’t be too verbose in your things…( but tidy and rigorous IGTechnology “docet”)… obviously I’m joking with you 🙂 ( you are more expert than I am with work )… so I’m very happy you are fine with your work and your life in Bergen… I hope will be the same for me when I find a good work as well :)..

    Take it easy dude 🙂

    byez

  6. Ciao Ale!!
    noto con piacere che ti stai adattando alla vita norvegese: bicicletta..vita da camera… complimenti!!!
    Carino l’agettivo che hai dato ai tuoi nuovi coinquilini e altrettanto carino il fatto che tua nuova macchina fotografica ti stia dando delle belle soddisfazioni..vuol dire che in fondo sei sempre il SOLITO ALESSANDRO!!;)
    Come ti accennavo ho provato a guardare le foto di Bergen ma in qsti gg sono emotivamente troppo fragile per poterlo fare..

    Ti auguro di poter trarre il meglio da questa esperienza!!!

    Un bacione

  7. Nina Grossmann

    28 August 2007 at 11:50

    Hej Alessandro!
    Du har virkelig skreved så mye! Jeg håper at du vil synes det i Norge. Forresten liker jeg bildene dine!
    Forstår du det? Alright, here ends my Norwegian. Keep studying, good luck with the language, but please keep up the Italian cuisine! And your wonderful coffee…
    Greetings from Hamburg, Nina

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