Master Thesis at NTNU Experience Report

Location: Norwegian University of Technology in Trondheim, Norway

Author: Artur Klingbeil

Time: May to November 2017

My name is Artur Klingbeil and I would like to present my experiences as a master’s student in Norway. I have learned of the Nordic Water Network and the opportunity to visit Norway when I discovered the Water Week after finishing my courses in fluid water dynamics (Strömungslehre I +II). This was a chance that I could not pass on. After a successful application I went to Trondheim for a week in October 2016 and experienced lectures and organized excursions as well as the opportunity to see the city of Trondheim and a student cabin in the woods. In addition, we would listen to several presentations from professors and PhD candidates at NTNU. One of these presentations left a lasting impression, as it dealt with an intriguing sociological topic and was performed in an entertaining way. Markus Fischer told me that it would be possible to work on a thesis during a DAAD-funded stay abroad. Therefore, a few weeks after my return to Germany I decided to contact Manuel Franco Torres, the PhD candidate responsible for this presentation, in order to ask him whether he could imagine supervising a master’s student. For the next few months we kept mailing each other trying to find a suitable topic for the thesis. As Manuel was working on his PhD from his office in Oslo, we decided that I would come to Oslo after visiting Trondheim first.

In the summer of 2017 I finally came to Trondheim, where I enrolled as a student of NTNU. I received a room at the NTNU dormitory in Moholt and spent the following weeks mostly reading papers on different sociological topics. I decided that a hiking trip throughout Trondelag would be a welcome change. The NTNU offers several cabins (koiene in Norwegian) that can be booked by students and employees. These cabins are incredibly cheap, and we booked four of them planning a 5-day hike from cabin to cabin. In the end I stayed in Trondheim for a month before moving to Oslo. Although I received student accommodation in Trondheim, this was not possible in Oslo, as I was an NTNU student and therefore not eligible for student dorms in Oslo. Therefore, I tried to find a room on my own while I was still in Germany, using Facebook groups and FINN.no – a Norwegian advertisement website similar to ebay Kleinanzeigen with sections for jobs, housing, cars and various items for sale. When I stumbled upon an interesting ad for a room in a shared flat, my supervisor proposed to represent me and visit the residents. Eventually, I got the room and lived there for the rest of my stay. Not only did I find my accommodation through FINN.no, but I also bought several items and sold my bike. This website is very helpful.

In Oslo I received a desk and a notebook from Multiconsult, the company where my supervisor was working. Therefore, I would go to the office every weekday focusing on my thesis and relax on the weekends. The work environment at Multiconsult was great and my research for the thesis was both challenging and fun. In the course of the following months I gained greater insight into the topic and developed more confidence working in a field that was completely new to me. As I was speaking English on a daily basis and read papers that were almost exclusively in English, I experienced no barrier to writing the thesis in English.

However, research is not the only exciting activity in Norway. The country is famous for its breathtaking nature and one particular chain of islands called Lofoten offers arguably the most astonishing scenery of the country. Hence, a trip to Lofoten perfected my stay in Norway and I would recommend it to every nature lover that has the chance of travelling to these islands. In addition to several hikes through beautiful landscape we also managed to take a remarkable albeit short cruise with the iconic Hurtigruten – the Norwegian Coastal Express – seeing the Lofoten fjords.

All in all, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit memorable places in Norway, get to know the Norwegian culture, improve my English skills, work on a topic that was previously unknown to me and have thought-provoking and amusing conversations with many people. I would like to thank both the TU Berlin, NTNU and Multiconsult as well as the Nordic Water Network and DAAD for making this stay possible. I would like to offer my special thanks to my mentor from TU Berlin, Markus Fischer, who inspired me to conduct my thesis in Norway and to my mentor from NTNU, Manuel Franco Torres who kept a sense of humor when I was lost in the complexity of governance. To sum up, I would definitely recommend this opportunity to have an unforgettable experience.