Tag Archives: student

Europe is hot – the signs of summer

A sunny day, at last

In small European countries it can be hard to tell whether its summer. If you judge by the weather, then some countries, like Greece, have summer from April to October. Others, like Norway, may have one or two weeks of summer and in some years none at all. In the small European country I live in, summer weather has finally arrived this week. It is not here to stay though – by this weekend the hot and sunny spell will be over. Enjoy it while it lasts is the motto. So I took a swim in the sea. I was the only one on the whole beach who was swimming. Its called the North Sea for a reason. When I moved to Europe, my mom asked me whether I was swimming often. I said “mom, the sea is cold. Its Europe you know”. She was not convinced. “But the Gulf Stream” she said, “is a warm current”. It is. 10 degrees in the winter and no less than 18 in the summer. Significant shrinkage guaranteed all year round.

The North Sea beach is not so crowded on a Sunday

To know whether its summer yet, you have to pay attention. As I was cycling home from work last week, I noticed something unusual. The streets were filled with skaters of all sorts. Suddenly I knew – it was the Wednesday Night Skate – a sign of summer.

Wednesday Night Skate – a sure sign of summer

Another sign of summer are the boats that crowd the waterways. Just as European countries, boats come in all shapes and sizes, and different states of luxury. They do have one thing in common – bridges have to be raised to let them pass. If it wasn’t for the summer state of traffic, the jams would have been huge.

A small European boat

A sure sign of summer is the quiet office. Since my office is at a university, it is even more quiet. Its so empty is rather spooky. And I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against students, and I enjoy teaching them. But its so much calmer on the campus in the summer.

Summer campus

Where are all the students?

The last and most definitive sign of summer are the BBQ’s. Its not Australia here, you can’t just start grilling all year round. You’ll get moist. When the temperatures finally do get into the comfort zone and the skies clear, the grills are lit and small European parks look like a battle zone. I’m a vegetarian, so if you ask me, they smell like a battle zone, too. No one’s asking me though.

Summer in Europe – smokin’ hot!

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Filed under cycling, Europe, Small European things, Work

Student lego

I have survived my first appearance in front of a class full of students. More than that, my first appearance hasn’t scared them all off! Most of them were there for the second round. My conclusions from this initial experience are twofold: 1) when teaching, you learn the most yourself and 2) never wear a black shirt when using chalk on a blackboard.

Also, I can add another feature of a small European country to the list – it sees its language being replaced by English. Even though the course is officially for Bachelor programme students, there are some Masters students from abroad. Since the official language of the Masters education is English, the course (including my part) is being given in English. While this definitely improves the English of the local students, the level of knowledge of their native language suffers. It’s not that they can’t get along in a supermarket or anything. But writing a technical report in their own language instead of in English is something modern students in a SEC just don’t do. So when they get their first job after university with a local firm, they have to learn writing in their own language!

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This week as I came to my work, I was welcomed by this student version of lego.


Filed under Small European things, Work

PhD student vs PhD candidate

There’s some ambiguity about when someone is a PhD student and when a PhD candidate. As far as I know, most European universities don’t make this distinction. Anyway, PhD students are employees of the university engaged in research. They are only called students as part of an academical tradition. Since the term “PhD student” is widely used in English, I prefer to stick with it. I welcome any suggestions and contributions to this topic.

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Filed under Europe, Work