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Bc. Vojtěch Škara, CTU Prague, ročník 5

Faculty Civil Engineering
Field of study civil engineering
Field of internship Engineering, Other
Specialization of Internship- - - - - - - - - -
Internship period (from - to) 15.6.2016 - 15.9.2016
Internship duration (weeks) 13
Transport (means, price) plane (paid by company, price starting at 34 EUR)
Insurance/Insurance company credit card insurance, CSOB
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) no
Price of Visa -
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Norway, Oslo, Tromsø, Harstad
Internship reference number NO-2016-000039

About the country

Location of the place

Norway is a country in the north of Europe. Outline of the country is rather long, it is a longer way from Oslo to Tromsø than from Prague to Oslo and it is still not the end of Norway. Landscape of shoreline is disrupted by many bays and gulfs, called buktas and fjords. They create together with numerous valleys and mountain ranges conditions extremely difficult to transport goods and people. However, this obstacle was overcome by locals with admirable passion and invention.

Original inhabitants of Norway can be characterized as blond creatures, who never feel cold and do not know, how to use a tissue. In the past they successfuly conquered several countries or state formations, such as Greenland, England or Moscow. However, they have become less active since oil was discovered and their main activities are watching huge plazma TVs and eating waffles. Original inhabitants are accompanied by a big number of imigrants from all over the world. The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world (1st taking in account just "normal" countries), which explains, why many Norwegians does not understand problems, which people in other countries have to face to.

City

Tromsø

Tromsø is a capital of Troms region. Both Tromsø and Harstad are not very interesting. You can go through the town in a day and see everything. Much more interesting is landscape and nature around. Well, there are some attractions in Tromsø: The aquarium worths of visiting. There you can meet sea-calfs and touch some other sea creatures. Both Tromso bridges are also something, you should not miss. Actually, you can´t miss them.. unless you fly in and out the town without seeing anything else.


Harstad

Harstad is really a dull city and most interesting about it is actually its dullness. It is kind of subregional centre and has just 23 000 inhabitants, which is even less than for example Česká Lípa, Czech republic. If you have same passion for lost places, such as North Dakota or Apatity, then Harstad is a good start. Surrounding is again much more interesting. Islands Bjarkøy, Rolla and Andørja can be recommended.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

All the internsip was one big trip. I can name just a few places, which were interesting for me. Perhaps, someone can use them as assistance, if planning an own trip to Troms.

a) Kvaløya island (Whale island) with typical "tropical-like" yellow beaches made of pieces of coral near Sommarøy and view of Tromsø from a very steep wall of Store Blåmann.

b) Massive sand delta with an evolving water stream in Breivikeidet. Thousands of years of sedimentation and plant colonization accompanied by old watchtower from cold war era.

c) The trip to Finnish border in Kilpisjarvi or along strong Reiselva river in deep and long valley with finnish settlement and typical long motor boats. Just be aware of unbelievable amount of mosquitos and flies.

d) Breathtaking views on Arnøya island, typical small-island coastline lifestyle, birds population, old viking settlement and lands-end feel in Årviksand. One can spot a white reindeer, eagle or a sea culf. As everywhere, you can not miss interesting geological features.

e) The fishing trip in Sørreisa and mountain hiking above Torsken, when clouds are trapping all surrounding fjords except that where you stand. Just look around and you realize, how many fish is underwater - important part of local economy.

f) Massive tide in the fjord of Andørja island and other amazing magics of nature on this island, together with swimming in a bay of Rolla island near Sørrellnes.

g) Nice people on Bjarkøya island, who just love their island and among others its bird colony. You can be sure, that if you seek a lonely place in Troms, you will always find some. :-)

h) And of course Lofoten, which does not belong to Troms, but were part of our itinerary. Lofoten are mountains and beaches. It deserves more time than what we had. However, places, which we saw, worths of visiting, seeing and exploring. That counts Unstad beach loved by surfers; Kvalvika beach known from a movie North of sun (there displayed as a lonely beach, today maybe the most crowded place in Lofoten); small fishing villages of Nusfjord and Henningsvær; Reine with amazing view over the bay, islands and mountain walls.

Employer

Employer

Employer was the surveying company called Exact. The Exact is originally swedish company with branch offices in Norway and the Czech republic.

Work description

My work was divided in two parts. First project took part in northern Norway in region Troms. Second part was supposed to be held in Oslo. However, I took part only in the first part becouse of the lack of projects in Oslo.

The project in Troms took 7 weeks, client was norwegian mapping authority, so called Statens Kartverket. Our goal was to refine exact position of the net of geodetic points. Main focus was on its vertical position, i.e. height above the sea level. This was done by static GPS stations, these measurements were controled by RTK GPS (real time kinematic), which is known from ordinary construction sites. The measurement of position was always compensated by measuring two points at once in so called vectors. Measurement in vectros took up to 5 hours, which gave us moments for relax, lunch or small walk around.

We moved gradually from north to south of Troms during the project. We were capable to measure 7 points per day and person, when we worked hard...sometimes just 2, when the terrain was difficult. There were always two persons working in the field and I can say it was a great pleasure to work with both Czech/Slovak guys, who I worked with.

The thing, which I rate very positive is, that we were fully responsible for the field work. We arranged by ourselves accomodation, cars, we planned the day and decided what area should be measured which day. Our satisfaction was a very good rating of our work by the client.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

18 000 NOK per month, 15 500 after taxation, as agreed in the contract

Language requirements

English - communicative skills
Norwegian - just the sentence "Hello, I will meassure a point in your garden."
Czech - to be honest, maybe this was the only language, which was necessary. I was in a team with Czech colleagues and all communication concerning work was held in Czech/Slovak

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

In the first half of the internship, when we worked in the north, we booked accomodation for ourselves and company (employer) paid it. We used application AirBnB, quality of apartments was very high, becouse these flats and cottages are used mainly by turists. We tried five locations during month and a half. One was a modern house used by a family leaving for a holiday, one was an old cottage before renovation and three were designed just for visiting turists.

I lived in a lovely flat hired by Romanians in the second half of my stay. I found this flat at Finn.no. Price for period of 6 weeks was 7 500 NOK. We did not agree on a tenant contract with IAESTE, which was the biggest problem of the whole stay. This issue unfortunately pushed down the service of IAESTE Norway and is closely described in the paragraph "Cooperation with IAESTE".

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

I did not meet any in person. I spent barely a week in Oslo.

Meeting other foreign students

It might be quite difficult to meet anyone in Troms some days. So meeting students and especially foreign is quite specific question, but yes, once we met a student from Slovakia, who worked at Tromsø university. It was a nice experience.

Sport and culture

Prevailing sport activity was turning the steering wheel to the left and to the right. And yes, culture, that is rather a philosophical question. What is culture up in the north behind polar circle? Did I experience any? I think I would need more time to answer this question. I should mention some zoos and aquariums, but that is really not the case. Local inhabitants were observed closely during weekends and the only obvious activity was shopping in the shopping centre, that is also not the case. The case is, that nord-norwegians are similar to bears. They look for socialization only when neccessary. When proximity to other creatures diminish to less than 2 km, they become to feel uncomfortable. Therefore they prefere outdoor activities, where is just a small chance, they will meet someone unfamiliar. This can be fishing, sea-kayaking, hunting, hiking, blåbær tur (picking blueberries), just friluftliv in general ("living in the fresh air"), smoking with fellows (mainly Finland), drinking beer while watching your sheep, playing cards in your camper car. Winters are tough, so named activities are accompanied, as one norwegian said, by playing computer games.

Food, local specialties

Local cusine is mainy about fish. There are not many places to grow grain or other crops, so apart from "normal" meat, such as pork, chicken and beef (which you can of course buy in shops) the fish and reindeer meat are main sources of proteins. The northern Norway is well known for its generous fishing spots. Even a beginner, such as me, can catch easily a cod or a pollock. There are several ways how to prepare a fish. You can get dried torsk (cod), smoked salamon, "melted" lutefisk or "rotten" gravlax. You really do not want to know, how rotten fish smells. I can confirm, that even factory for dried cod smells as a big pile of dog´s poos. Anyway, fish industry is after fish turism the main source of income in Troms, so you can find many salamon farms all over the region (that circles on water).

I am also a big fan of fresh multe (in Czech ostružník moruška), bright orange berry growing in swamps. It is an endangered specie in the Czech republic, but is picked in Norway and used to make jams.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Morse or postal pigeons

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Enjoy it!

What not to forget with you

passport, raincoat, working/hiking shoes

Benefits of the internship

The internsip was definitely benefitial. Some posts above might sound a bit awkward, but the truth is, that I really enjoyed the stay. I enjoyed most of all the traveling. We got absolute freedom and one car each. The whole planning was up to us. I was able to do small turns and trips during free time and time of waiting. I discovered for myself the most hidden fjords, villages and pieces of shoreline including wildlife and extraoridinary geological features. The special beauty of northern landscape is hidden in details and it takes some time to accomodate your eye on them.

Other benefit was an introduction to surveying techniques and instruments and to nordic style of work, which is slightly different and comfortable in many ways.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

This note is quite important. In my opinion, finding housing for trainees is the most important part of foreign IAESTE office (talking about Norway). Most of the people, who were able to sucessfully apply for the internship is capable to find the way from the airport. It is also no problem to visit a tax office after a recommendation of a specialized emploee in the company. The only but very important responsibility is then to find a suitable accomodation. I was offered an apartment with a rent of 7 000 NOk per month. I know, Norway is expensive, but not so much, especially when my colleagues were offered a flat for 3 500 NOK per month. I was told, that this is the only option. After less than a week time I signed a contract for a lovely flat in a comfortable quarter for 5 000 NOK per month, which I found at Finn.no. It was not difficult at all and I searched for it independently on IAESTE. But searching at Finn.no is just the minimum what I would expect from IAESTE member, who arranges accomodation. Everyone can use Finn.no. I would expect some invention, some added value like using extra contacts, contacting locals etc. When my skills are at the same level as skills of arriving trainees, then maybe it is not a position adequate for me.

I want to highlight this point, because it might be not obvious for some Norwegians, what amount of money matters and how important this issue really is. We were also offered a trip to zoo in Grimstad. Expected costs were 1 450 NOK (fee 250, zoo 299, transport to zoo 276, transport to Grimstad from Oslo at least 600). That is 25 % of the net monthly salary in the region, where do I come from. Thinking realistic, am I thinking about visiting a zoo for this price with organization, which says it is impossible to find better price for the accomodation?

Overall experience with IAESTE

good

Student's website

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Employer's webiste

http://www.teamexact.com/

Other useful links

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Other comments

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