Who are you? – I am Alina from Augsburg, Germany, where I was raised and where I study now. I have been away for my bachelor’s degree but came back afterwards. One thing I noticed when I was back is that you start to see your hometown from a different perspective after you have spent time somewhere else. Suddenly you see things you’ve never taken notice of before in architecture, city life or within your family and friends. In the case of architecture, my changed viewpoint might also be due to my studies: I study Energy efficient building which is a mixture between architecture studies and engineering. Now, I know what I have to pay attention to. Besides, time that you spent away from home always makes you more independent and teaches you something about yourself as meeting and working with other people does. For instance, one thing that I realized just recently while doing group work with architecture students is that I am more an engineer than I am an architect. Architects usually focus first on constructing buildings such that they look fancy. We engineering students emphasize the usability and if everything is in the building that you really need, then we start to look at the beauty of the building. Besides studying sometimes knit and sew functional but beautiful things such as scarfs and blankets because I love handcrafting things and it also relaxes me. Why did you come here? – When I was little I saw movies of the books written by Astrid Lindgren, which somehow later sparked the wish in me to spend some time in Scandinavia with its beautiful nature. Later, I spent some time in Sweden where I worked on a small farm, and in Copenhagen where I did an internship. Only Norway was missing on my list, so I picked Trondheim. How do you perceive the Norwegian culture? – The people here are very distanced at first sight but if you approach them they are very open and kind. There was this party of a Norwegian friend where we sat down on a couch at one side of the room. After a while, some Norwegians joined the party and placed themselves at some chairs all the way at the other side of the room, which was approximately 6 meters away. Talking to them all across that distance felt somehow awkward to me but they didn’t come closer until the music became too loud to understand each other. After a while, you could feel them relaxing and then the talk became nice just as every other talk at a party at home. But there is that great distance at the beginning. I do not want to draw a comparison to Germany because I think that my view is biased: If I approach Germans, they treat me as another German. I never experienced a foreigner’s perspective and in particular the Germans’ reaction foreigners on my own. But in general, the Norwegians are more sporty, better at English and they value inclusion higher than we do. For example, they always continue to speak English when some foreigner is present. However, one thing I feel sure about is that people are less in a hurry than they are at home. This is the same across all scandic countries by the way. Do you have a dream? – I dream of taking the Trans-Siberian Railway from Berlin to Beijing one day. I know this is quite a long journey, but only on trains I really feel like traveling: You see the landscape changing slowly, you spend some time thinking and when you finally arrive, you know that there is some distance between here and where you came from. Traveling on airplanes however is quite stressful and also less comfortable to me.
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