News - May 21, 2015

‘Standing on a chair to sing’

Who? Alie Stegerman, MSc Earth and Environment
What? Four months internship at Stockholm University
Where? Stockholm, Sweden

‘When I arrived in Stockholm my supervisor was around for just two days. He had to go to a conference. I was given a pile of articles to read and had to make do with that. When he came back, he was admitted to hospital with a burnout. Luckily, I shared an office with some other students. They got me through it.

The subject of my internship was interesting. I had to analyse a dataset of 30 years of fauna and environmental factors taken from the Baltic Sea. Nothing had ever been done with it. Owing to eutrophication, the oxygen-starved areas of the Baltic Sea are expanding, and fauna is disappearing as a consequence. By linking the fauna to the environmental factors I could identify the most important causes of the disappearance.

In Stockholm I lived in a villa with 18 other people. Unfortunately, I had really strange housemates, who either smoked dope or were dealing it, hung around in the kitchen all day and did very little. Luckily there was also a normal French girl, with whom I discovered after two months that we lived just ten minutes’ walk from the sea. You see, Stockholm lies between all sorts of islands, so the sea looks more like a lake.


I also joined an orchestra, which was truly the best way of being introduced to Swedish student life. The orchestra rehearsed on Sunday, then did a performance and ended the day with a full-blown threecourse meal and a party. Students often made a speech and then got up on to their chairs to sing. I also went to a student orchestra festival in Uppsala, attended by orchestras from all over Scandinavia. I performed in various places; it was really fun. Sweden suits me really well. Everything is much more relaxed there, which can also be frustrating at times as I’m a very efficient Dutch person. But the Swedes are all amazingly friendly and I felt I had complete freedom. Perhaps because I had absolutely no social commitments. The only time I missed Wageningen was on May 5th.’