The first lovely sunny days of the year lured all the students outside in the lunch hour last week. Even those who are slogging away at their theses, like Master’s student of Earth and Environment Niels Kijm (23). He savoured a moment of freedom outside on the grass before closeting himself away again with his work.
Luckily Niels has something to look forward to once he has finished his thesis. ‘Then I can do my internship and my idea is to go to Australia for it.’ His study advisor suggested this country once, and the idea has stuck in Niels’ mind ever since. Not only is Australia a hotspot for scientists in his field – geomorphology – but it also strikes him as a fascinating country. ‘I am keen to travel for a year after graduating, preferably in Asia. If I can do my internship in Australia, I can simply stay in that part of the world.’
Niels loves travelling, and especially enjoys hitch-hiking. ‘In the past couple of summers I’ve hitch-hiked to France and Norway, among other places.’ He’s got a radical idea for his trip to Asia: ‘Maybe I can hitch all the way back to Europe from there.’ But he is not sure he will manage it. ‘It is more fun to hitch-hike together with someone else. I’m definitely not going to do that trip on my own.’
With the weekend committee of Pyros study association, Niels is organizing a hitch-hiking competition through Europe this year. He also belongs to badminton association the Lobbers, and to KSV Franciscus student society. Last year he was on the catering committee at KSV too. That was particularly nice during the AID, when the committee had to feed a lot of students. ‘The quantities were bizarre: 35 kilos of mince were delivered in plastic bags. Just try and get that properly cooked in your pan.’ That it was totally out of proportion amused Niels. ‘Try cooking half a salmon. That is quite a different matter to your 5-euro piece of meat.’
Unfortunately for Niels, neither cooking nor travelling is what is on his mind right now. He’s got to finish his thesis first. And that means getting up off the grass and saying goodbye to the nice weather, because he’ll be spending the rest of the day at his computer.