Our BIMM Berlin students come from all over the globe to explore their love of music, and each person’s journey from their hometown to Berlin is different. Ylva Brandtsegg hails from Inderøy – a picturesque peninsula in central Norway whose name literally means ‘inner island’. Here she compares her new home with her hometown, tells us about her early days in Berlin, and lets us know what she loves the most about studying in the city.
What’s the biggest difference between Inderøy and Berlin?
Well, Inderøy and Berlin are two completely different places. First of all, Berlin is a big city… while Inderøy is a really small town in the countryside in Norway. I would say the biggest difference is the amount of things happening. In Berlin, you can find a new event to go to every day… while in Inderøy the exciting things are really spread out across the year. There is also a bigger variety of people from different cultures in Berlin, which makes it very interesting.
How does the music scene in Berlin compare to Inderøy?
Both music scenes are very good, but Berlin’s is, of course, much bigger. In Inderøy, the biggest genre is probably jazz – we have a jazz festival every year and also a jazz school. Other genres which people tend to perform are pop and rock. In addition to the jazz school, we also have a music high school which makes the music scene bigger in Inderøy than in the surrounding towns. We don’t have that many venues to play at, but it’s not too hard to get gigs if you’re up for driving a bit.
Berlin, on the other hand, has a huge, varied and vibrant music scene, where you can find absolutely everything across all genres. The techno scene, for example, is massive here, but non-existent in Inderøy. The pop/rock scene, which I am most invested in, is also very welcoming here, so it’s not super hard to get gigs if you work at it.
How did you make friends in Berlin?
It took me a little while, actually. I started studying at another school where people had very different interests to me, and because of this I found it hard to connect with most of them. I had one Norwegian friend in Berlin who had started at BIMM when I started at the other school, and through him I got to know a lot of BIMM students, who I felt I had much more in common with. We quickly started a band, Ritzy Park, with some of the people I got to know, and through this band I made close friends and even more connections.
How does the food in Berlin differ to Inderøy?
I feel like the vegetarian/vegan culture is really big here in Berlin, as it’s really easy to get vegetarian food everywhere – in some cases, people here almost look at you weirdly if you eat meat! In inderøy, it’s basically the opposite – meat culture is really big and people think you’re weird if you don’t eat it. We eat a lot of traditional food, which is usually meat, potatoes and vegetables, but also meals like pasta too. In Berlin, I eat a lot of falafel (and when I say a lot, I mean a lot) which is a quick and cheap meal you can get on every street corner. You can find whichever food you want from across all corners of the globe.
Is there anything you ask your family to post to you from Inderøy that isn’t available here?
Well, one thing I miss from Norway is the amazing chocolate we have. I also usually bring a Brunost (Norwegian brown cheese) when I’ve been visiting home. Eating it in Berlin reminds me of home… also, it’s really good!
What’s your favourite thing about studying at BIMM Berlin?
I love the people here. The network you develop after studying at BIMM for a while is absolutely amazing – so many talented, hard working and interesting people who you get to know and work with. It’s really valuable and super cool!
What advice would you give to someone moving to Berlin to study?
Even if it doesn’t feel right straight away, you should try staying in Berlin a little longer, because you’ll definitely love it eventually! I almost moved back to Norway after one year here, but now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The cultural difference is actually bigger than you might think. For example, Germans are, in general, more strict than Norwegian people – you have to learn not to take it personally if random people yell at you in the streets. This will definitely happen, but they don’t mean it in a bad way! My other advice is to work hard, go out and meet people. There’s so much to see and experience here, and the opportunities are endless!
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