Published on: 16 May 2019
Written by: Francesca Drummer

Can you start off by telling us who you are? Just tell us everything.

Everything? My name is Isabel, I am 23 year old. Yes I still know it. I am from Norway, city of Stavanger. It is the best city, you have been there.

Yes I can confirm. Everybody should go and visit it.

I study AI, shocking news. I am in my third year and according to plan I will finish February next year. So I am doing 3,5 years. And what I will do after that I don’t know. I have parents…

Crazy?! How many parents do you have?

I have 2. Well some people have more, like 4 or 3. But I have 2 and I have a twin sister. I used to have a cat, but not anymore. Also I live in Ubbergen, which is closer to Nijmegen than I think 95% of the people think it is. 

Talking about the distance from Ubbergen to the city & uni and how it just feels longer, because there is a hill inbetween (yes an actual hill!).

So what do you usually do in your freetime?

A lot of the time I don’t feel like I have a freetime.  

I think we all can relate to that feeling.

But I do have freetime, but somehow my freetime always gets filled up like 2 weeks in advance. So if people ask me: “Oh do you wanna cook tonight?”. Then I am like you should have booked this appointment weeks ago. So also please don’t be sad if I don’t ask you but if you ask me then I will definetly kick you in my agenda. ahah

So important to remember at everybody who wants to do something with Isabel: Please ask her two weeks in advance. 

But yeah what do I do in my freetime… I go to the gym to do sports. I go there when I can, which is usually three to four times a week.

What kind of sport do you do there?

So I recently started animal flow, which is actually really cool and a very good exercise.

For better understanding Isabel demonstrated some animal flows she learned: the crab and the beast. 

And do you also do something else than animal flow?

Yes I do. I also go to the gym, and do hip hop but that is not at the gym but at a dance studio. In theory I do that every Friday but I have not been there for five weeks, because of a lot of trips. But I am going today! I think they also had some holidays in between so I am hoping that I did not miss out too much. 

Do you have any performances so we can go and check out what you learn there?

No we actually do not have any performances which is really sad, because you are not working towards a goal. I could have joined dance fiber, but its 45 min. bike away from my house, so no. Besides that I also like to do climbing and boldering. I like to move.

So you also must like the biking?

Yes I do. I really enjoy that we bike everywhere. But I hate spinning. Have you ever been to spinning? 

No I haven’t. 

Don’t try it. It is horrible. Well obviously there are people who like spinning, otherwise they wouldn’t go there. But I hate it. 

We talk about how everybody at sports looks like they are not dying while you are.

Well so now we all know that you are from Norway. But why did you decide to come to Nijmegen to study AI?

I decided to come here, because I googled “Robotics study bachelor NORWAY” and then this popped up. So I was like, lets read about it to see if there is a university in Norway that they are collaborating with so I could go on exchange. But then I read the program and I thought is sounded really cool.

So when you searched for a study, where you already focused on robotics?

Well I did not even know that you could study AI. But I was thinking towards the field of robotics. So I thought this sounded cool, because it was not only robots but also other stuff.

By now is it still the robots that you are most interested in? Or what else is the most interesting part?

I really like programming. I think that is really fun. I also find all the neuroscience things very interesting. Well I find them interesting in theory and then I sit there in the lecture hall and just want to sleep and be like “Why am I learning about this?”. But I really enjoy all my electives. In the first part it was more about security and hacking. So there was a little programming but mostly privacy issues and stuff. Then this quarter is more like the neuroscience and ethics part. But I think both sides are really cool.

So what about after your bachelor? Did you already think about if you want to do your masters here or are you going back to Norway?

I did not look at it yet. But you once talked about Finland and then I thought, oh Finland sounds cool.

Then we talked a bit about studying in Finland and how happy people are there according to statistics. We came to the conclusion that there might be some drugs flying around in the air. 

Well you already told us that you went on a lot of trips recently and I one of them was the Sweden trip. Organized by the SweC which you are the chair of. So can you tell us where you went and what you did in Sweden? 

Well we went to visit our sister association Kogvet in Linköping. So obviously we went to Linköping, which is a mediocre sized city. It is like Nijmegen sized but has its own airport. 

Talking about how small the building of the airport was.

Then we also went to Stockholm for a few days. So what did we do? At Linköping we joined some of there student activities. On the first day we participated at a so called sittning. We weren’t really sure what it was but then it turned out to be like… it is hard to explain, but it was a little bit similar to a cantus. You were sitting at tables, and then there were codexes lying around. There were people hosting the evening.

Like a praesidium?

Not really, it was not very official. They would just be like, “Hi welcome to this!”. They would announce the years best costume for example. There was really nice food, we got a three course meal. There were proper waitress. It was not really strict. For example you could leave at any moment you wanted to. Which was funny because especially some of the first years were like “Are we allowed to go to the toilet?”. And yes we were. And there were just songs every now and then. Mainly it was songs performed by the choir where they had made their own lyrics to some famous songs. In the end there were about ten songs where eight of them were about sex and two about drugs or something.

It sounds fun!

Yes it was and the coolest thing was that it was an activity where students would go to anyways. So in total we were around 80 people where we were 12 of them. So that was really nice. Other than that we visited companies, we went sightseeing and we went to a city close to Linköping which is called Longköping. It was really pretty and yeah we did a lot of fun stuff. I think my favorite was to just experience how it was to be a student there and their lectures were also really nice.

What would tell a person that is going to Sweden what they would have to see or try out? Based on the things that you have experienced.

 Well from the things I experienced I definetly think they should experience Walpurg which is a national holiday. It is celebrated everywhere but for a different amount of days. There is two cities where they celebrate it a lot. One of the is Uppsala I know, of the other one I do not remember the name of. But there they do stuff for almost a week. In Linköping it is just one day but that day is pretty big. So that was really cool. I would also recommend to see the nature and Stockholm.

But the nature is not that hilly right? Like you are used to in Norway.

No Linköping is very flat actually. When we landed everyone was like, “Are we back in the Netherlands?”. Stockholm is more hilly, but from what we saw it was nothing like Norway. But it is also, Sweden is more flat in the south and the more north you get the more mountains they have. I would very recommend going there, but if you go there on a study trip then it is hard to give recommendations, because you experience it very differently and do other things then you usually would.  

However, I know that besides this trip you also travelled quite a lot already. Can you tell us about your most exciting trip?

Well I have been on a lot of different trips and different places, there are so many things that make trips cool. For example the trip with you, Elena and Ellen last summer was really nice, because I got to show you guys around in my country and hike a lot and gives you a really nice feeling. But I think the most eventful thing I ever did was in one of my gap years when I travelled for four month in South America. That was really cool as well. But I think every trip has a different aspect what makes it really cool.

Would you like to go again on a longer trip through South America? 

Yes I would like to. There are still a lot of countries I would like to see. But yeah… A part of me really wants to go and a part of me is also a little tired of the whole thought of that you constantly meet a lot of new people and you get really well along and then you already know that you not going to see them anymore after two days and you never gonna see them again. 

Talking a bit about the people that Isabel is still in contact with from her travels and that some of them also came to visit her here in Nijmegen.

And then now you are AI* of the month. Did you expect this to happen?

Well it sounds cocky when I say yes, but yes. But not because I thought, well now I deserve it. But I really got the feeling when a lot of people were asking me if I will be coming. Still I became very embarrassed of the speech of Sander, because I just don’t know how to handle my blushing skills. 

I don’t think anyone is able to control that.

True, but I turn ultra-tomato red  in an instance. But I heard that someone said that this means a lot of people love you. So I hope that is true.

Well then it must be true, because we all love you. So now your professional opinion is needed. What do you think CognAC really needs?

Oh lord, … I feel like I should have been warned about this question. *silence* *some more silence* Well actually what I think and also really liked about Sweden and a lot of people commented. At Linköping at least the university has places like in the city center which are only meant for them and which are just bars for them. But I would be cool to have a CognAC chill and hangout space, because we basically only have the TK. Well we have the board room, but that is not supposed to be the place to hang out. The TK is a really nice place to catch up with people, but it is meant for studying so it is not so cozy and you do not want to disturb people too much. So it would be cool to have a chill zone. You could chill in the north canteen but it would be nice to have something on our own. 

Talking about that the board room would be a good chilling place if it would be a bit larger, because chilling on top of all the boxes is not that cozy. If you want to know if it is really not cozy then ask Isabel about it as she tried to lay and chill on top of the boxes.

So now image you would have all CognACs attention for 30 seconds what would you tell them?

Izzy screaming “ahhh” to express being overwhelmed. 

Omg what would you say.  I would say that I am really happy to came here and meet all of you cool people, because I think AI is like generally, and I hope that is a feeling that a lot of people share, a place where you can really be yourself. And I think that is something that my own culture at home lacks a lot. I think people can go through things and they can be open about it. For example, here when I am having a shitty day then I can be open about it or I can do retarded shit. Which I think most people have noticed that I like to do. And no one really cares and at home people care too much about those things and you always have to give the impression that you are doing fine. Which I think is ridiculous, because everybody has hard times. 

Then what most people I guess see from you is that you are always socializing a lot, hugging lots of people and spreading lots of positive energy. So can you tell us what your secret life motto is?

Oh I think, I just, well I am definitely not always positive, but with a lot of things I just choose to not bother that much. With a lot of things I get really enjoyed or irritated and then I just allow myself to be irritaded for a few seconds and then I just try it to let go. Because you only waste energy on that and there are so many things that are much more important. Than that little thing you are enjoyed at. It helps you with other people to be able to look past that one annoying thing that someone did and not make such a big thing out of it.

I think that is a really nice attitude. 

Isabel telling an example from when she went to Portugal for her honors program and someone made a huge deal out of it when they had to wait for 3 hours at the airport. 

So you also doing an honors program. Can you tell us what it is about?

My honors program is called “Global Problems” and I do the track “Biodiversity”. So it is basically about plants and animals. And that’s really nice because it is very different from AI. That’s why I choose to do it, so I can have a little breathing break. I think it is also super nice to get to know some people outside from AI, because it was very AI focused for a while, because I did not have time to get to know other people. So that was really nice to do that. I think this semester it was more work then I expected it to be and last semester less work than expected. So I guess there is a balance in between somewhere. I really like it and I heard from a few people that are considering doing it and I would definitely recommend to do it. Just make sure that you are aware of the time it will take. I mean there are people, that can do AI, honors, socialize, eat and sleep all at the same time, but I am not one of them. But that is completely fine.

Then thanks for the interview. I enjoyed it and do you have any last shout outs?

Izzy screaming “ahhh” to again.

Okay so I am sorry if I forget people here. Shoutout to “the Normans”, shout out to the SweC, to homies, and to my previous mentor group and my future mentor group. Don’t know who they are yet. I think most people know who I care about so.