Moved overseas to study the sea

Aurélien has French origin, was born and raised in Thailand, and has studied in Australia. His passion for marine biology brought him to Norway.

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UiB has a very good master’s programme with topics that fit my interests. An important part of the decision was that one whole year is devoted to the master’s thesis.

– With my background I see myself as a global citizen, and when I was to choose a place for my master I found that Bergen and UiB suited my interests best, says Aurélien Delaval.

The 23 year old student is passionate about sustainable resource use of the marine environment, and is currently taking a master’s degree in marine biology at the University of Bergen.

How did you learn about the master's programme at UiB?

- Towards the end of my bachelor’s degree in Australia I spoke with two professors I was working with who both had ongoing projects in Norway. During discussions with them, they recommended a few universities with good master’s programmes in Norway and Europe, including the University of Bergen. I did my research, and found out everything I needed to know from UiB's faculty website.

- Why did you choose Norway and Bergen?

- First and foremost, Bergen has a reputation of being a great centre for marine research, and the University of Bergen has a very good master’s programme in biology. An important part of the decision was that at UiB one whole year is devoted to the master’s thesis, whereas in other institutions six months is more common. My future prospects in research meant that I need a good scientific foundation, and a year-long thesis project gives more opportunity to produce a solid piece of research that can kick-start my career, he says.

- It was also a good decision for my family financially. A master's degree in Australia is very expensive, and institutions in Europe offer high quality master’s degrees at an affordable cost of living.

Finally, the spectacular natural environment in Norway piqued my curiosity as a biologist, and I wanted to experience this for a part of my life.

Why did this particular UiB programme catch your attention?

- Mainly, UiB's strong emphasis on producing scientific research from day one of the programme. The subjects are oriented towards my interests, with good practical experience, and there is high emphasis on producing a solid master’s thesis. I was actually offered a scholarship at a university in Scotland, but the programme at UiB suited me better and opened opportunities to a wider range of areas which I’m dedicated to, so I choose UiB.

– How did UiB welcome you - socially and professionally?

- The welcome was very warm! The introduction programme was well organised - both the international introduction and the master’s introduction at the Department of Biology. The international introduction programme welcomed us to Norwegian culture, while my faculty's master's introduction allowed me to get to know my current colleagues and classmates, with who I meet regularly.

The student from Thailand quickly made new friends and got involved in Bergen life with them. He thinks that the introduction programme was very effective at communicating what he needed to do to settle in Bergen, how things work here, and where he should contact for any diverse needs he might have.

– What do you think about the academic level at UiB?

- I really enjoy the working climate at UiB – it’s both laid back and professional. The academic level is very high and the professors are updated and well informed. The teachers are very passionate about what they are teaching and that inspires me to work harder. I also enjoy that we are able to take field trips in the area – this year we are going to Sognefjorden.

– You just finished your first year in Bergen. How has your stay been so far?

- It has been great! I feel right at home at my faculty, and everybody is doing interesting work, which makes discussions over coffee breaks very entertaining. The staff is competent and friendly, and classes have for the most part been very informative and worthwhile. In my research, my supervisors and other staff have so far been very helpful and supportive, and have shown interest in the students' work, which keeps my motivation high for performing well in my daily studies.

– What is your best advice for people who want to do their master's degree at UiB?

- I can only speak for my faculty and I would say that the master's degree in biology is very research-oriented, so it’s great if you plan on pursuing a career relating to scientific research.

– What are your study or work plans for the future?

- I'm very motivated to undertake a PhD and be involved in academia in my future career. Scientific inquiry fascinates me, particularly in matters that relate to, and help improve, natural resource use in society. I would like to pursue this in Norway and/or Australia. At the same time, I'm drawn to improve sustainable resource use in developing countries, where it is much needed, and assist communities to develop socio-economically in the future.

The 23 year old student is particular interested in his home country Thailand and in the Asia-Pacific region, and his ideal future work would be a combination of academia and industry.


Name: Aurélien Delaval

Age: 23

Home country: Thailand

Master’s programme: Biology with a specialisation in marine biology



1. Mount Løvstakken (I like to think of it as my backyard where I
go when I need some time away from urban life, to think and reflect and
enjoy the nature).

2. The lakes around Mount Fløyen, Mount Rundemanen and Mount Sandviksfjellet.

3. Torgallmenningen, the main square in Bergen city centre

4. Hector's bar

5. Bryggen and the streets around it