Hans-Georg Beyer holds a position as a Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the Faroe Islands. He has a PhD in Physics from the University of Oldenburg. Hans-Georg Beyer has worked as a researcher in Norway, Brazil and France and has now been a researcher in the Faroe Islands for more than three years.
Why did you decide to move to the Faroe Islands?
My special research field is wind energy, and the Faroe Islands are a natural place for research in my field. I saw an advertisement for a position at the University of the Faroe Islands on the internet and applied for it.
What is the difference between working as a researcher in the Faroe Islands and in other countries you have worked in?
The university is smaller and sometimes it is a problem to get enough students for the engineering field. There is more freedom here to do research in specific topics than in bigger institutions. But it is more difficult to get external funding. There is only one state programme and you can only apply once a year. Faroese researchers are basically entitled to participate in EU programmes but these programmes are very big and Faroese institutes do not have the manpower to organize projects of their own definition.
Do you have the same career perspectives here as elsewhere?
Career perspectives are not relevant for me anymore. I am 60 years old and hopefully this is my last employment. I have moved around a lot and now I want to stop moving.
What is it like living in the Faroe Islands?
The living situation is not very different from in Norway. I like the Nordic lifestyle. It is less stressful and less bureaucratic than in Germany. The health care is very comfortable. I have a cronical disease and need to go the hospital every three months to get a set of pills. I can do that easily here without filling any forms and waiting for a long time.
Is it difficult to be integrated in the society as a foreigner?
It turned out to be more difficult than in Norway. The main problem is the language. At coffee meetings everybody speaks Faroese and there is little help to catch the topic people are chatting on so you can follow the conversation.
Have you tried to learn the language?
There are very few opportunities to learn Faroese. I get along fine with English at the official part at work but when the official part stops I have a problem. I am not totally lost reading but the spoken words are different which makes it very complicated.