Thursday, January 02, 2014

An Update From Liege: AKA the Undead Blog moves again.

Damn just found this post from the begining of 2012 that 
i thought I'd already published ah well better late than never:

So I thought is was time for an end of year post for 2012, considering all that's happened during the year.
Note: I've absolutely no idea how many people still have this in there RSS feeds, so it will be interesting to see if any one views this.

So as those who know me are probably aware I applied for and was awarded a Scholarship to study for a PhD in Genomics/Sequencing in late 2011 by my employer (LIC). After investigating a few options I decided that the best supervisor for my interests would be Michel Georges head of Animal Genomics at The University of Liege based in Liege, Belgium.
Liege - View From the Stairs - Colour
Liege & The Meuse @ Sunset - December 2012

After this was agreed on by all parties it was decided that it would be best to start in the first Semester of the European academic year, October 2012. As a result I spent most of 2012 living in NZ working for LIC on there next generation sequencing project and taking a few papers at the local University (University of Waikato) and attending a couple of conferences.

San Diego 2012
San Deigo, USA - Jan 2012
University of Waikato - Autumn Morning - Nex
University of Waikato - Hamilton, NZ
Knox Church,  Dunedin, NZ
Knox Chapel - Dunedin, NZ
Then in September 2012 I packed up and moved south from Hamilton (NZ) to Christchurch (NZ) where I spent a few weeks catching up with friends and family before leaving for Liege.

Banks Peninsula - Canterbury NZ
I arrived in Liege on the 1st of October 2012 after 33 hours in transit (Christchurch > Singapore > Frankfurt > Brussels > Liege). Dropped at the door of an apartment I had for 2 months I had time to put away my luggage and then was picked up by a very helpful member of Michels staff. Who showed me around the area, helped setup a Bank account pointed out the Bus routes and then took me to the lab and introduced me to the other members who thankfully all speak English to some degree or another and thus my time in Liege began.

A few Interesting things about Liege:

Liege is one of the major cities of Wallonia, the French speaking region of Belgium and as such French is the primary language. This can make for interesting times for a monolingual English speaker, as many of the older locals (30+), speak very little English or prefer to pretend they don't speak any.
Belgium is slightly obsessed with your address. Unlike New Zealand (at least as far as I'm aware) the location in which your living is of critical importance when ever you try to deal with any official in Belgium. As such you are required to register where you are living with the Local city hall (both Citizens and Visitors) if your planning to stay for more than a short period of time. Once you've registered with the city hall they send a Police officer to visit you at the location you've specified to confirm you do actually live there and the Police register it as your place of Residence. This can cause so irritation if you've just arrived and are looking for an apartment as you need a permanent address for Residency, you need Residency for Health Insurance and so on. Theoretically you need a local address for a Bank account though thankfully I managed to get away with using my NZ address to many peoples surprise for the first couple of months. Though the Bank did managed to send my first bank card to NZ which was slightly troublesome.

Anyway I eventually managed to settle in and start the PhD work.

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