Three years ago, in 2010, I had the chance to study in the Arctic Studies Program at the University of Lapland. Being so far in the North was a wonderful experience for me. Even though I am also from a northern country, it is really hard to get that far north in Canada because of the cold weather. I am still thinking of how wonderful the experience in Rovaniemi was.
First, I have to say that I discovered a different culture and a fascinating language (suomi). Having the opportunity to learn a bit more about indigenous people (Sami) in the North was also a big development in my education. It has influenced my course choices at my home university where I attended a class about indigenous politics in Canada when I came back.
Second, I have made friends for life, both Finns and international students. Every now and then we correspond on the internet, and I visited them a couple of times in Europe. My student exchange in Finland also gave me the desire of discovering more Europe. Therefore, two years later, I studied for 5 months in France.
Finally, my best academic memories were definitely my participation to the Jokkmokk Winter Conference where I learned a lot about the climate change conditions in Nordic countries, and also my excursion to the Kola Peninsula.
At the end of March, I participated in the National Model United Nations in New York, and my committee discussed the impact of climate change on sustainable development. I am planning to continue my studies and do a second master’s degree in Luxembourg about environmental policies in Europe. Therefore, I can say that my experience in Finland changed my life experience and opened my eyes to different problems in the EU!