The exchange year precipitated significant changes in my life, and continues to do so. Specifically, the Arctic Studies program in Rovaniemi fueled a passion for Arctic areas, notably biology but including other facets such as indigenous people, resource management and the political activities amongst the many Arctic states. I have pursued a Master Degree in the biology of northern ecosystems at the University of Tromsø, which included frequent visits and fieldwork to the Norwegian Arctic region of Svalbard. I hope the knowledge of Norwegian and schooling in both Norway and Finland can be used to the benefit of my home terrain Canada, whose extent of Arctic regions requires continued informed management. I look forward to developing a career with opportunities to work in Canada and the Fenno-Scandinavian countries.
The past two years have exceeded all my expectations in terms of schooling, development of outdoor hobbies, and meeting fascinating people from all parts of the world. Tromsø is a city just big enough to host activities for everyone, from artistically inclined to outdoor sport enthusiasts. In my case, a love of the outdoors has had the opportunity to grow exponentially. My winter hobbies include backcountry skiing, ski touring to the numerous cabins available, and learning the skills necessary for winter navigation and safety. The summer, although short, offers infinite possibilities for hiking, climbing, fishing, and camping in one of the most beautiful coastal mountain ranges in the world.
In my international experiences, people come and go often. Fortunately, the exchange of communication through various online forums has allowed me to keep in contact with people around the world, all pursuing various admirable goals. I also maintain ties to a dear Finnish family I consider to be an extension of my own immediate family. These days, our community of friends cross continents as life brings them to jobs and families of their own. Their cultures create a mosaic that we call humankind, and by choosing to study in the North, I will continue to learn about them as they cross my path.