I have now been in Rovaniemi, Finland, for three months, working as an Intern for the UArctic Secretariat, at University of Lapland, Finland. I am doing a MA in Culture, Communication & Globalization, with a specialization in Market Communication and Consumption at Aalborg University, Denmark. This Master also offers a specialization within Arctic Studies from this year, 2014.

I heard about this Internship through my University email, and saw that they were looking for Interns from the Faroe Islands, Greenland or Denmark, and I fit two out of three of those criteria’s. I am from the Faroe Islands, and study in Denmark, so it was the perfect opportunity for to utilize both perspectives, when I saw the position for promoting the Danish members of UArctic (including Faroe Islands and Greenland). I was so happy when I received the great news about being chosen for this Internship. I have a lot of interest in creative visual marketing and branding, so having the opportunity to work at the UArctic allowed me visit Finland, utilizing both my Faroese and Danish background and knowledge, in connection with my education in practice.

My tasks at the UArctic have been diverse, and not a day has been the same, which has allowed me to learn how the UArctic works. Beyond the learning experiences as an Intern, I have also had the possibility to experience Rovaniemi, and other areas of Finland and Finnish Lapland, as well as the Finnish culture locally. Rovaniemi offers a lot of local activities, and the Santa Claus Village is a great attraction for tourists. I visited the Santa Claus Village in the beginning with 20 degrees C, and again when it got colder. I visited the Arktikum, PILKE Science Centre, Korundi, Rovaniemi Cinema. I have participated in local cultural events, such as the annual River Lights by the Candle bridge beach, Restaurant Day, ‘Pikkujoulu’ (Little Christmas –pre to the Christmas holidays), Arctic Fury Film Festival at Arktikum, and many other. I went on the Arctic Studies Progiram Excursion trip to Pyhätunturi with the Arctic Studies students, where we visited the Geophysical Institute, Pyhä Luosto National Park, Sodankylä area, with its beautiful and unique landscapes and surroundings. I travelled to Helsinki by plane, as well as took a train to Turku. Furthermore, my trip to Helsinki also allowed me to visit one of my Finnish friends, which I met during my studies in Aalborg University, who moved back to Finland.

The main challenge when being abroad is to be in a new place, not knowing the area, people or language. However, having been here for these three months, I have met many Finns, and in all cases they are very helpful and friendly, when you ask for directions or need help to translate. Some of the Finnish norms are similar to my own Faroese/ Danish, however, the popularity of fish soup here is distinct.

Lapland is truly unique, as I arrived in end August, it was over 20 degrees, which quickly turned into Autumn and Winter degrees down to -17. The first snow already appeared in September, a couple of weeks after my arrival.

I enjoy photographing, so the changing colours, from summer to winter has been amazing, from colourful and sunny to dark wintery frosty landscapes and frozen water.

Nadja Joensen / On the way to the university
On the way to University of Lapland in September

I have made friends from all over the world, as I worked in a multicultural office, and at the same time lived in a student village, where there was a concentration of exchange students from all over the world.

All in all I have experienced a lot during my three months here, both professionally and culturally. I definitively still have a big interest in working within the Nordic countries. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to experience living in Lapland for three months of my life, and I believe it has contributed to my perspective of the Nordic countries.