My name is Svetlana Martynova, and I’m a fourth-year student at the Buryat State University. I’d like to share my experience on studying online courses of Bachelor of Northern Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

At my home university I study foreign languages. I major in English, German and teaching, so my future profession is a teacher of foreign languages. Apart from languages, we study a lot of other interesting subjects, for example foreign history and literature; we speak about culture and traditions of other countries. Every nation has its own culture, perception of the world, which differs from others. For me it is always interesting to get to know different cultures and peoples, their customs and life, and compare them with my own culture. I think it helps me to understand my culture better. And I really like it.

Last year my university started to cooperate with UiT. My classmates and I were suggested to take online courses in Bachelor of Northern Studies. We are some kind of pioneers, because it is the first year of the universities’ cooperation. As I was interested in different cultures, I agreed. Besides, some parts of Russian Federation are also northern territories.

Svetlana Martynova / outdoors

There were several courses to choose from: An Introduction to the Circumpolar World, Peoples and Cultures, Contemporary Issues, Land and environment of the Circumpolar World, and others. I’ve taken An Introduction to the Circumpolar World, Land and environment of the Circumpolar World, and Peoples and Cultures. In every course there were 12 modules, and at the end of each we had an exam. I studied geography, history, culture, nature, climate, economy and even a little bit of politics of the Circumpolar North.

Thanks to the courses, my view on the Arctic and the Circumpolar North is changed. As many people, I thought that the Arctic is a big, cold and rather unwelcoming desert full of snow, very sparsely populated and with almost no plants and animals. But it’s not true; in fact, people who reside in the more northern reaches of the planet think of the north as home. It’s a place where they live, work, go to school. It is neither exotic nor distant for them. Besides, I’ve discovered some similarities between the North and my homeland. I live in Siberia, and winters are rather severe here as well. People, plants and animals also have to adapt to such climate like in the North. Moreover, there are some minority peoples (for example Evenki) like in the North, and the government tries to save them, make different programs to support them.

To students who are also interested in doing online studies or taking Bachelor of Northern Studies, I’d advice not to think that the North is something empty or distant. I’d say that it is very interesting to study the Circumpolar North. A new, beautiful and surprisingly alive world was opened for me!