I decided to embark upon an exchange at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Alta, Norway in the spring semester of 2014. I wanted to experience different education and a different culture of the world and what a better place than Norway! I learned to ski, had a taste of Norwegian cuisine and became more knowledgeable about outdoor living and nature. I also learned about the cultural characteristics of the Native Sami in the area and their talents. In Northern Alaska, there is a tribe of people known as the Inupiat people, which are Native to that land and participate in their traditions such as hunting whale, caribou and seal.
Since Alta and Barrow are very similar in latitude, the climate was similar and so were the hours of night and day. The change of all day darkness to all day light wasn't a drastic change, but I got to see the Northern lights which were just as beautiful as I remembered in Barrow. The highlights of this exchange were the friends I made and just the overall experience from education, skiing, eating and having fun. I think the only difficulty was getting settled in and then leaving five months later. I had made friends and it was very emotional for me to detach from them, but they told me I can always come visit and have a place to stay. This has made wonderful connections and has given me a more well-rounded view of people who live within different countries and uphold different cultures and traditions.
Living within the Arctic in Alta wasn't a huge change as I already live within the Arctic in Alaska, but it does shed light on the issues that the Arctic is facing with global climate change and this traveling does change my perspective about the Arctic. I have become more mindful of my choices when recycling, purchasing a fuel efficient car, and spreading the word and the knowledge to my friends and family about the impacts of becoming less wasteful to lessen the impact of our carbon footprint on our planet.
My plans now are to continue finishing my pre-required classes for the nursing and AAS program and acquire my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. This study was an amazing and unforgettable experience, and I think many young students alike should embark on a similar journey to broaden their knowledge and experience the culture of another country.
Published in 2015.
Read Alexandrias other testimonial here.