The Cold Climate Engineering program allows us to study at two universities, and we will graduate with two diplomas, in my case from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). I follow the Land track which focuses on geotechnology engineering.
During the first semester we studied at DTU in Denmark and covered mostly theoretical courses concerning civil engineering subjects, such as seismic and wind engineering, geology and soil mechanics. The second semester we spent in Greenland, in the second largest town called Sisimiut, where DTU’s Arctic technology centre (ARTEK) is located. It was one of the most exciting periods of our education. A combination of lectures, laboratory work and field trips, I think, is the best way of learning.
Our first course was about the history of the Arctic society and specific issues connected with its development, which is extremely important for the implementation of geotechnical projects in the region. We continued with physical and environmental engineering and finally finished with a six-week course of infrastructure construction. Field excursions were organized regularly. Some of them were arranged in cooperation with Greenland School of Minerals & Petroleum in Sisimiut, which allowed us – after required safety courses – to take part in rock drilling and blasting preparation works. Moreover, we had a week-long field trip to the Kangerlussuaq international airport, where we made geodetical measurements of runway settlement. When we returned to the European mainland in the summer, we had gained wide practical experience, and most of us would like to visit this charming island again.
The second year gave us more options on how to organize our education, since we could choose where to study further: the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) or NTNU in Trondheim. I decided to go to Trondheim for the two semesters, because I was mostly interested in writing my thesis about tunnelling projects.
Since we are the first students in this program, we got the chance to test its strengths and weaknesses. We have given our feedback after each semester, and I know that the coordinators have already considered our proposals for the next students. I am sure that the Cold Climate Engineering program will evolve and attract more and more talented students from all over the world, who are interested in the Arctic development with respect to local societies and securing the fragile environmental system of this region.
Originally published in the UArctic Shared Voices Magazine 2018.