I had an interest in going to a country that spoke a different language and that was different geographically from my home on Vancouver Island, so I chose UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, northern Norway. This ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Tromsø is a city within the Arctic Circle that experiences the midnight sun, the polar night and the northern lights. When I first arrived in Norway in early August I knew very little Norwegian, and the sun was up for most of the day so it was hard to sleep at night. I suddenly found myself wondering what I had gotten myself into, but after the debut week for international students at the university, I made some friends and found out that everyone was so helpful and friendly in Tromsø! I instantly fell in love with the Norwegian way of life and had so many opportunities to learn about Norwegian culture, history and politics through my university courses.
Despite being so far north, Tromsø has a mild climate and I was able to do a lot of travelling and hiking in Norway while I was studying there. I got to visit Oslo and go to the famous Vigeland Park. I had the chance to hike to the Lyngen alps and stay in a cabin in the mountains with no electricity or running water, and I took the Hurtigruten ship to the Lofoten islands to visit small fishing villages and its beautiful landscape with some of the best people I’ve ever met.
The experience I had in Tromsø through the north2north program was life changing and allowed me to learn more not only about myself but also about another country and culture and the world around me as a whole. I also got to learn a new language and meet friends that I know I will stay in contact with because of this incredible experience.
I would recommend studying abroad to anyone who wants an adventure, to get out of their comfort zone and experience an exciting way to complete their studies. The north2north program allowed me to choose a university that was perfect for me, and the experience I had exceeded all of my expectations. My time at UiT has inspired me to pursue graduate studies abroad (hopefully in Norway again!) since I had such an amazing time there. It is difficult to describe in such a short text an entire semester abroad, but I can only say good things about the experience I had and the people I met during my time in northern Norway.
Published in 2017.