I am a Master of Science (M.Sc) student in the Erasmus Mundus European Master’s in Tourism Management, facilitated by three European universities in Denmark (University of Southern Denmark), Slovenia (University of Ljubljana) and Spain (University of Girona). Through the Department of Environmental and Business Economics at the University of Southern Denmark, I was able to participate in the UArctic mobility programme north2north.
My fascination for Arctic environments began early in my life as a child. My interest was, in part, influenced by my Canadian upbringing. The majority of Canadians, myself included, live in a narrow southern belt along the border with the United States, while the northern (sub-Arctic and Arctic) territories remain sparsely inhabited and unknown to the collective “southerner”. The division of North and South represent both a geographical and cultural divide. It was the yearning to understand an unfamiliar environment and culture that initially drew me to experiencing Arctic regions of the world.
During my internship in Greenland, I assisted the staff of the Ilulissat Icefjord Office to monitor, preserve and share information about the UNESCO site to visitors. I was also studying topics related to Arctic tourism and climate change in Greenland. In my free time, I tried to learn Greenlandic and I involved myself in the arts community. In Ilulissat, not a moment goes by when you’re not a glance away from floating icebergs. The dynamic shapes, sizes, and even colours (in light) make everyone who visits marvel at the natural landscape. The word “Ilulissat” translates to icebergs from Greenlandic.
My time in Greenland made me more aware of the imminent realities of a changing climate. While the icecap demands reverence for its beauty, it also prompts a yearning to take action to preserve the fragile ecosystem and life surrounding the ice. I also realized that climate change is a human issue, and every day I was confronted with stories of adaptation and resilience.
Thank you for the incredible opportunity to engage in meaningful learning. I was challenged to grow both professionally and personally though various experiences and encounters. If you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture, language and environment – I encourage you to do so!
Photos: Lauren Chan