I decided to do an exchange semester because I wanted to broader my experience and knowledge outside of Sweden and Stockholm University. My goal was to go somewhere that was exiting but at the same time relevant for my interest and education and through north2north exchange programme I found the Master programme Coastal and marine management at the University Centre of The Westfjords. I was nervous before I got there, first time traveling all alone knowing no one, to a small-town with 2500 people in the northern parts of Iceland. But I never felt so welcomed and soon enough it was my second home thanks to the wonderful and helpful people in the cohort, university and community.
The cohort I was studying with was a mix of nationalities and all kinds of background which always gave interesting discussion and exchange of experience, both private and during the courses. The university is small, but teacher from all around the world would come there to teach us and the courses was always interesting and gave me new perspective on how important it is to when working with science also understand management, economics and processes. I also got a new perspective of the Arctic. How important it is for not only the people living there but also for the climate. During a course we got a great opportunity to participate at the Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik and it was a great experience to meet and hear from politician to scientist talking about the future of the Arctic.
Not only did I get the opportunity to meet amazing interesting people and gain new knowledge I also got a chance to see the amazing and beautiful nature of Iceland! I was always amazed everyday waking up in a fjord surrounded by mountains and during the clear nights see the beautiful aurora borealis. There was always something to see or do, hiking, watching whales, go to hot springs, ATV in the mountains, enjoying live music or beer bingo at the local bar, life was never boring!
The greatest lesson I learned from this experience is that it doesn’t matter what culture or background you come from, you can always make a difference in the world and in other people’s life. I learned a lot but the biggest gift I got from Iceland was all the amazing people I meet in this beautiful country.
If you are thinking about going abroad anywhere in the world, I can only say one thing DO IT! It is an experience of a life time with unforgettable memories and I would definitively recommend going to Ísafjörður a place that for me became a second home.
Published in 2019.