One thought led to another, and I soon found myself in Tromsø on an exchange at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, attending courses focusing on Arctic aspects of Norway. Living in Tromsø means beautiful nature, snow, cold weather, hiking and dressing practically. All these things felt very natural to me. I was home! Even the dark winter period was the perfect excuse to stay indoors and play board games.
My journey was not done after my exchange: it continued in Rovaniemi, Finland where I was an intern at the UArctic Secretariat at the University of Lapland until March 2017. The internship was a great experience, personally as well as educationally. It was also a challenge, resisting all the interesting courses, conferences and other exciting meetings that I constantly faced through my work. The internship provided a great deal of independence, as I worked with different tasks by myself, and I also got to work with what interests me.
I experienced the surroundings and how Lapland’s nature works in the local science centres Arktikum and Pilke, skiing resorts like Pyhä, Levi and Ounasvaara, and many other places with their beautiful and unique landscapes. Finland is very flat, so the view you have from the top of a skiing resort is amazing. Walking through snow every day was another part of my experience which I enjoyed, and even though the spring had not yet arrived when I left, the days were already longer and full of sunshine reflecting from the snow.
During my internship I also worked on my bachelor’s thesis on the Finnish Sámi identity. Doing that while being in Finland was quite interesting, because the debate about this subject is not over. Meeting scholars who participate in the debate had an impact on me and only made me find the subject even more interesting. There is no doubt that the internship has given me a broader view on the possibilities that we as students have in expressing, learning and developing our interest in the Arctic.
Studying the Arctic in Tromsø, doing my internship in Rovaniemi and having written about the identity of the Sámi have only strengthened my interest in continuing my studies within the Arctic, which is why I am applying to the Indigenous Studies master’s program in Tromsø.
My Arctic fairytale is not done yet.
Originally published in the UArctic Shared Voices Magazine 2017