I am originally from a small city in the north of Italy, but I have always been keen about everything related to the Arctic, from the lifestyle and the cultures to the breath-taking landscapes of the High North. As I had the opportunity to move to Denmark to start my Master’s course at Aalborg University, I chose to specialise in Arctic Studies. During the 8th semester project, I decided to focus on Norway, its sustainable approach and green policies.
Matching my studies with my travels among the Arctic countries had always been one of my dreams. That seemed the perfect occasion to fly to Norway! After some consultations with my supervisor, I organised interviews with Norwegian stakeholders and representatives, and I headed to Bergen.
Bergen is located on the west coast of Norway, and it is the second-largest city of the country. It is an international hub for the offshore petroleum industry and shipping companies. It is mainly situated on the fjord of Byfjorden, and it is surrounded by the “Seven Mountains”.
While I was approaching the city by train, I was speechless by looking at its beautiful landscapes. However, during the first days of my journey, I kept the focus on my academic tasks. I visited the University of Bergen and especially its libraries, searching local data for my project. The academic staff was really helpful, and once I was done with the last interviews, I received special advice about the must-visit places around the city. The World Heritage Site of Bryggen and the view of the fjord from the Mount Fløyen (rigorously reached without taking the Fløibanen Funicular to enjoy the nature around fully) were some of my favourite experiences!
Doing research and having the opportunity to collect data first-hand was a new and fulfilling experience for me. Also, discovering the differences and commonalities of the Arctic nations and the people who inhabit these lands made me even more passionate about my Master’s specialisation. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and to immerse myself in the Norwegian lifestyle. It gave me the means to understand a new culture, and I returned home with different perspectives that I was eager to share with those around me.
The Arctic region is a model for international cooperation at numerous levels. As a young student, taking advantage of such strong and positive links among the manifold Arctic educational spheres is extremely beneficial. Getting to know all the different cultures which populate the High North, but which are also all – nobody excluded – defined as “Arctic”, makes you willing to take part in the future steps of this fantastic project.