Gerald says that he has long wanted to spend at least one year in the north, which he visited several times prior to his ongoing stay in Rovaniemi. When he heard about the Arctic Studies Program, Gerald saw this as his chance to come to Finnish Lapland and fulfil his desire to really get to know the northern Finnish life and culture. ”I really enjoy living and studying in Rovaniemi; since I love being outdoors, I very much appreciate the environment and Gerald 1all the outdoor opportunities – like cross country skiing, hiking, swimming or mountainbiking.”  

Life as a student at the University of Lapland, which to Gerald has a very family-like atmosphere, is something he has not experienced before. Especially the mentoring compared to the university of Vienna is of high standard and the small number of Finnish and international  students make the university very special in comparison to  many universities in central Europe.

Being outdoors or going hiking however is Gerald’s big passion: ”It is really amazing here, because of the relatively low population density you can find silent and remote places to enjoy nature.” Also the darkness of winter is nothing Gerald deters as the northern lights and the colours of the winter months make up for the non-present light. But since the cold of winter forces one to spend more time inside, cultural and culinary offerings are even more important.  Yet, in Gerald’s view this is something where Rovaniemi and Finland in general show some deficits. He states: ”The cultural aspect of Rovaniemi is not the most satisfying since there are not many interesting concerts or museums. What I miss a little bit in Finland is good food: the Finish kitchen is – to say it diplomatically – not the best I have tasted so far.” But Rovaniemi’s and Finland’s honor is saved  though the deliciousness of reindeer meat and the Finnish desserts!

On several occasions Gerald was hiking on the Kola Peninsula for several weeks and therefore he knew the north before he came to Rovaniemi and was thus not surprised anymore by what it has to offer. To the contrary. He has fallen for the north and says in regards to staying in the north and pursuing an Arctic career: ”I definitely wouldn't say, that it's not a possibility!” But what has already become clear is that he will stay longer than just for the one-year ASP. However: ”I have no idea whGerald 2at will happen and where I will go or stay after my studies. The world is full of interesting and beautiful places!” All of Gerald’s visual impressions he shares on his website.

In conclusion Gerald expresses his deep passion for the north and for studying in a different country: ”Some exchange students come here for just one semester. Generally I really would suggest to anyone who is interested in studying abroad to stay for a full academic year if possible, because in my opinion you can get better insights into another culture. But especially here I would recommend to stay longer, since all the seasons are so much different from each other and it is absolutely worth to experience them all.”