My name is Emma, a biology student from Sweden who, until so very recently had no idea you could actually have the privilege to study here on Svalbard! I´m in my last semester of my bachelor in Biology and Earthscience and found out about UNIS out of total coincidence just a couple of weeks before the application date was due. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to come to the arctic as a field assistant or researcher so to really be here now, taking this so very practical course and AB-207 (Research project in Arctic Biology) feels almost too good to be true!
My internship is at Longyearbyen local government, here so called “Lokalstyret”, situated right in the middle of town and as a biologist my placement is at the technical department with focus on the environment. This internship is the first proper experience I have of working somewhere connected to my education (except some smaller field works) and it feels so exiting so get a view into this world. How Longyearbyen work with all kinds of questions concerning the unique nature and environment here, for example what´s being done with all waste materials in such a remote place and inspiring projects to increase recycling and repair in the city.
My expectations for this placement aren’t something specific, but rather just to understand how decisions regarding the environment takes place and factors affecting this. To get inside learning of what actually is required to make changes in a community at the level of a local government – and see how or if my education in biology can contribute anything to this. By the end of this semester, I hope to have gotten a lot of knowledge of how the day-to-day process working with these kinds of questions can look like, and to be able to feel that I could contribute. It feels like I have waited so long during my university education to finally start learning by doing, so now I feel more than ready to not just get knowledge of biology but to apply it. So far it feels like this is a good place to do just that!