Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic
Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic

Reflections on how you experience particular practical activities

Student culture versus employee cultures

Even thought the employee culture at UNIS seems informal, being a student, I haven`t mingled that much with the employees more than during the lunch a couple of times. Still, my impression is that the environment is friendly and casual between the staff. On the other hand, the student culture is perhaps more family oriented since we live together, eat together, study together and socialize together. As many students have left their family and friends behind, strong bonds between the students have formed.

How do you utilize your biological knowledge?

When I, during my internship, learnt how to do PCR I utilized some of the biology knowledge I gained in the first year of my bachelor’s degree. We were thought how DNA replication was conducted in nature, but we never had any lab practice. Therefor it was very interesting and fun to actually get the opportunity to do the PCR and actually understand how all the component work together. That has so far been the best experience during the internship.

How do you utilize your transferable skills during the internship, i.e. these skills you have acquired through your education, but not directly linked to biology knowledge

Being quite structured, I have during my internship helped out organizing lab equipment and tidy up the teaching lab. Also, I have helped with reading through old lab manuals and helped renew them. Other transferable skills I have gained through my degrees so far include having an analytical mind-set, starting projects early, and limiting workload towards what I can handle. Still, I haven’t been able to utilize them all yet.

What kind of knowledge or skills did you miss and wished you had before/during the internship?

I wish my home university would have more practical work, as for instance field and lab work. In my opinion it is easier to understand what you are thought, when you actually have to do it. So, having much more field and lab work here at UNIS has given me a further understanding of what I have learnt/memorized previous.

Did your view on what biologist can contribute to society change during the internship?

My understanding of to what extent a biologist can run tests has definitively been broadened during the internship. During my first week, Stuart (my contact person), guided me around the building and showed me all the different machines that can be used to analyse samples. I was introduced to much more than I had seen before, and I really hope that during my internship I can try out the seawater nutrient analyser.

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