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

Welcome to the darkness!

Welcome to UNIS

My name is Sine, and this semester I will be living in Longyearbyen, studying Arctic Biology at Svalbard University Center (UNIS). Just arriving in Longyearbyen, I am really surprised how much I like the complete darkness, and I feel amazed by even the smallest signs of light on the sky that highlights the surrounding mountains. Longyearbyen is really beautiful, and the arctic conditions suits me perfect. Being a person who absolutely love hiking, I am really looking forward to the spring when the arctic nature reveals itself, and the sun starts rising.

My previous semesters at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN Campus Bø) has enriched me with skills in limnology, chemistry, biology, geology, zoology, botany, ecology, conservation biology, microbiology, and climate change studies, but I have also participated in marine biology classes at the University of Sunshine Coast in Australia (another exchange semester). Therefor, I am now super excited about taking my knowledge into practice, and gaining some practical experience. I am hoping to be able to help out on both collecting and processing samples for research done by professors, staff and other students here at UNIS. At the same time, I really want to learn more about running research projects in remote places with arctic conditions, maintaining lab and field equipment, and to see how research projects are planed and conducted. I am curious to see how project outlines are adapted and adjusted to suit the environmental conditions, and how sampling in remote places affects the choice of method when undergoing research. So, I am hoping to be able to see more of the broader picture on how things are conducted during the semester even though I know I will spent most of my time in the lab.   

Sine Aastad

Most of my previous lab experience is within chemistry, limnology, microbiology, and biology samples, but hopefully Stuart (my contact person) will expose me to both these and other samples that need to be analysed. Since, I have some knowledge from different areas, I am ready for “a learning by doing in the Arctic” experience this semester, and I really want to be challenged.

Overall, I am hoping that this semester will provide me with some more direction for what I will do next fall, since I am finishing my Bachelor degree in June. Right now, I am interested in everything from plants and marine mammals to climate change and conservation biology, and I am very unsure what to do next. The options are either to apply for a specialization in administration of alpine and terrestrial environments, or to apply for a master within biology. Therefor, I am hoping that the combination of work experience, the arctic management course and staying in the Arctic will provide me with some guidance during this upcoming semester.

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