To start my new Thursday series on my life in the Arctic, I thought it would be nice to explain why it is that I want to move to a place where there's snow for at least 6 months each year and absolutely no sunshine for 2 months.
Honestly? I don't really have an answer to that question.
It is and always has been a gut feeling that told me to move there.
However when you think rationally about it, it makes perfectly sense so let me list you a few reasons why it actually is a good idea to move there.
1. Stunning Landscapes
Yes I'm aware of other countries having stunning landscapes too. But none of them is as dramatic, gorgeous, breath-taking and beautiful as snow-covered mountains, the Barents Sea and of course the glowing colours of the tundra in autumn.
2. Beautiful Architecture
Next to landscapes, the Norwegian Arctic offers you some amazing architecture. I mean, is there anything more beautiful than those colourful little wooden houses covered in snow?
3. Unique Study Programmes
I will be doing a double BA in Northern Studies and a Master in Indigenous Studies. These are some pretty unique subjects, aren't they? Actually the University of Tromso is the only one in Europe where you can do a Master's in Indigenous Studies.
You'll have to move to Canada, Australia or the US otherwise. Next to my study program, there are a few other interesting subjects you can study in the Arctic among which are Law of the Sea, Visual Cultural Studies, Arctic Adventure Tourism, Arctic Nature Guide, Peace and Conflict Transformation, Rock 'n' Roll Entrepreneurship, Telemedicine or Technology and Safety in the High North.
Am I right or am I right that these are some pretty unique and interesting study programmes?
4. The Northern Lights
Do I need to say more???
5. And the Midnight Sun of course
I haven't experienced this myself yet but already when I visited Oslo last month, it wasn't dark at night so I can imagine how impressive it must be in Tromso in summer. The picture is from the lovely Kiki, my fellow #TravelTuesday co-host who lives in Iceland (and thus always posts fabulous pictures on her blog) and who already experienced what the Midnight Sun is like.
6. Meeting people from all over the world
There are a lot of international students studying in Tromso and apart from that, Tromso is in the middle of Sapmi - the land of the Sami people. Being able to research indigenous issues while being surrounded by indigenous culture is just truly fascinating!
7. Skiing, Whale Watching, Dog-Sledding....
If you're lucky enough to live in the student dorms close to uni you can actually get there by ski. Not me of course, I have never ever tried skiing and I'm almost certain that I break my legs if I ever try (I will of course so if you don't hear from me for weeks, I'm probably in the hospital). Besides whales visit Tromso each winter so you can go whale watching between November and January I believe.
Although it's expensive, I just have to go on such a safari. Dog-sledding is another popular activity and although I had high hopes to experience that during my volunteer stay in Gamvik, I've yet to try it out. Sammy, my second fellow co-host of our link-up, has already been lucky to try it so if you want to see more pictures of her dog-sledding experience, you'll need to check out her blog!
Because I'll be living in reindeer territory and these are beautiful animals, aren't they?
By now, I must sound like a travel agent so let's get serious again.
When I visited Tromso and Northern Norway last year, I immediately fell in love with the region and honestly, what's there not to love about?
In the end, this is the most important reason that made me apply for grad studies at UiT. I felt at ease, no, at home, in Tromso and I've searched for such a place my whole life.
I've never really belonged to my hometown, or my university town, or Germany even.
I always had the urge to move far away and find a place where I could completely feel at ease.
Tromso seems to be that place for me and I guess only time will tell whether or not my gut feeling was right about the city.
Until then, I'm glad to have you on board while I embark on my journey to the Arctic! Ever listened to your gut and everything turned out good?