It hadn’t taken me more than five months to have been in the Alta campus of UiT the Arctic University of Norway in 2013 that I began to consider it as my second alma mater.
I entered Murmansk State Humanities University in 2010 and was immediately suggested by the International Cooperation Office to take an online course in the Finnmark University College (now part of UiT). It sounded like a nice idea to practice my English and learn more things about other countries. But I did not realize back then that the decision to apply for the Bachelor of Northern Studies course was a turning point in my professional and personal paths.
Two years after, having passed several online courses and exams on northern issues within the program, I was given the opportunity to go as a north2north exchange student to Norway in order to take in-depth studies on site. This is exactly when I really dove into the benefits of studying abroad: new knowledge, new didactic methods, new acquaintances, new challenges – I would even say that these were the five months when I started seeing myself as an adult person. Still, nine years after the exchange period and seven years after the graduation from the Bachelor of Northern Studies program, I like to remember all the stories and even use academic materials from that time.
This opportunity to have been an international student in the North was a decisive factor for me to choose the academic and administrative career in the Arctic and become a part of the international cooperation community by working in the International Cooperation Office of Murmansk Arctic State University (MASU). Practical knowledge of what Arctic academia looks like, what the topical issues are, the way foreign researchers work, the organization of educational process – all of these are what I started getting acquainted with during my exchange period, and exactly what contributed to my professional attitudes. Now, they allow me to provide assistance and guidance to Russian professors and students, whether conducting research, filling up project applications, or making strategic development plans and policies, as well as to develop international partnerships, including with UiT Alta campus.
The practical knowledge I have on the Arctic international cooperation is entirely rooted in my exchange student experience. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all the related parties and people in MASU, UiT and UArctic for giving me a “ticket to life”!