Creating memories for life in svalbard



Skrevet av: American College of Norway


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In this blog post, Norwegian student Selma Jacobsen reflects upon her trip to Svalbard with ACN in February and March 2022. The field trip to Svalbard is an annual excursion offered to students at ACN where they can earn 1 credit while exploring and learning about the unique islands of Svalbard: one of the world's northernmost inhabited areas.

On Sunday, February 27, after a four-hour journey, our plane finally landed in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. As we flew over the stunning landscape, we could already see what Svalbard had to offer. We saw the snow-covered mountains and suddenly, between the beautiful mountains, we could spot Longyearbyen, ​​the world’s northernmost town.

On the first day in Svalbard we got to enjoy the nice sunny weather and were even greeted by a Svalbard reindeer. The Svalbard reindeer is very unique as their features are highly adapted to living this far north. With their short legs, stout body, and small head, they are perfectly equipped for the cold climate in Svalbard. The reindeer are genuinely curious about people, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly see a reindeer walking around in Longyearbyen.

My friends and I were very lucky with the clear sky during the night as well and were able to see the beautiful northern lights. Due to the lights in Longyearbyen and the limitation of going on hikes without a guide, we would walk the farthest we could get away from any lights to see the night sky clearly, to a water tower. The water tower was about a 10-minute walk from the center of the town and had a breathtaking view over both Longyearbyen and the mountains, and also the best view of the night sky.

The students and ACN faculty enjoyed many different activities. We went as a group to the Svalbard Museum and learned about the rich history and wildlife of the archipelago. The museum visit was very helpful for us to get a better understanding of Svalbard. Some students went dogsledding, while others went on a snowmobiling safari. My favorite activity from the trip was going snowmobiling to an ice cave. If you had a driver’s license you could drive the snowmobile yourself. After a one-hour ride, we got to the Scott Turner glacier. It was a mind-blowing experience and I have never seen anything like it before. The Scott Turner glacier is a 5.5 km long glacier in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, and is named after the American geologist Scott Turner. Around 60% of Svalbard is actually covered in glaciers.

Overall I want to conclude with that an amazing experience this has been. I have never been on a trip like this before and what amazing people I got to go with. In just five days we learned so much and got to enjoy so many fun activities. I would recommend everyone to go to Svalbard. This was truly a great experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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