Student testimonial

Leonie Jorna on her internship at the University of Tromsø

Leonie Jorna did her internship at the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø from February until June 2015.

Through the variety of tasks and activities I experienced different aspects of working in academia
Leonie Jorna

I did my internship at the BRIDGE research group of the University of Tromsø (UiT). The BRIDGE research group covers fisheries management; fisheries biology; marine ecology and oceanography; and harvest technology. The BRIDGE research group is small, but they work together with the other research groups at the faculty of Norwegian College of Fisheries Science.

Norway is a nice place to live, the living standard is high and everything is well organized. Tromsø is situated far above the Arctic Circle, thus the name Arctic University of Norway.  My internship lasted from the beginning of February until the first week of June. When I arrived in Tromsø, the dark period was coming to an end and there was light only two hours per day, perfect conditions to see northern lights. When I left, there was only sunlight, a phenomenon called the midnight sun. I was told that the snow comes in around October and stays until April. However, it is not uncommon that snow falls in July or August. If you like snow and don’t mind a bit of cold, Tromsø is the perfect place.

During my internship at BRIDGE, I was given the opportunity to join multiple presentations and seminars and even to go on a fishing vessel to learn about fishing techniques and data collection. My main task, on which I also wrote my internship report, was to contribute to a deliverable from the European MareFrame project. The MareFrame project is concerned with the depletion of fish stocks and the damage done by fishing to the marine ecosystem.  At this moment, the EU works mainly on a single species basis, setting quota’s per species based on models that take into account few species The MareFrame project has as its goal to enable the use of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in (European) policy. My task was to compare different Decision Support Systems for an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management. My supervisor also explained to me how grant writing for EU projects works. Moreover, I learned the basics of writing a scientific article and I gave a lecture to the students of the International Fisheries Management master. Through this variety of tasks and activities I experienced different aspects of working in academia.

Despite its remoteness, the University of Tromsø is surprisingly international and multicultural. During my internship I met people from all over the world.  Not only do employees come from other European countries, but also from other continents. Anyone interested in minorities should bring a visit to the North and visit the Sami and learn about their history and present situation. However, the best way to get to know Norwegians is by getting your snowboard or (cross country) ski’s out and enjoy nature. In general, I experienced that at work and in the city, Norwegians are quite closed and individualistic. On the snowy mountains Norwegians tend to defreeze and open up. Tromsø also offers some nice places for students to go out. However, keep in mind that the prices in cafes and restaurants are extremely high.

All in all, I would highly recommend anyone to go abroad for their thesis, internship or to follow some courses. The BRIDGE research group is a good place to learn more about fisheries management and to get to know the Norwegian point of view on fisheries policy. The UiT covers many issues related to the environment and research management. So even if you are not interested in fisheries, the UiT can be a suitable place.