- Ice, Whales, Sunsets - and a Modern Society
Oskar Malmgren is studying political science at the Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden, and a few months ago, he did not know much more about Greenland than it is the largest island in the world, has inland ice and a hugely widespread population, and his friends told him to be on the lookout for polar bears and igloos.
He never imagined the modern, technological society he ended up in when he decided to apply for a student place at Ilisimatusarfik to study criminology, fishing and hunting, as well as cultural and social history in a spring term in 2016.
“Here you find all the modern comforts, and the shops are well stocked with both familiar articles from home and also exciting stuff like seal and whale meat. I am most certainly positively surprised – mostly how well I have been received. People are very open and make you feel welcome. Both lecturers and the other students at Ilisimatusarfik have, from the outset, been kind and interested in why I chose to study particularly in Greenland”, Oskar Malmgren says.
He also points to the benefit of improved language skills as a result of his stay. He has not learnt Greenlandic, which he finds much too hard to learn in six months in Nuuk, but on the other hand he is now fluent in Danish.
“When I arrived here in January, I didn’t speak a word Danish. But now, two months later, I speak it fluently thanks to the intense fellowship with Greenlandic students, who speak Danish perfectly”, he explains.
Oskar Malmgren feels that Greenlandic society is much less stressful than back home in Sweden. Here things take their time, he says.
“And since Ilisimatusarfik is such a small university, the classes are much more personal than at my home university with around 50,000 students. I get a much more personal contact with both lecturers and fellow students, which helps to make my stay funny and worthwhile. Finally yet importantly, the studies here in Greenland have an arctic perspective, which I appreciate since you don’t learn much about the arctic area in Sweden”.
- Text Pia C. Bang / Apropos and photographer Ulrik Bang