Meet Van | Snow in Tromso

16 April 2015

I first began reading Snow in Tromso about a year ago. Van, the girl behind the blog, is a German postgraduate student living in Tromso, Norway (the third largest city located inside the Arctic Circle)! How cool is that?! When she's not studying, Van is posting amazing stories about life in Tromso, and beautiful pictures from her travels around Scandinavia. My favorite thing about Van's blog is the fact that she keeps it real. Yes she spends her free time gallivanting around Scandinavia, which is something some of us can only dream of! But living in a foreign country can be difficult and she's not afraid to tell  you exactly how it is. I genuinely love reading Van's posts, which is why I'm so excited to be introducing her to y'all today! And what better way to introduce a blogger than a little Q&A!

1 | Tell us about Tromso

Tromso is a little city in Northern Norway, about 350km north of the Arctic Circle. It's an absolutely beautiful and magical place and I've been living there for about 8 months now. I study in Tromso at the northernmost university of the world, which is as you can guess, a pretty unique experience. However I'm not freezing to death as soon as I leave the house and I also haven't seen any reindeer or moose yet so living in Tromso is not quite as arctic as you might imagine. After all, we're the city with the highest amount of bars and pubs in Norway (in relation to inhabitants of course) and temperatures rarely drop below -10 degrees.

2 | What is your hometown in Germany like? 

I come from a small town in rural Westphalia. Imagine countless little towns and villages spread in the plains a.k.a. the middle of nowhere where you need to drive for 45 minutes to get to the next highway and 3 hours to get to the next international airport. It's not that bad though. Actually my hometown is pretty nice. We not only have farms but also more than a dozen medieval houses, cobble stone streets and more than enough festivals and occasions where we drink a lot of beer - typical German so to say. 

3 | What are some of your favorite spots in Scandinavia?

Definitely Stockholm, the Gothenburg archipelago, Copenhagen and Northern Norway. Stockholm and Copenhagen are just two absolutely beautiful cities that you just have to visit at least once in your life! The Gothenburg archipelago is my favourite spot in the summer and there's nothing better than sunbathing on a little island off the Swedish coast! And Northern Norway offers you of course the opportunity to see the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun so it's a nice destination anytime of the year!

4 | You are currently a postgraduate student of Northern and Indigenous Studies. What is the most interesting thing about your studies?

I think the most interesting thing about my studies, besides learning about native peoples from all over the world and of course contemporary issues in the High North, is to be part of an international program and that way, meet and make friends with people from all over the world. To learn more about different cultures and countries that I've never been to is a vital part of my studies, in and outside of the classroom. Furthermore there are not many study programs where you regularly meet in a Sami culture house, gather around a fire, drink coffee and discuss indigenous and Arctic issues. The University of Tromso is just such a cosy place where you feel instantly at home. 

5 | What has life as an expat taught you?

That you can find bureaucracy anywhere in the world and that no country is perfect - despite my belief before I moved abroad. However the most important thing I learned is to enjoy and appreciate life to the fullest as you might not live forever in a certain place and you also won't be surrounded by your favourite people forever. Expat life is a constant struggle of having to say goodbye to people and places that you love so you really need to make the most of your time in a certain place. 

6 | If you could pick one holiday/destination to do over again (good or bad), what would it be?
I would totally do my roadtrip around Southern Scandinavia again! I would have loved to spend more time in Gothenburg and the archipelago and it would have been nice to go on a day trip to Lillehammer from Oslo! I would also like to spend some time in Copenhagen and explore some museums and I wish the weather had been nicer so that I would have had more time to sunbathe at the beach in Malm!

Want to read more about life in Tromso? Check out some of Van's favorite posts!

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Happy Thursday!


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