After one week back at the office, it's time to summarize my experiences from Svalbard. It definitely took a while before I landed mentally again after a very exciting month at 78°N. I didn't think that I would like it so much there and I definitely didn't think that I could have so much fun on a small island in the northern part of Atlantic, the gateway to the Arctic.
As any other international experience, everything depends on the people you meet. I was lucky enough to take the same course as a wonderful group of people and I learned at lot, both from the students and the teachers. No matter how good the course material is or how much the teachers can tell, at a master and PhD course you need people that a whiling to share their ideas on things.
I'm very grateful for all the interesting discussions that I've had with people (or just listened to) and I know that there are still things that I need to read and learn more about. Mainly because I want to. But I believe that in order to get a bigger understanding of things, you need to test your ideas with others, discuss and come up with with conclusions together. At least, that is how my brain works. I can read books and papers all day long, but if I don't talk about it, I will forget it again.
I had a similar course in boundary layer meteorology last year, but this time I think I got a better understanding of how things work. Mainly, because I was given the time to work with it and I had to try all my ideas, fail and try again. Also, it is definitely easier to work in a environment that inspires you and what better is it to work in the Arctic, when you study the Arctic? :)
Working with the instruments made it easier for me to understand where all my data comes from. Of course, you can read all about it, but you will forget. It is easier to get a feeling for it, if you have seen it with you own eyes. You will know right away the limitations and advantages of some of the systems.
I know I have a long way to go and sometimes I doubt my knowledge from my undergrad courses. But I don't want to give up! I wanna learn more and I wanna understand how everything works, at least in the Arctic. Trips like this gives you the inspiration and motivation to continue, but you also have to be able to focus and concentrate one small things, back in you office. That is my challenge, but I'm ready for it.