Internship feedback by Natalia Bochkareva, 23.2-8.4.2011

The reason why I decided to write the feedback on my internship period is not just gratitude to all people who contributed to my successful work and research, but it is meant also so that other students could experience the great internship period as I did. During our studies at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Master program “Arctic Studies”,  when the period of internship came,  all of us students, from Siberia, Greenland, France and Armenia faced the problem of choosing where we could do our internship. Following the advices of a friend of mine from Germany, Anna-Maria Manz who did the internship at the Anthropology Research Team of Arctic Centre last year and from whom I got very good feedback, and also from Minna Nousiainen, International Officer of Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland, to do internship in the Anthropology Research Team, I couldn’t miss this chance…

For tourists Rovaniemi is mostly the city of Joulupukki – (Santa Claus) and Napapiiri – (Arctic Circle) – as for me Rovaniemi is the city of the Arctic Centre. I really like this ‘international’ place, as tourists can visit high-interactive museum about Arctic in general, try cold weather in the ice room and see the northern lights etc, or visit another museum dedicated to Rovaniemi town history. Then, on the ground floor,  there is the library… which is incredible! I really enjoyed this library where you can find so many books about Arctic! I found so many books even in my mother tongue: Sakha language! I wished I had this kind of library in Yakutsk. It’s absolutely amazing high-resource place for researchers and place of nice, kind and ‘always ready to help you’ librarians! For my work and research you helped me lot, thank you!

In my first day, 23rd of February, right after the talk with Florian Stammler about my research work and internship, we went to have coffee; it was 14:00 p.m. second floor, big table and a lot of serious faces around it. I don’t remember now who was there and what I was telling about as I was so worried and afraid of saying something wrong in front of all these scientists… But a few minutes after you could feel the relaxed friendly people around you and there I realized that coffee break for them is not just drinking coffee but also communicating and chatting time. Then day by day you meet new people and new interesting stories what they study and work on.

The work I have been mostly doing was connected with literature search, research organization, data collection, publication preparation. During this work one learns about so many interesting things and facts. I am sure I got to know so many new things and new practical experience which will be absolutely useful for my own research! Internship in Rovaniemi was not just working, but also great outdoor activities – cross-country skiing on the river and lunch breaks in the laavu, grilling sausages thanks to Martina Schäfer, a postdoctoral researcher who also lent me her skis;  thanks to Karolina Paquin- intern and Adam Stepien- PhD student at the ARKTIS doctoral programme who were patient enough to take me to ski and wait for me due to my ‘speed’ of skiing.

Cross-county skiing on the river, Rovaniemi

One can easily take courses at the University of Rovaniemi – I thank a lot Dr. Elina Helander-Renvall for her lecture about TEK (Traditional Ecological knowledge) and for her materials that will be very helpful for my research. I thank Minna Nousiainen, Academic Coordinator at International Studies Centre (ISC), Faculty of Social Sciences, for her contribution and support before the internship and during studies at the University of Lapland.

Being inspired by the anthropologists of the Arctic Centre and by the work they do I decided to make my own short field trip in Kautokeino, Norway, and Kuttura, Finland. In Norway I experienced for the first time in my life the tundra area. Thanks to Adam Stepien, I became acquainted with the PhD and Master school “People in changing world” provided by UArctic Thematic Network on Global Change in the Arctic. The school allowed us to visit the Sametinget (Sámi Parliament) seminar on traditional knowledge for the formal opening of UArctic EALAT Institution where reindeer herders from different regions of Russia and Fennoscandia come together. Scientists, professors, students, politicians and herders from different institutions and organizations – all gathered together to talk about on different aspects of traditional knowledge and resources utilization in the changing society of the Arctic and about the challenges of reindeer herding. I thank a lot Riitta Aikio, Administrative Secretary of University of the Arctic for the great help! Without your help I wouldn’t have been able to get to Kautokeino!

Laavu, Kautokeino, Norway

After a week full of rich events and talks with scientists and herders I continued my trip to the small village of Kuttura, Finland, where I visited one of the researchers of Anthropology Research Team – Terhi Vuojala-Magga. Every day from this trip will be kept in my mind as fresh as if it had happened just yesterday. Kuttura – the place where you open the door and you see reindeer a few meters away. In Kuttura I had a taste of the reindeer herding life. Somehow all the time I was feeling as if I came to my house and met with my relatives. I have not ever known the researcher and her husband at all before but at the same time it seemed that I had known them fro a long time. Thank you a lot, Terhi and Mauno for the days spent in Kuttura and for my first field trip.

Ice-fishing on the Ivalo river, Kuttura, Finland

I am so happy that I have done this field trip, I like to say it in that way (‘field trip’ and not just visits) because the initial purpose to go there was to do interviews from reindeer herders and as wel as from scientists, researchers, leaders of the projects “EALAT” and of “Reindeer Forage and Supplementary Feeding on changing climate”. The reason is because I am writing my master thesis about issues related to the cooperation of reindeer herders and scientists in climate change projects. I thank all the reindeer herders, leaders, scientists who spent their time for answering for my questions!

My internship period came to an end with the Annual Arktis Seminar “Local Knowledge and Participatory Research in the Arctic” where we had the opportunity to listen to keynote lectures by famous scientists in the field of traditional knowledge and PhD student’s presentations. Thank you Paivi Soppela and Elina Helander-Renvall for inviting me to attend the various events of the seminar!

Now almost one week passed since my last day of internship and I feel a bit sorry that time passed so fast. On the other hand I feel proud that I did my internship at the Arctic Centre,  for so many opportunities and experiences. I thank all scientists of the Arctic Centre for giving interviews, Raija Kivilahti and Jenni Lintula for inviting me to give a presentation about my home village and Master program at the ‘Tuesday Afternoon Coffee Chat’, and for inviting me to attend other events and listen to presentations!

Thank you a lot to Anthropology Research Team: Florian Stammler – the supervisor of my Master thesis and Coordinator of the internship, Anna Stammler-Gossman, Terhi-Vuojala Magga and Nuccio Mazzullo, for the days spent in your team, sharing with me your great experience, for the interesting talks, the valuable advices and the great support! Hope to see all of you soon!

Anthropology Research Team, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi

Bochkareva Natalia,

Student of Master Program “Arctic Studies” at University Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

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3 Responses to Internship feedback by Natalia Bochkareva, 23.2-8.4.2011

  1. Bernd A.Bartusevics says:

    Dear Natalia!
    We did not know that you leave so fast back to France. Many thanks for your help to translate and file the papers for FSB (shooting permit for our documentary “In a different light”).
    We will remember you and hope to see you again sometimes.
    Bernd and Annett

  2. Pingback: Land use and indigenous rights in the Arctic | Arctic anthropology

  3. veronica says:

    hello, im very interested in doing an internship in Rovaniemi as i will be traveling next monday but i will like to stay if i can find something, could you please send me the contact of somebody who you worked with in your internship? vero4ever4@hotmail.com
    Thank you so much

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