Less than three weeks after leaving Svalbard after the Arctic Ocean 2016 expedition, I find myself back in this Arctic wonderland. How lucky am I? This is actually the fifth (!) time I am setting foot on Svalbard this year. I will do posts on my exciting previous visits later. This time, I am here do a course at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS).
As a part of my PhD, I have to do 30 course credits (ECTS). 10 of them are the course AT827 Arctic Offshore Engineering here at UNIS, which I am doing this week and next.
The course is taught intensively over two weeks, with lectures up to six hours each day in addition to exercises. Intensive courses are quite common at UNIS. It is more practical when all the students have to travel to and live on Svalbard at once. Few have the opportunity to stay for a whole semester or can do enough courses here to cover a full semesters worth.
The course topics cover Arctic oil and gas engineering aspects and offshore developments. Operating offshore in the Arctic pose many additional challenges compared to open water operations on latitudes further south, such as low temperatures, darkness, remoteness and presence of sea ice and icebergs. We are going to do a report (which I am planning to turn into a conference paper), and also have an exam in December, done at our home universities.
The course also has a field work course in Svea in spring, which you have to apply for separately. I was fortunate enough to follow the field course in March this year (blog post coming). But for now, let me just say that spring is really the nicest time to visit Svalbard, and it was really an amazing experience!
But back to current Svalbard; I am here for two weeks. Although the lectures and days are quite intensive, I am planning to enjoy it as much as I can!
PS: If you want to follow my day-to-day life and experience at Svalbard and in UNIS, follow me on Snapchat!