So long, Spitsbergen! Back in Berlin, Janna Einöder experiences culture shock: Everything is too loud, too bright, and too dirty.
Feb 15, 2016
Good-bye, Svalbard! – So long, Spitsbergen. I had to leave Longyearbyen on December 11 because my semester abroad was officially over. In the meantime, the Christmas holidays and January are also over, but I haven't yet adjusted to being back in Berlin. My life in the Arctic had a major influence on me, right up until the day I left.
I especially miss the natural resources on Spitsbergen. Here in Berlin there are many parks and green areas, and Brandenburg with its many lakes is not too far away – but Berlin is still a large urban area. As I got off the plane in December, everything was too much: too loud, too bright, too dirty, and there were way too many people.
In the meantime, I can also see the advantages of Berlin: all the concerts, the wide variety of food available in stores, and many other options! Now I am trying to reconcile both worlds because I want to live close to nature and follow the simple lifestyle of Spitsbergen in Berlin. We'll see how well it works. I have managed to find a few Arctic plants in the Botanic Garden in Berlin.
Nostalgia for Spitsbergen
Much more than nature, I miss the people, the university, the feeling of being free. Spitsbergen is a truly exceptional place. I would encourage anyone interested in the Arctic to go there or basically anyone longing for an adventure.
I would like to emphasize one more time how warmly I was welcomed by the residents of Longyearbyen and everyone at the university. The teaching and mentoring was extremely individual and caring. I think that I never before studied biology with such a passion. That was an extremely important experience for me. Sometimes I was pushed to my limits – whether it was the darkness, the deep crevasses between glaciers, or the work load. But I personally feel that it is the moments, when you have to leave your comfort zone that characterize you the most.
Thank You to Everyone Who Read My Letters from Spitsbergen!
I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read my letters from Spitsbergen. Maybe they inspired some of you to visit this beautiful spot sometime. I am definitely planning to return!