French guest student
- Where Are the Penguins?
Frenchwoman Claire Fihue often heard about Greenland when she grew up. However, her image of the huge northern island was a romantic one – and not entirely correct. She was dreaming about icebergs, seals, polar bears – and penguins!
“I had no idea about modern Greenland or the city Nuuk, until I came here to study for one term at Ilisimatusarfik, she says. Claire Fihue is a humanities student at Université de Rouen in Normandy, and she is following a programme in social science during her term at Ilisimatusarfik, among other with programmes in international relations in the Arctic and sustainable development”.
“I chose to study a term in another country to experience another culture and to meet new people. I believe that travel is a necessary requirement to become an openminded world citizen. Further, I believe that it helps understanding, for example, refugees and immigrants in your own country if you have experienced living as a foreigner in another country”, Claire explains.
She is very enthusiastic about the five month stay in Greenland, and, in particular, noticed the quiet way of life and the trust among people.
“For example, at one point I forgot my mobile phone at the university, and was convinced that someone subsequently had stolen it – which would have been a sure thing in France. However, far from it, a fellow student had handed in the found phone at reception", she says.
Claire is in Greenland through the EU scheme Erasmus, which is an exchange programme for students, and she noted, among other things, a big difference between courses in the two countries. In France, you often have several hundred students in an auditorium, listening to a professor, whereas in Greenland you are only a few students with a chance to talk and contribute to the classes.
“I would recommend all students to travel – for example through exchange programmes – to be able to experience other countries and meet other cultures, without putting your education on hold. Personally, it has taught me to appreciate the small things – as in playing board games with friends or visiting the swimming bath – those are the best times”.
- Text Pia C. Bang / Apropos and photographer Ulrik Bang