From Italy to Greenland

It is not really common to find an Italian guy willing to study in Greenland, where snow lies on the ground for three quarters of the year. When I first saw the Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering on the DTU website, I understood that I had to apply for it. The program is a double degree in collaboration between DTU and NTNU in Trondheim, where I will spend my second year. Being part of the Cold Climate Engineering MSc is a unique experience that not only aims to educate me as an Arctic engineer, but also to involve me in the culture and traditions of the many different and exciting locations that will become my home for more or less time.

One of these is Sisimiut, a small town on the western coast of Greenland and where the Arctic semester takes place. With about 5000 inhabitants, Sisimiut offers plenty of different and exciting activities. I have already spent two months here together with 14 other Master students from DTU, all eager to learn more about how to deal with challenges posed by harsh climate, remote locations and lack of infrastructure.

The focus of the Arctic semester is on civil engineering, but the courses entail a variety of topics that are necessary to frame many of the current problems in cold regions. We have gotten a deeper insight into the Greenlandic society and the traditional culture, we learned more about snow and ice loads on buildings, snowdrift and warming climate and we also had a look into big environmental issues in the Arctic. To better understand some lectures, we have been doing fieldwork under the guidance of our professors. In particular we dug several snow-pits just outside the town of Sisimiut to get more information about the snowpack and this is the first step when for example an avalanche risk assessment has to be performed.

I hope the Arctic semester will provide me with the necessary competences to work in cold regions and the opportunity to live and work in one of the Nordic countries. I love cold weather and I am eager to solve, or at least try to solve, all the problems and challenges that the Arctic environment and the Arctic communities are forced to face every day, and I firmly believe that the Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering is an excellent start.

Lorenzo, Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering, Italy