Freitag, 3. Januar 2020

Part I // Preparing for the Arctic

My personal journey began in Berlin, Germany. I arrived in Tromsø on the 16th of September a couple of days before boarding the Russian research icebreaker Akademik Fedorov. I met my first fellow MOSAiC school participant Igor on the bus to the campsite, where all participants would stay in cute little red cabins to get to know each other. We were welcomed by a warm icebreaker party with a barbecue and some drinks. That was when we met the remaining MOSAiC school students and our amazing organizing team: Josefine Lenz from AWI Potsdam and Thomas Rackow (@polar.thomas) from AWI Bremerhaven.

The following so-called Dry Days were filled with safety training, lectures and presentations, including an introduction to MOSAiC by the project manager Anja Sommerfeld and the project leader Markus Rex, but also about conflict management, indigenous people in the Arctic region and already some outreach talks to middle school students.

Lecture-wise I was especially happy about the lecture on “Social-ecological systems of the Arctic Yakutia in the context of global change” by the Yakutian geographer Stanislav Ksenofontov. For natural scientists like me it is easy to just focus on the how and why of climate change, but it is crucial to also think about the impact it has on indigenous communities. So in the spirit of MOSAiC we already started out really interdisciplinary!

We talked about what challenges we were expecting for living for six weeks in a very confined space with a lot of people with almost no communication to the outside world in the middle of the Arctic. You can guess, we had a lot. Most of our fears turned out to be harmless in the upcoming weeks.

We also got to speak to real expedition experts to get some last minute tips, like always carry some snacks in case of sea sickness. That actually helped me a lot – this way I didn’t even have to take any sea sickness medication. My roommate sadly wasn’t that lucky. Also we learned to always bring something to share. Especially good chocolate, tea and coffee are very beloved goods. What I later learned onboard: it is nice to have little presents, e.g. from your home region or country, to give away to the people you met and liked on board as a little thank you. Especially Russians seem to have this tradition and since I really appreciated it, I plan to adapt it in the future.

The MOSAiC school participants.

Check for more photos on Instagram.

This was all possible thanks to:

Everything I write here reflects only my personal experiences, opinions and beliefs. You can find the official website of the MOSAiC expedition via the following link: