On August 20, MBA students Stephanie Slaman, Robyn Campbell and Chloe Donatelli, and recent MBA grad Lindsey MacIntosh traveled to Northern Norway to conduct and present research. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was organized by Dr. Pat Maher, Associate Professor of Community Studies at CBU, after being awarded approximately $215,000 by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education.
Once in Norway, the MBA students joined 29 other students from 17 countries and five universities. The group spent the first week of their trip in a field-study course offered in collaboration by University of Lapland, Vancouver Island University (VIU), Cape Breton University, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Umeå University, the University of Iceland and the University of Oulu; all member institutions in the University of the Arctic’s Thematic Network on Northern Tourism. The course allowed students to examine the Eastern Finnmark region as a sustainable bird-watching destination.
After completing their field-study course, the CBU and VIU group travelled to Akureyri and Raufarhöfn, Iceland to participate in the 5th conference of the International Polar Tourism Research Network. CBU and VIU students collaborated to present their initial findings from their research in Eastern Finnmark.
“The benefits of this experience are endless,” says Lindsey MacIntosh. “Stepping outside of our typical area of study [community economic development] into a new country with different perspectives, cultures and challenges has allowed us to get outside of the box and better appreciate issues at hand. It also helped strengthen our networks as we worked with people who have the same research interests and passion. Who knows what collaborations could unfold in the future.”
Overall, the trip provided the students with the opportunity to expand, strengthen and disseminate their knowledge about or relevant to the Arctic. Although there was a heavy focus on tourism in the Circumpolar North, Dr. Maher says, “This field course and subsequent online courses running in Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 should be equally applicable to other rural and peripheral destinations – such as Cape Breton.”
All three courses are part of the value-added joint program developed for graduate students across the seven institutions, with SIU’s financial assistance.