student information- typically questions new students have in mind
ABOUT THE COURSE
What is the language of the course?
This is an international study which is taught in English. Written and oral/ practical exam are to be taken in English.
How many credit points?
For completing this study you get 60 ETCS. You may be able to integrate these credits on your bachelor, if this is conform to your home university. You get a certificate for 30h first aid course. In this study you do not get specific instructor certificates, e.g. you do not become a glacier/ kayak/… instructor.
Will this course help to get me a job afterwards?
The study has a practical orientation. This means you are supposed to be able to start working as a guide after completing ANG.
Being on this course and living in Longyearbyen you will get to know the different companies and get in contact with other guides. People will know your face and they also know you have spent a whole year of study on Svalbard to become a professional guide.
During the study you will also have 150 hours of work practice in a guide company. Many former students started working in “their” company after finishing the work practice and some started working as full-time guides and stayed on Svalbard.
…and be aware that there are more cold places than just Svalbard ! The Arctic (and Antarctic…) is big! The skills you learn here can be useful in many other places than just Svalbard.
How expensive is the course?
There is no course fee apart from the usual administration fee at Norwegian universities.
Of course you might spend some money on equipment if you don’t have everything from before. And you will have to buy a couple of books. Other than that you will have to pay for boat transport and food on all class trips.
Can I work besides the study?
Of course you can work in Longyearbyen as a student and some students also work a bit as guides during the study.
But: Do not underestimate the intensity of the study! You will spend many long days both inside and outside and you will have to work on assignments and group tasks. You also need time to practice on things you learned in the study. Sometimes there can be lectures and excursions also in the evening and weekend. And of course you should also have time to experience Svalbard on your own, to relax and to get to be part of the social life in Longyearbyen. So do not overload your time schedule!
Who are the teachers?
The study coordinator is Sigmund Andersen. In this study you will meet a lot of skilled and enthusiastic teachers.Many of your lectures will be held by teachers in Alta and from UNIS. In addition you will meet experienced mountain guides, glacier instructors, Svalbard guides, and people from the government of Svalbard (Sysselmannen), Lufttransport, the Red Cross and some other special guests.
Where do we have lectures?
The indoor lectures are held at UNIS in Longyearbyen or in Alta in Norway.
Do I need a driver’s license?
Yes, we highly recommend you to have a drivers license, because without the license you will not be allowed to drive snow mobiles on Svalbard and will have to be a passenger. Working as a guide on Svalbard it is important to have a driver’s license to be able to drive guests/ equipment.
I got accepted and was told register on the Student Web. How do I do that?
Just relax for the moment. You will get a student number from the University of Tromsø when you have arrived in Longyearbyen. First then you can register on the Student Web.
Before you arrive Svalbard you need to have a travel insurance. When staying here for more than half a year, you become a local (see Registration on Svalbard) and you will be covered for the search and rescue insurance on Svalbard.
Registration on Svalbard – This is very important.
When you have arrived on Svalbard you need to register at the registration office (likningskontoret). Bring your passport and say that you are an ANG student. The have a list over all students on the course and will allow you to register. You find the office in the bank/ post office building, up the stairs and to the right! Do this as soon as possible! You need to have registered already before the first trip!
Getting to Svalbard
Getting around in Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is a small settlement. There is no public transportation apart from the bus to the airport. There are taxis in Longyearbyen and they are used quite a lot. Very few students have a car. Most students just walk to school, but it is very nice to have a bike. You get around quickly and it is nature friendly and good training. It can be slippery in winter, but with winter tires you can ride your bike all year round! Some students bring their bikes from home and it is also possible to buy new and used bikes in Longyearbyen.
Which equipment do I not need to bring?
The ANG study has a lot of good equipment which you can use on trips with the class, as well as on your private excursions/ for training on your own. Tents, cooking equipment (stoves, pots) and ropes are provided by the study. Be sure to bring all the personal equipment on the equipment list you get before semester start.
Do I need to bring winter equipment for the first semester?
Most of your winter equipment (skis, probe, receiver-transceiver, shovel, etc.) will not be used in class before after new year. But the fall semester can be very cold, so make sure you bring your winter clothing.
Can I buy equipment in Longyearbyen?
Yes, there are several sports shops in Longyearbyen. As a student you will also get discounts (usually between 15-20%) on most items. However the shops do not have the equipment for the whole class in stock, so it is important that you order the things you need upfront. If you order things like for example glacier equipment somewhere else, do this early to make sure everything arrives in time – especially if you order from abroad.
Can I buy used equipment/ books from former students?
Most students keep their equipment and books after the study. However you can try and ask, for example by posting on the Arctic nature guide facebook page.
You will need your own sleeping bag for the study. There will be multi-day trips both in summer and in winter so be sure you have a proper sleeping bag. The temperatures in the winter season can fall down to -35, but the average temp is about – 15 degrees. Whether to use synthetic or down on Svalbard the opinions are split. Both down and synthetic bags are used by locals and students, or sometimes a combination of both (some use 2 sleeping bags in very cold nights).
Boots & crampons
Within the Arctic nature guide study, the focus of the glacier course is hiking on glaciers (brevandring). You will NOT need equipment for ice climbing. This is important to remember when you buy equipment like ice axe, crampons and boots. ‘
Make sure the crampons you buy fit to your boots. Crampons with a quick lock system can only used on special boots. Ask in the shop and bring your boots when you are buying crampons if you are uncertain. It is important that your boots are not too soft. Hiking boots for glacier use should be a bit stiffer, but you do not have to get special super-hard glacier boots. Stiff boots are nice for glacier hiking, but if you want to have good all-round hiking boots, don’t choose the very stiffest model.
All the maps needed for the study can be bought in Longyearbyen. You will also need a GPS for the study and there is a GPS map for Svalbard.
You are not required to have your own rifle for the study. The study will provide rifles for study exursions, but you will need your own to go on private trips. As you usually go on trips with others it is usually no problem to find somebody who has a rifle. Still, especially becoming a guide, it is nice to be independent of borrowing systems and others when you want to go out on private trips or train on something in the free time.
If you have a rifle from before, you should bring it. You can also buy a rifle in town as soon as you have become a resident (see Registration on Svalbard). The caliber mostly used on Svalbard and in the study is 30-06. The minimum caliber for polar bear protection is 307.
Snowmobiles are a common means of transportation on Svalbard in the winter time. Many students buy snowmobiles to get on private trips, but you do not need to buy one. You will get some snowmobile training in the ANG study and for driving one you need a driver’s license.
In Longyearbyen you can’t buy the books you need for the study. Check the literature list and buy/ order the books you need as soon as possible. This means before you arrive in Longyearbyen. To borrow novels etc. you can use the local library for free, it has a good selection of books and films and a lot of polar/ Svalbard literature. The museum has a lot of interesting polar/ Svalbard literature for sale.