21-year-old Erasmus exchange student Martine Kaspersen has just completed her placement at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute in Orkney.
Here she writes about her experiences in Orkney…
Archaeology and history has always been a big part of my life.
As a child, my parents, sibling and I travelled to local museums and historic places regularly and since then, I’ve always found prehistory extremely fascinating. My parents were always supportive of my decision to take an academic education within the field of archaeology and my adventures started there!
I started the Bachelors programme in archaeology in Trondheim in 2016. The course was great, we travelled basically around all of Trøndelag (which is approximately situated in central Norway).
We saw different sites and experienced hands on archaeology. This made us able to spot the difference between a Bronze Age materials and Iron Age materials – just by looking at the artefact.
Even before I started NTNU (Norwegian School of Science and Technology), I knew I wanted to go abroad during the degree programme.
The hard part, was deciding exactly where I wanted to go. I had a hard time deciding on this, as I am used to city life and wanted to do something new.
In the end, after a lot of thought and consideration, a friend suggested Orkney. One would think that a place with so many connections to Norway and Trondheim, a Norwegian-born and raised in Trondheim should know about Orkney.
The thing was, I didn’t! Orkney – for some odd reason – is not discussed in any history lessons in school, or at my archaeology course.
I found Orkney very interesting, and the nature and climate was something I already was familiar with (except the lack of hills, mountains and woodland), so the adaption to the place wasn’t too great for me. I fell in love with the history, monuments and how isolated the islands can seem for a person who has spent most of her life in a city.
The next thing I knew, I was on a plane to Orkney, accompanied by my older sister and mother. January was cold, windy with a lot of rainy days.
The people at the course was so amazingly welcoming and I found friends for life, right away.
The courses were extremely interesting, and I put heart and soul into essays and presentations – which paid off pretty well. I also attended the Easter field trip to Bute, which was magnificent. I loved every part of it.
After a trip back to Trondheim during Easter, it was right back to writing essays, presentations and preparing for the exam. Everything went well in the end, and before I knew it, I had been in Orkney for almost four months.
I loved every single minute of it, and am very thankful for all the help, support and great adventures both the staff at the college and my friends have made possible.
Thank you for having me here, and bearing with me. I will now be heading back to Trondheim to finish my bachelor, and then straight to a Masters degree – and hopefully even a PHD.
If you would like to explore the possibility of studying and contributing to the research undertaken at the UHI Archaeology Institute at undergraduate or postgraduate level then please either e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website.