“I took the first online course ever offered in 2002, through Yukon College,” said the 27 year-old from Whitehorse, Yukon. Crawford was one of four students to take this first course offered by UArctic’s Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies (BCS) program.

It was at the 1998 Circumpolar Conference on Sustainable Development in Whitehorse that Crawford first heard about UArctic. Since then she has studied photography, bicycled through Cuba, travelled to Russia, and worked for an NGO in the Solomon Islands, all while taking BCS courses and waiting for the program to catch up to her ambitions.

BCS is now offered online or locally through 30 UArctic member institutions, and students can choose from 14 advanced emphases, to focus their studies on specific topics.

Crawford finds it exciting to be part of an international group of students so involved in their studies. “The dynamics of having students from Greenland and all parts of Russia, discussing abstract ideas and how they relate to their personal experiences, are really amazing,” she said.

Crawford is now taking the Arctic Studies Program, at the University of Lapland, Finland through the north2north exchange program. “Since I began BCS, the largest attraction for me was the north2north program,” she said. “I totally think that’s the best kind of learning that you can do, it’s an integral aspect of the program.”

Crawford will graduate from the BCS program next year, with an Advanced Emphasis in Arctic Governance, from the University of Northern British Columbia.

To students considering the BCS and north2north programs, Crawford says: “They should do it! You have the opportunity to go to another country, or the flexibility to be able to stay at home. It’s alternative learning that nobody else is doing.”
1. Anna working in the Yukon
2. Anna in the Lofoten Islands, Norway