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Luisa Lucio, Brazil

11.8.2016

A pool party in the Arctic? Sounds like a stretch, huh? Luisa Lucio from Brazil, an exchange student of international relations, tells you how it feels taking a dip on the top of the world.

  

“It was like 14 degrees outside – my friends decided to use an inflatable pool and have a pool party. And when I told my mum about it, she was like: “What? Are you crazy?“ 

You look so beautiful. How are you today?

[laughter] Thank you! Um. Well, actually, this week is a little weird because most of my friends are already leaving for home. All the goodbyes make us happy and sad at the same time because we remember everything that has happened. So it is good, but when we have to say goodbye to everyone… it kind of sucks.

Of all the meals you’ve had in Lapland, is there something you would cook back home?

I could try – I’m a really bad cook, but… [laughter] I think my favorite meal here has been reindeer. Probably because we don’t have anything that tastes like that at home: we don’t hunt animals, we only eat cattle and, you know, sheep, things like that. So it does taste very different from everything I’ve tried. But I don’t know if I could get it right.

For all the foodies out there – can you describe the taste of reindeer meat?

Oh, I don’t know, it tastes stronger, I guess. People say that it’s because it’s a free animal, there is all the excitement of the… um… [cracking up] I don’t know, I don’t really know why! But it does taste really good – I tried two types of reindeer meat, and, yeah, they were by far my favorite meat here.

Did you encounter any big surprises once you had arrived in Lapland?

Surprise, I don’t know… I was already expecting the cold and everything, but I guess I could say that it was the thing that shocked me the most. Because, yeah, you can imagine cold, but you can’t really imagine minus-thirty cold, you know.

How have you felt about the cold weather – after all, you survived the winter in the north?

I’ve always liked the cold, probably because it never gets cold where I come from. And, yeah, I do enjoy it – I only have two layers on right now, I don’t know the temperature, but I don’t feel cold at all. And, just the other week – it was funny because it was like 14 degrees outside – my friends decided to use an inflatable pool and have a pool party. And it was great, we had a lot of fun! And when I told my mum about it, she was like: “What? Are you crazy?” If it was there [in Brazil] – of course, it never gets as low as 14 degrees where I come from – if it was there, I would be lying in bed, covered with blankets or something. Because, at home, 20 degrees is super cold already.

Is there an adventure you had during your stay you would like to share with us?

I would say going ice swimming was definitely an adventure! And I never, ever, ever, thought I would get to do something like that in my whole lifetime. So, that was something. It took a lot of persuasion from my friends to convince me to do that [laughter], but in the end I did. And it was great: like, the feeling is, I don’t know, just crazy. But you feel really alive afterwards. And, yeah, we did go road tripping further up north, which was crazy as well because we’re already very far north! That was really fun.

You’ve come a long way – how did you end up choosing Lapland as your destination?

The northern lights, the midnight sun, things that I could never ever experience at home. So that was something, and also because the educational system here is free of charge. I don’t have a scholarship to come here – most European students have the Erasmus programme – so I had to pay everything out of my own money. And not having to pay for tuition was certainly something that appealed to me.

Can you think of any major differences between your home university and the University of Lapland?

Yeah, it’s completely different. At home we have classes every day from seven in the morning until twelve, and our courses last one whole semester. Here, there are so many independent study things, where you focus on reading books, articles or something and then you write the exam and you get the credits. We don’t have anything like that at home – it’s always very teacher-centered. I think here the students have more independence to, I don’t know, focus in the way they feel works best for them… in their studies.

So what about after university? What are your plans for the future?

I don’t really know yet what I want to work with. I would love to work with something that would allow me to travel because that’s what I really enjoy doing. I’ve been on exchange before, and it’s definitely been the best time of my life. I’ve developed a lot during those visits.

Could you imagine living here in Lapland?

Yeah, sure. I really liked it. It might be hard with the whole six-month-winter thing [laughter] and then no setting sun (which is crazy as well!), but, yeah, I would definitely consider living here.