Interviews

Arne Campbell

«Yakutia is a land of contrasts»
Each year the North-Eastern Federal University is receiving international students on internships. The main goal of visiting students who come on this program is the study of the Russian language and the culture of Yakutia. One of them is a 20 years old Norwegian Arne Campbell from Tromsø. In an interview with Valerian Govorov, Arne Campbell spoke about the peculiarities of adaptation in Yakutia.

Why did you decide to come to Yakutsk?
Arne Campbell: My parents wanted me to leave the comfort zone, to learn the Russian language and broaden my horizons. If I went to Moscow, then nothing would have changed – the culture is not very different from our own, I can feel comfortable there without knowledge of the Russian language, there is a moderate climate. Here everything is different: the culture is fundamentally different. Not so many people who speak foreign languages and the climate is awfully harsh. In addition, my mother GuhildHoogensen is a professor of the TromsøUniversity and has established good relations with NEFU. So, everything was telling to me that I should go to Yakutsk.

What is the difference between Yakutia and Norway?
Arne Campbell: A main difference is that the Yakutians put a lot of meat in any food. Nowhere else do they put so much meat in a pizza.Yakutians consume large amounts of meat, although I can not say that the meat here is cheap. People in Yakutia are very welcoming, open and fun. I'm not saying that everybody in Norway is sullen and angry, but everything is as it should be. No more, no less. Yakutia is indeed a land of contrasts.

How long have you been here?
Arne Campbell: I arrived here in September, so I have got used to local climate gradually. I had to adapt to local conditions In a process and purchase a huge Arctic down jacket and Yakutian boots. By the way, unty are the best shoes I've ever worn. Seriously, my shoes froze through even in the fall, but in fur boots it is comfortable even at -50.

Do you feel lonely here?
Arne Campbell: No, quite the contrary. At home, I constantly was sitting in my room at the computer, playing, watching TV shows and cartoons. Here I have constantly to communicate with people, because I do not live alone in a room. It is necessary to talk with the teachers and other students. But now I have adapted to the local community, I often go out with friends when the weather allows. In the autumn I went to Geekfest, and I liked all these costumes. I could never have imagined that so far away, thousands of miles away from my home, so many people would share my interests.

What do you think about NEFU?
Arne Campbell: I was surprised. I did not expect that NEFU would have large buildings, because other buildings Yakutsk are relatively smaller. Then to my surprise, I found out that there are many university buildings around the city. In Norway, and almost everywhere I ‘ve been, universities are very centralized, that is, everything is in walking distance.

Do you miss home?
Arne Campbell: Of course. I last saw my family at Christmas. I went home for the holidays. I try to keep in touch via Skype, but it's still not the same. I'm leaving here in May, but I'm going to miss Yakutia.In these months, I have become attached to this land and these people. I hope that I will come back here someday.

Valerian GOVOROV,
NEFU Newsroom School of Journalism