Anastasia and Sandra have both graduated from the Master’s Program on Health and Well-being in the Circumpolar Area, awarded by the University of Oulu and developed under the auspices of UArctic’s Thematic Network on Health and Well-being in the Arctic. Anastasia was actually the first ever to graduate from the program.

So, what are Anastasia and Sandra doing today? After their graduation both have continued activities in UArctic through research and studies. Currently they are enrolled in a PhD program organized by the Thematic Network on Health and Well-being in the Arctic and working at the Thule Institute, University of Oulu. In her PhD study, Anastasia is focusing on current and recent trends and patterns in Arctic populations, with a particular focus on population aging and its causes and consequences. Sandra’s research is related to the impacts of colonialism, structural racism and inequality on the health and wellbeing of indigenous peoples in Canada, Finland and Norway.

Anastasia and Sandra have had chances to participate in many UArctic related activities, such as conferences, publications and summer schools. They both were contributing authors in a chapter on Human Health and Wellbeing on the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR II) that was written with Thematic Network cooperation. During the summer of 2013, they attended a UArctic PhD summer school “Health, Society and Environment in relation to large-scale industrial projects” in Greenland. They regard this visit as a unique experience that widened their knowledge and enabled them to exchange ideas with other young researchers as well as people living in the area. They both agree that Greenland is a destination they would perhaps never had the change to visit on their own and therefore value highly this opportunity given by UArctic. “Sure you can read about Arctic regions to increase your knowledge, but nothing beats spending time in a place and talking to the people who actually live there, in order to gain a better understanding of the varying contexts of the Arctic region”, summarizes Sandra. In addition, both value the multidisciplinary networks they have been able to establish through UArctic activities and see many of these contacts as important future collaborators on their future careers.

In the future, they both look forward to learn more about the Arctic, keep on building linkages with other people interested in the same topics and thereby making new colleagues and friends. They also intend to keep working in close connection to UArctic since they see the network as a productive platform for conducting research on the North and developing one’s academic career. As Anastasia puts it: “If you have a minute, go to the UArctic website, check what is on agenda today and apply. Who knows, with a high probability it can be life-changing.