Friday, December 13, 2013

Finnish exchange student enjoys Alaska's people and nature

In a semester exchange from the Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Jenni Peteri has gotten to know the people and nature of Alaska.

She loves them both. "I hope to come back again," she said.

Raised in south Lapland, Finland, Peteri had never been interested in visiting the U.S. until she got an email about opportunities for exchange programs. "Alaska was my first choice," she said.

Jenni Peteri

Raised on a farm, Peteri is a senior majoring in agriculture. Her parents raise goats and sheep and operate a plant nursery. "Both my parents have a strong connection to nature." she said.

Agriculture was her choice of study because of her interests in sustainability and the environment. "I hope I can have an effect on those from the inside," she said. Her career goals are still under consideration.

"It's hard to decide what to study because I am interested in too many things. I think it's really important to study nature and culture in the north."

While at UAF, Peteri took the natural resources management course Soils and the Environment, two rural development courses, rock climbing and ceramics. "I enjoyed the soils class and I liked learning about Alaska Natives through rural development," she said.

She took advantage of an Outdoor Adventures climbing and hiking trip and also visited Chena Hot Springs and Tolovana Hot Springs. For Thanksgiving, she traveled to Homer with friends from her dorm. "It was great," she said. "There was a lot to see and I got to see what Thanksgiving is about."

What Peteri will remember most about her semester at UAF is the people. "It's really funny; I came to Alaska and got to know people from India as well as Alaskans."

Her only complaint was that the fall semester flew by and she will soon return to Finland. "It went too fast," she said.

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