“The North has somehow become a home for me. I really like the climatic conditions as well as the rather sparse population, but of course, there's also this thing called a passion,” said the 28 year-old from Berlin.

Sellheim first came north to Rovaniemi, Finland to take the Arctic Studies Program (ASP) at the University of Lapland in 2007. While in Rovaniemi, he also enrolled in UArctic’s Circumpolar Studies (BCS) program, taking online courses through Bodø University in Norway.

The BCS helped to fill in the gaps of Sellheim’s Scandinavian Studies degree. “My other studies just marginally dealt with indigenous issues…UArctic really tries to include and value traditional knowledge and indigenous interests in its curriculum,” he said.

When Sellheim returned to Berlin, his association with UArctic didn’t end. He became an intern, and worked on the UArctic website.

Now Sellheim is back in Rovaniemi, where he is working on his B.A. thesis. “I chose to write about land rights in Finnish Lapland and the associated dispute between the Saami and the forest industry,” said Sellheim.

Through his research and education, Sellheim is becoming part of a new set of young people who are looking north for their future. “I think in times of increasing attraction of the Arctic for the EU, it's good to have people like me, who have made the north their mental and physical home,” he said.

Sellheim will complete his BA in Scandinavian Studies in the spring of 2009, and will continue his northern education, with the Master's of Polar Law program at the University of Akureyri, Iceland.

For more information on UArctic Internships, please go here: UArctic Interns