Internship and Covid-19

On the way up Lindholmhøgda in March 2020. Photo: Stina Skånhoff.

Photo: Stina Skånhoff.

Despite the Covid-19 situation, our five students in the bioCEED internship course have managed to continue their work for their clients – whether from their home “office” in Longyearbyen, in mainland Norway or in Australia.

21 April 2020
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen

In spring UNIS has an internship course for some of our biology students. This is done in collaboration with the Centre for Excellence in Biology Education, bioCEED. bioCEED develops biology educations that fill future needs in science and society.

The five students attending the internship course in spring 2020 have had to suddenly adjust to the Covid-19 pandemic and get their internship experience changed.

From working with colleagues at UNIS, Polar Permaculture or the Longyearbyen Local Council, they had to face the uncertainty surrounding the closing of UNIS, the lockdown of mainland Norway and many other countries.

Two of the internship students, Ola and Dominic, went to their respective homes; in Ola’s case Kragerø in Norway, in Dominic’s case Australia. The other three chose to stay on in Longyearbyen.

Blogging about their new internship situation
The five students regularly blog about their internship experience through the bioCEED blog site “Learning through experience”. Here are some of what they have experienced during the last extraordinary month.

Read their blog posts here:

– Now I’m sitting at home in Kragerø, Norway, looking at the green grass and trees, feeling a bit sad, writes Ola.  – My work at Polar Permaculture will continue, but I’ll be doing all the work from home, obviously. There is plenty of tasks I can do from my computer, and I think it will be just as meaningful as the work I’ve been doing in Longyearbyen. It won’t be close to the same as being there though, but we’ll just have to make the best out of the situation, he concludes.

Stina, interning for the Longyearbyen Local Council (LL), is working from her home. – As measures were taken to avoid contact and potential contamination risks, the students were advised to work from home, something that could easily be facilitated by LL. They have provided a PC and all communication goes through emails and Teams, something that has worked really well.

Dominic is back home in Australia, but he keeps working with the bioCEED project online. – With many people suddenly at home and unable to travel there has been a massive shift in most industries being moved online to adapt to the new circumstances.  All teaching and assessment from most teaching institutions around the globe have had to be redesigned for an online syllabus. As bioCEED develops new teaching methods we have been directly involved in this transition. I’ve not only been able to observe first-hand how things are changing but also help contribute, he writes in his blogpost.

Lina, working for the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS), is working on poster presentations and updating the SIOS Facebook page, adding data into the observation facility catalogue, which contains all the instruments being used on Svalbard, she explains in her video blog on YouTube.

– It has been really nice having this work and be given responsibility for some constant tasks, Lina says in the video.


Arctic Biology bioCEED Coronavirus