Ali Prevost-Reilly reflects on her term abroad in Greenland

By Ali Prevost-Reilly, Dartmouth '21
Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland Exchange Student, 2018


When I first told people I was going to study at Ilisimatusarfik- the University of Greenland for the fall of 2018, responses ranged from a shocked, "Woah" to, "But Greenland's not a real place." Thanks to a grant from the Institute of Arctic Studies at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, I spent three months in Nuuk taking courses in international human rights law and indigenous rights, trying to navigate directions in Greenlandic (a language that cannot be found on google translate), and building relationships with friends from 15 different countries. In addition to my studies, I worked at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, where I contributed to various projects in the Fish and Shellfish department. We performed ecological field work in the Nuuk fjord assessing cod movement patterns, and I worked to digitize and organize tagging data on Redfish in order to gain insight into their distribution and movement along the West coast of Greenland. As a biology major, my time at the Nature Institute provided me with valuable hands-on research experience, and gave me enhanced insight into the wildlife and landscape of the incredibly beautiful and vulnerable Arctic. While I have long been intrigued by Arctic science, it was not until living in Greenland that I came to know the people that call it a home and realize their deep connection to their environment. My participation in the Greenland exchange left me with the realization of the importance of Greenlandic and indigenous voices in Western science and portrayal of the Arctic, something I plan to acknowledge and incorporate in my studies moving forward.