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Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:

Location Tromso, Norway
Academic Term Summer A-Term
July 05– August 03, 2018
Estimated Program Fee $6,800
Credits 12 UW credits
Prerequisites None
Program Directors Lydia Heberling (
Troy Storfjell (
Program Manager Darielle Horsey |
Priority Application Deadline January 31, 2018
Extended Deadline March 1, 2018
Information Sessions Contact Program Director for more information.
General Encounter indigenous Sámi place-based culture and ways of knowing, and the complex ways in which these have interacted with majority, colonial culture and institutions.

Program Description

One of the important tools used to colonize the Indigenous Sámi people has been the ordering of knowledge traditionally enshrined in the university. This Eurocentric way of knowing tends to value the abstract over the specific and the individual over the collective, dividing knowledge into separate disciplines and often treating the objects of knowledge as devoid of agency or inherent worth. Not only has this way of knowing opened Sápmi (or Sámi Land) to the controlling, knowing gaze of the colonizer, it has also overwritten and sometimes silenced the place-based intellectual and philosophical traditions of the Sámi, turning their beloved Sámi Eadnan (Sámi Mother Earth) into commodifiable “natural resources” while positioning Sámi knowledge as quaint, unreliable and outdated, and establishing the outside scientists and scholars as the reliable experts who are authorized to speak the truth about the Sámi and their landIn the face of this powerful colonial onslaught, though, traditional Sámi ways of knowing and ways of relating to place have continued, adapting to the new contexts in ways that have allowed Sámi culture to both survive and, in places, thrive. This cultural resilience is a testament to the strength of the Sámi’s place-based ways of knowing and being. The yoik, an ancient form of traditional Sámi music, exemplifies the staying power and adaptability of Sámi culture, and its transition from an often hidden, local and personal performance tradition to a popular public genre performed by accomplished professionals over the past fifty years has played an important part in the Sámi cultural and political revival that has lead to increasing Sámi self-determination in recent decades.

This program will bring students to the Norwegian side of Sápmi in order to study and encounter Sámi place-based culture and ways of knowing, and some of the complex ways in which these have interacted with majority, colonial culture and institutions. We will spend some time in the northern city of Romsa/Tromsø, where we will engage with Sámi scholars from Norway’s Arctic University and other culture bearers, while also encountering urban Sámi ways of existing in a majority Norwegian community.

From there we will travel to the small coastal community of Gáivuotna/Kåfjord, where we will attend the annual Sámi-hosted Indigenous music and cultural festival Riddu Riddu. In addition to experiencing a variety of yoik and other cultural performances, students will also have ample opportunity to interact with Sámi attendees and performers, and to see how the Sámi situate their own artistic traditions within a larger global Indigenous context. Our seminar will meet regularly throughout the festival in order to process and discuss what we are experiencing, and to help students maintain a critical focus on their own positions and interactions.

Following Riddu Riddu we will head to the inland Sámi village of Kárášjohka/Karasjok, home of the Norwegian Sámediggi, or Sámi Parliament. Here we will experience a rural Sámi-language, Sámi majority community that also functions as a sort of political and cultural center. We will meet with cultural and political leaders from the Sámediggi and its associated institutions, while also engaging with local culture bearers and participating in such traditional activities as salmon fishing and traveling the Kárášjohka river in Sámi river boats, all while continuing to maintain the academic focus of our trip“Indigenous Sámi Culture and Connection to the Land in Arctic Europe” offers a program of study that fits incredibly well with the Department of American Indian Studies’ educational goals. AIS courses typically engage with the histories, psychological and social realities, expressive cultures, traditional land-based practices, and political status of Indigenous peoples. Our travel through Sápmi territory engaging Sámi peoples will touch upon almost all the key thematic areas that AIS seeks to explore. AIS is committed to understanding Indigenous cultural revitalization processes as well as developing cross-cultural understanding. “Place-Based Culture and Colonial Knowledge in the Land of the Sámi” will offer students an ideal context to learn how these processes are fostered.

“Indigenous Sámi Culture and Connection to the Land in Arctic Europe” offers a program of study that fits incredibly well with the Department of American Indian Studies’ educational goals. AIS courses typically engage with the histories, psychological and social realities, expressive cultures, traditional land-based practices, and political status of Indigenous peoples. Our travel through Sápmi territory engaging Sámi peoples will touch upon almost all the key thematic areas that AIS seeks to explore. AIS is committed to understanding Indigenous cultural revitalization processes as well as developing cross-cultural understanding. “Place-Based Culture and Colonial Knowledge in the Land of the Sámi” will offer students an ideal context to learn how these processes are fostered.



Tromso, Norway


Kárášjohka (Karasjok)


Co-directors and students will stay in Studentsamskipnaden’s student housing in Romsa/Tromsø. These are individual units with single beds, toilets and showers, and with access to kitchen TV viewing rooms. We are staying in the University in Tromsø dorms. They are safe and secure, with locking doors on the outside of each dormitory as well as locking doors for each room.



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

There will be some walking in hilly and mountainous terrain, often in areas that would not meet ADA standards. There will also be some river boating. Students should be able to walk moderate distances in hilly terrain, and have some swimming ability for safety reasons. They should also not be averse to sleeping in sleeping bags for several nights.


12 UW Credits


AIS 475: Sámi Culture and the Sounds of Place (5 Credits, VLPA)

Place is a powerful and complex product of the interaction between people and their environment, as evidenced in the stories we tell and the songs we sing about place. This seminar introduces students to Indigenous Sámi culture, focusing on the ways in which it is intimately connected to the specific places of Sápmi (Sámi Land). We will explore how the land, its human and non-human occupants, and the past and present interact to produce Sámi luondo, or “spirit,” and how Sámi culture participates in the ongoing production of Sámi place.

Appreciating the specific importance of place needs to involve more than simply reading about it, and we will be dwelling in and interacting with several Sámi places. Students will learn about Sámi history and society, as well as Sámi literature, art and music, through a combination of reading, seminar discussion, and interaction with Sámi scholars, artists, musicians, communities and places. We will pay particular attention to yoik, the traditional vocal music of the Sámi, and what it can tell us about Sámi culture, identity and resilience, or how Sámi place sounds as it manifests itself in yoik.

Learning goals include:
The goals of this course are to give students a broad familiarity with Sámi culture and society, while helping them to understand the complex relationships of place—between land, animals, stories and people—that inform such expressive cultural forms as yoik, literature and art, and that provide Sámi culture with an adaptive resilience in the face of colonial pressures. Students will also develop a critical awareness of their own situation in relation to place, including Indigenous place, and of their roles as outside interlocutors in Sámi society. A variety of formative and summative assessments will be used, including journals, short reaction papers, and a larger, student-developed project.

CHID 470/AIS 475: Theorizing Global Indigenous Studies (5 Credits, VLPA)

Although the roughly 6000 Indigenous cultures of the world differ substantially (accounting for 90 percent of the world’s cultural diversity), there are still meaningful ways in which we can discuss Indigeneity in a global perspective. This seminar will give students a theoretical grounding in global Indigenous studies, focusing in particular on such issues as colonization and decolonization, environmental degradation and expropriation, the relationships of knowledge and power, and the importance of competing ways of knowing. It will also introduce students to Indigenous methodologies and approaches to academic scholarship.

While we will read and discuss texts by authors from a number of different cultures, many of the concrete examples that we will study will be taken from Sámi culture and history, as students will be guests in Sápmi (Sámi Land) while taking this course. Our participation in the Riddu Riddu Indigenous music festival will provide us with an important opportunity to see how some Sámi articulate their own Indigeneity within a larger, global Indigenous context, while also giving us the opportunity to talk with and listen to performers from a variety of other Indigenous peoples. Our visit to the Norwegian Sámediggi, or Sámi Parliament, will also give us a chance to discuss Sámi participation in global Indigenous politics with some of the Sámi leaders who are actually involved in these processes.

Learning goals include:
This course will help students to develop a theoretical framework for understanding some of the key issues involved in Indigenous studies, including a reflexive self-awareness of their own position within the complex relationships of power that permeate this academic endeavor. Students will learn to think critically about research and Indigenous peoples, while also coming to appreciate the validity of Indigenous intellectual and philosophical traditions. Assessments will include journals, article summaries, and student-led presentations centered within a Sámi context.

AIS 475: Introduction to the North Sámi Language (2 Credits, VLPA)

Sámi languages differ dramatically from the languages of the settler majorities in the four countries that have divided and colonized Sápmi (Sámi Land). Not only are they substantially different from Finnish and completely unrelated to Norwegian, Swedish and Russian, but they also organize the conceptual world of their speakers in ways that differ radically from the conceptual worlds of their colonizers. North Sámi, for instance, has several hundred highly nuanced terms for snow and ice, along with a rich and precise vocabulary for describing landscape and the natural environment. Of the nine Sámi languages that are still living, seven Sámi languages have fewer than a thousand native speakers each, and three of those have fewer than a hundred. Moreover, the realities of colonization mean that many Sámi speakers are only literate in the language of their colonizers. At the same time, many more Sámi are not fluent in their native languages at all.

Language revitalization has therefore been an important arena for Sámi decolonization efforts, and we will visit several language learning sites, including day care centers, schools and a university. We will talk with Sámi linguists and language teachers and scholars, and will explore the importance of Sámi language for Sámi identity. In Kárášjohka we will experience a thriving Sámi language community, finding opportunities to learn from a wide variety of speakersThis course will provide students with a brief introduction to North Sámi vocabulary and grammar, while also focusing on the importance of language in Sámi culture and its significance as the site of both colonial oppression and Indigenous resistance.

Learning goals include:
In this course students will acquire a novice fluency in North Sámi, while also developing a solid understanding of the distinctness of Sámi languages and their significance in Sámi society and decolonization efforts. Assessment will be primarily through a language journal and oral evaluations.



Lydia Heberling, American Indian Studies, Co-Program Director

Troy Storfjell, Department of Language and Literatures, Pacific Lutheran University



Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $6,800

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • $350 CHID Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1,700)
  • Food (about $40/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: July 6, 2018

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans.  To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Here are some ways to find additional support:

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.