Arctic Expedition 2014

Follow the journey : July 9 - July 24

Students on Ice | Natural Heritage Building | 1740 Chemin Pink | Gatineau QC J9J 3N7 | 1-866-336-64231-866-336-6423

Daily Journey Updates

July 9, 2014

Today is a travel day as we welcome 86 students from across Canada, the U.S., China, Monaco, Greenland and the UK along with a team of educators to Ottawa to kick off pre expedition activities.

In the afternoon, several of the early arrivals enjoyed a tour of Canada's Museum of History in Ottawa.

Read student journals below...

Kaitlyn and Chris with Donovan_Arctic2014_July9_Ottawa airport
Students Chris Qiu and Kaitlyn Little with SOI Alumnus Donovan Taplin at the Ottawa airportstudents Alison and Taylor with Mike and Garry at Ottawa airport
SOI Expedition Staff Mike Jensen, Garry Donaldson and Alison MacArthur welcome Taylor Jacque at the Ottawa airportArctic2014_MuseumofHistory_July9_MLipman
Students take in Bill Reid's Spirit of Haida Gwaii sculpture at the Canadian Museum of History.Arctic2014_MuseumofHistory_July9_MLipmanArctic2014_MuseumofHistory_July9_MLipmanArctic2014_MuseumofHistory_July9_MLipman
Photo (c) Sira Chayer

Photo (c) Sira Chayer

Rafting on the Ottawa River with a view of Parliament - Photo (c) Sira Chayer

Photo (c) Sira Chayer

Photo (c) Sira Chayer

Photo (c) Martin Lipman

Photo (c) Martin Lipman

Student Journals - July 9, 2014

Calgary, AB

I've now been awake for over 40hrs largely because I've been too excited and a last minute packer for the expedition. With intermittent naps on the planes from Vancouver and Edmonton, I've mustered enough energy to make it through the first orientation day and meeting a number of new people from all over the world, from China to Monaco, Greenland to Peru, there are students alike embarking on a life changing experience.

The greatest part about it is that we are sharing the experience together. The dialects and languages, stories and styles are incredibly intriguing. We are sharing our heartfelt moments and quirky things about ourselves that few people know. It's refreshing to see a room full of 100+ strangers open up, coming together within a matter of hours. Names are different and quite worldly, but names don't matter at this point. You feel welcome with your neighbour, new friend, laughing at god knows what...but you don't know their name. You haven't even introduced yourself. All you know is that you've become a small family, with similar interests and common goals.

The schedule is tight with curfew and room checks. But knowing that SOI has done these expeditions with students for 14 years now, I trust they mean it when they say that we truly need our sleep. It's difficult going back to a curfew, but I'm embracing the fact that they know we need the sleep because the days are going to be jam-packed, full of energy, and most importantly, ADVENTURE!

With the thought of adventure for the next 3 weeks, paired with the lack of sleep, I think I can hear my bed calling. Goodnight world, and stay tuned with our adventures.


Sisimiut, Greenland

Hi Mom, Dad, Brother, guys from summer school - if you are reading - and everybody else.

It all started Monday, July 7th. I flew from Nuuk, Greenland to Iqaluit and then to Ottawa, Canada - just about 5 hours of flying.

All the time before going to the expedition I thought I was gonna be the only Greenlandic student, but fortunately Inunnguaq from Nuuk came too at the last minute, so now I have one to talk greenlandic to.

We, from Greenland, came 2 days before most of the others so we got to go to the mall, go river rafting, visit the Canadian Museum of Nature and see exhibitions about geology and birds and insect (live insects), and the movie theatre. Some students from Nunavut came early too so we were with them, and that made it much more fun.

We are stationed (sleeping and eating) at Carleton University, and it is the only (I can remember) and biggest University I have seen outside Greenland - and the university in Nuuk is like 10 times smaller than Carleton Uni.

I'm tired every evening so I can fall asleep without having to play on my phone first, so nice because I couldn't recharge my phone for almost two days, so the battery was precious.

A lot of people came today, and the talking teachers appeared and the classrooms you have to sit in for hours appeared, so the bed on the 7th floor of a building called Prescott House is very welcome.

I hope everybody is relaxing and reading good books instead of me for the next 2 weeks, cause I have the feeling I won't have time for it.

Nain, Newfoundland

I just arrived in Ottawa and I'm loving it so far! The plane trip here was really good and I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I made so many friends.

Mississauga, Ontario

Day 1: Introduction After a short flight from Toronto to Ottawa, my fellow expeditioners (from the DPCDSB) were greeted by SOI representatives at the airport.

The instructors took us to Carleton University. We are currently staying at the Prescott house.  The boys are on the sixth floor and the girls are on the seventh floor.

Seeing all the faces of the students has opened up my mind to the diversity of Canada. Canada is far more complex in diversity than percieved by many of us living in or around Toronto. 

We visited the Canadian Museum of History. I learned to appreciate the vast history of Canada and the Aboriginal Peoples. 

My homesickness is strong and I do miss my mother (Hi, mommy!!!) but I am enjoying this experience to the max. 

East Greenwich, Rhode Island

After flying in on a tiny little plane, only 9 rows long, we all met at the Carleton University campus. There after throwing our suitcases in our dorms, we went to the Muesem of History. There we were taken through a trip through Canadan history starting from the life of the first inhabitants to the effects of technology from the 1970s. The articfacts ranged from totem poles to life size replics of a boat. Then we came back to campus, ate dinner, and had our first meeting.

There we met the staff, whose hobbies and professions spanned photography, oceanography, and business. We also met the students from all walks of life. While many were from either Canada or the United States, some were from Monaco, the UK and Peru. The night ended with meeting my room mates at a little past midnight because their flight was delayed and did not touch down until 45 minutes before hand. After an amazing first day filled with meeting new people and learning about Canada, I can't wait for tomorrow!


Churchill, Manitoba

Students on Ice day 2 - Had an amazing couple days in Ottawa going to different museums like the Museum of Nature and Museum of History, and also learning from some of the staff in different lectures on things like oceanography. Tonight we had some Students on Ice alumni tell us about their experiences with the program. It makes me soo much more excited for this trip. Missing my family but also super excited to embark on our journey to Greenland by boat! 



Le vol pour Montréal s'est très bien passé, cependant au dernier moment on nous a prévenu qu'il fallait récuperer nos bagages là-bas, du coup nous avons raté notre correspondance. Une heure plus tard, nous avons pu prendre un autre vol pour Ottawa. À notre arrivé nous avons tout de suite été accueilli et emmené à Carleton University, que nous avions atteint! Il etait 7h du soir mais vu que les Canadiens mangent très tôt, nous avons raté le dîner (heureusement que nous avions mangé un Burger King à l'aéroport pour nous soulager du stress!)

On a donc rejoint tout le monde dans la salle de meeting où on a eu la possibilité de se présenter à tout le monde. Geoff nous a aussi briefé sur le comportement à adopter lors de la durée de l'expédition.

Vers 10h on est allé se coucher, c'est-à-dire 4h du matin pour Loris et moi.


Mississauga, Ontario

To anybody reading this (and to my parents so that they know that I am alive and well),

Today's been the first day and I have only a few words to say: I'm excited! From the amazing museum to the beautiful food to meeting fantastic people I can only say that I am looking forward to this trip! I'll keep it short and sweet today since I need to go to bed soon, but I hope for all of you who know me that you don't miss me too much (I miss you a lot, but don't worry, these next few days will go by flying, or so they tell me)!

There are many professionals of distinct backgrounds that will definitely share their opinions and knowledge with everyone and truly it’s great help for anyone trying to learn more a bit more about jobs and being devoted to them. More than anything, both students and staff are super amiable and they can crack on you a smile once in a while, which is great for all that inevitable “awkward” moments that present themselves every time we meet somebody we don’t really know.

Next few days will be in Ottawa, and I can finally learn a bit more about Canada's capital rather than passing by it for a day for a Cross Country competition (haha). I'll try to keep everyone updated; I'm always there in spirit, and perhaps I'll learn a bit of Native Languages to say hello next time.

For my sister, my dad, my mom, Andres, Leah, and everyone else who may read this, make the best out of your days, I'll be back soon enough! :)


Fairfax, Virginia

Talia's Blog ARCTICle #1: Day 1 and already I'm in love with SOI. The students are diverse and eccentric - ranging from board-game enthusiasts to language lovers. The staff reaches the same standards - videoographers and ice experts. One of the staff even accompanied his intro with a song he wrote that day. The spirit or "good-karma meter," is rising and with that comes the birth of new friendships and networking to the max. So excited for the adventures that lie ahead!


Port Coquitlam, BC

To those who are interested, this is Emmanuel Tse signing in from Carleton University.

It definitely has felt like more than a day since I landed at the airport. Let's summarize this blog so I can sleep on time. We went to the Canadian Museum of History which was pretty interesting and short-lived. Another major highlight of today was the cafeteria, from light, sweet pastries, to full fledged steaks and roast beef, salads, all in an all-you-can-eat setting. My last and favourite aspect of the whole day was most definitely the interactions I had throughout the day and taking risks to put yourself out there and get to know the other exceptional students.

We ended the day with a little briefing and meet and greet in a small room and it definitely pumped me up for the days to come. From starting the spontaneous introductory circle by the dormitories, introducing myself at the debriefing, in the elevator and at the cafeteria and just simply starting conversations, I have been warmed by the enthusiasm, uniqueness and surprising similarities that are shared amongst our group. I think the one thing that definitely strikes me the most is our golden opportunity to learn from the diverse group of experienced professionals, ranging from musicians to oceanographers.

This is my time to not be shy, to definitely take risks and allow myself to be mentored, to keep asking questions, share about my own experiences and learn about others'. At the end of the day, we were challenged to learn everyone's names, and although I am pretty driven to win this "contest," I think at a deeper level, these next couple days, I want to continue to learn not only peoples' names, but about the stories, cultures and ambitions of the members of our group.

Although it is the first day, I already sense the last day looming ever so quickly, I cannot wait to keep going but I think one of the things that I have picked up from school, and will continue to cultivate, is the art or skill of reflecting and learning through this process.

And I am signing out because one of my roommates is rushing me.


Thornhill, Ontario

So... a blog... This is an interesting task I'm deciding to take upon myself. It's a much more interesting way to document the once in the lifetime journey I'm about to partake in. Its gonna be written in more of a free write style, so bear with me through the illogical connections I may make. I think that this will be a fun experience for myself, and allow me to provide some deeper and more personal insight to the activities I do each day. I want you to experience the things I am going to expeirence though the trip.

And thus it begins:

Today I arrived from Toronto, ON to Ottawa ON by train. The ride itself didn't have much of interest, as I was able to kill most of the time thought the free Wi-fi they provided.

Mom you may stop reading now. Nothing will interest you further. I am alive and safe.

There was a nice person waiting for me at the rail station, and a short ride later, I was at the dorm.I checked in, and settled down in my room before moving down to get some food at the cafeteria (being it was 12:30 pm at this point). Everything was going well.

Dad, you may stop reading now. Nothing will interest you further. I am alive and safe.

At lunch, I managed to meet some friends from school (surprisingly attending the Shad Valley summer program, and living in the same dorm as me) and, after getting over the initial shock, managed to reconnect quickly.

After lunch, I took a bus, along with other SOI students that arrived to the Canadian Museum of History. We got a very good tour of that place; heck I learned something even though it was the 4th time I visited there. I managed to also talk to a number of students from Toronto, North York, Mississauga and Ottawa. Outside of the province of Ontario, I mingled with some students from the UK, the US, as well as from the territories. I think we connected really well. We talked about a wide array of topics, and all seemed to share interests. It may just be the common bond of Toronto in all of us though.

When we got back, we all rushed to the cafeteria for some dinner (being hungry teenagers and all ...). The food that we had was amazing. Who knew that they would be serving steaks in the all you can eat cafeteria (good ones to say the least). If you kept on reading this mom and have not heeded my warnings, I am saddened to say that you have no power over my soft drink consumption here as there are free soda refills here. However, there are a ton of vegetables, so that helps your impossible cause.

After dinner, we all headed down to a classroom for some orientation by the instructors. The orientation was fun, and interesting, but I don't really have that much I can say about it because there was so much detail presented during the meeting. There was so much talk about the amazing events that occurred last year.

Overall, I'm really pumped about the the next coming days. While at some points I may be crying because of the lack of internet, I know this trip will be entirely worth it, and I wont leave with any negative experiences.

Now off to bed, I'm excited for what day 2 will have for us in store!