My name is Michael, age 24, from the US (St. Louis).
Leading up to my flight to Reyjkavík, I sporadically prepared for my time at the centre. After packing the right type of clothing for the Westfjords, skimming some basic Icelandic phrases, and reading “Arctic Fox: Life a the Top of the World”, I felt excited and ready.
After a night or two in the capital, I flew to Ísafjörður and then arrived in Súðavík. After two weeks of being at the centre, I was very sad about the inevitable end of my volunteer experience. Although It’s extremely difficult to pick out my favorite part, I can pinpoint two that stand out in my mind 1) Sharing knowledge about the Arctic Fox to excited visitors, and 2) taking care of the foxes, Ingi and Mori, throughout the day. I also learned to wholly embrace a peaceful, simple lifestyle in the friendly community of Súðavík.
Tips and Helpful Information for Future Volunteers
- Bring a medium-to-heavy, windproof jacket. Iceland has extremely volatile weather conditions. This especially is useful if you are volunteering in either May or September -it is essential to have a warm coat. A light rain jacket is also good to have as it tends to rain frequently.
- Reyjavík-Keflavík International (KEF) is not close to Reykjavík Domestic (RKV). KEF is where you will fly into initially, and RKV will be your flight from Reyjkavík to Ísafjörður. Plan your flights accordingly, the distance between the two airports is approximately ~45 minutes by bus. Space your international and domestic flights to give yourself enough time (oops!).
- Bring a Camera. Whether is it on your iPhone or a Canon 5D, you’ll want a good way to capture your unique experience at the Arctic Fox Centre and the surrounding places in the Westfjords. If you are volunteering in the late part of summer and want to photograph the aurora, an entry-level DSLR camera will do just fine.
- Relax! Your experience is meant to be enjoyable, and when you’re happy and relaxed it will make the foxes, the staff, and the visitors feel the same way. It is important to note that life at the centre is never monotonous, and while you are here be sure to take full advantage of the exciting opportunities around you. Explore the Westfjords in the late evenings, pick some blueberries in the mountains of Súðavík , and make the most out of socializing with volunteers and visitors from around the world.
Volunteering at the Arctic Fox Centre has been an unforgettable, amazing experience that exceeded my expectations. It is easy to tell everyone at the centre is passionately dedicated to the arctic fox and are similarly dedicated to ensuring both the visitors and the volunteers have a memorable time.