Loren Mautaritnaaq is seen here at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa. The student from Baker Lake said moving south comes with some adjustments. Photo courtesy of Loren MautaritnaaqStewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Moving from the geographical centre of Canada to the political centre, Loren Mautaritnaaq has found herself in a world of new experiences attending school in the south, but not everything has been easy.

“Two weeks right after grad, I moved to Ottawa,” recalled Mautaritnaaq, who graduated from Baker Lake’s Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School in August 2022.

Now in her second year at Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) – a post-secondary institution in the country’s capital tailor-made for Northern students – Mautaritnaaq said that moving from a small community to a big one can be scary.

“There are so many more people,” she said on the phone after classes finished.

And there are so many more details about life and navigating the city: one that stood out early was how seatbelts are enforced in the south, whereas in the Kivalliq, many passengers don’t wear them.

Mautaritnaaq is living in student accommodations, sharing a home with other classmates. That has also brought a new world for her of buying all her own groceries – and using Uber to get to the stores rather than a Honda or snowmobile – paying rent and other bills.

“Another challenge I face is trying to do homework but I can’t because I have no motivation being away from home for too long and just being around family,” said Mautaritnaaq.

Country food is also tougher to find in the south, though NS offers many cultural opportunities to keep the spirit alive.

Interestingly, Mautaritnaaq finds school in the south easier than in the North, in part due to the lack of crowds in the hallways and more Inuit instructors and staff.

In class, she’s been studying Northern government administration, political science, land claims and more. The courses have inspired her to work in government one day.

“Working in the government is my goal,” she said. “We’re learning about politics and how the government works, so that makes me motivated wanting to work in the government.”

For Northern grads in a similar boat, she offers this advice: “If you’re going for school, try to stay on top of your homework (and) save up some money if you can, because it’s hard sometimes struggling financially.”

She also encourages people from smaller communities to take advantage of all the new opportunities and excursions in a bigger city down south.

And for anyone worried about moving south for schooling, she says, “You got this! It’ll be hard at times and it’s a completely different environment rather than back home, but if you have a good support system, you’ll get through it.”

Furthering your education opens a lot of doors, she said.

For now, Mautaritnaaq is looking forward to a Costa Rica cultural exchange trip, plus graduation coming up right after.

“I can’t wait to see myself working in the government in the future,” she said.

By Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 07, 2024 at 12:41

This item reprinted with permission from   Kivalliq News   Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
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