Moving to a new place is challenging enough, but going to Alaska presents distinctly-unique cultural changes. Here are five cultural changes to be aware of when moving to Alaska.
Throughout the year, Alaska experiences vastly different amounts of sunlight depending on the season and the month. Adjusting to the almost-two months of 24-hour sunlight during the summer can take some getting used to. Though the amount of sunlight isn’t a cultural aspect of Alaska, it does influence the type of socializing and events that take place. Some people try to pack as many activities as possible into a 24-hour day (to maximize the sunlight), while others prefer to keep a more consistent schedule. Increased sunlight can also impact sleeping schedules, but there are ways to cope, like using blackout window shades.
Casual Dressers Abound
Depending on where you’ve moved from, Alaska can seem shockingly casual to newcomers. Aside from special events and holidays, residents generally dress to facilitate an active lifestyle. Because there are so many things to do and places to explore, dressing in clothing that accommodates a variety of environments always requires you to be adaptable. This means a lot of layers, a lot of performance fabrics, and a lot of flannel. If you’ve come from a more formal environment or a big city, Alaska will probably be a change of pace, style-wise. But think of the benefits of a more relaxed wardrobe: you’re ready for adventure at a moment’s notice!
Abundance of Wildlife
In Alaska, it’s not uncommon to encounter all types of wildlife on a daily basis. No, you won’t have to carry bear spray with you everywhere you go, but you will need to be aware of your surroundings. Moose are known to take themselves on walks through downtown streets and wander into neighborhoods. Additionally, if you plan to enjoy a hike, be cognisant of annual occurrences like mating seasons and salmon spawning, both of which can affect the chances of encountering a bear.
Breweries have a Big Presence
Beer is here. Most Alaskan towns have at least one brewery—we even have a list of seven amazing breweries to visit. Perhaps it’s a call-back to the inventive spirit of early Alaskan residents, or the cost of shipping goods so far north. Whatever the motivation, many of the beers reflect the unique tastes of Alaska and are available only in-state.
There is, of course, no pressure to imbibe at a local brewery. But for a lot of worldly travelers, beer is a common factor between cultures that tie humans together. So, keep an open mind and visit a brewery or two for some history and stay for a bite to eat.
Diet Restrictions? Plan in Advance
For those on a restrictive diet, like vegan or gluten-free, Alaska could pose a few hurdles. Though not impossible, individuals who follow a specific diet may have to get creative with their meals, especially while dining out. Of course, just because Alaska is known for wild game like salmon and elk, doesn’t mean you must be a carnivore to enjoy the local fare. The bottom line? Adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle isn’t necessarily impossible, but it can be more expensive, so prepare for the extra cost.
Moving to Alaska can open you up to a lot of new opportunities—new friends, new foods, new adventures. Being aware of some differences can help you get the most out of your time in Alaska. When you’re ready, start your job search with us.