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Going Green in Iceland

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Sep 18, 2015

Spending 10-days abroad to learn about environmental sustainability. 

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I spent my first year at the Castle. I’ve been to four Olympic Games and I’ve traveled to 26 different countries. But of all these amazing experiences, my trip to Iceland with The GREEN Program was the best one yet.

This 10-day summer adventure was focused on renewable energy and sustainability. As an upper-year environmental study and geography student, this focus was exactly what I was looking for in a study abroad experience. 

As an upper-year environmental study and geography student, this focus was exactly what I was looking for in a study abroad experience. 

I have found that experiencing things first-hand is a much better way of learning than sitting in a classroom. So, I set off to Iceland to get my hands dirty in the field of environmental studies. I initially chose the program because it offered industry experience, would help me make connections in the renewable energy sector and provided behind-the-scenes tours of some of the world’s most sophisticated hydroelectric and geothermal plants. 

While the program offered an amazing educational experience, it also exposed us to the natural beauty of Iceland. 

We snorkelled between tectonic plates and looked down hundreds of meters to completely unexplored water. In Super Jeeps, we travelled to a remote region where we camped at the base of volcanoes. 

My fellow students on the trip taught me so much. Participants were from diverse backgrounds, but all were passionate about sustainability. I discussed nuclear energy with an engineering student from Texas A&M, green building with an architecture student from UBC and a geology student from Georgia Tech. These students truly are the future leaders of the sustainability movement. 

We had a great opportunity to work on a Capstone Project, where groups chose an environmental issue and then researched and used background knowledge to solve it.

Photo: travel2 hydroplant

We presented these as a business case where we had to find the best way to find start-up funding, determine our target market and find out how to make it sustainable. Because students were from various programs and parts of North America, we able collaborated to find the best possible solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as sustainability. 

I was also awarded a credit I could put towards my degree. I was eligible for the credit because we attended lectures at the University of Reykjavik and completed assignments demonstrating our newfound knowledge.

My trip to Iceland reassured me that I’m where I want to be in terms of academics and hopefully, a career. Together, my trip and the people I’ve met has inspired me to take part in the mission to save our planet.

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