UMass Student Spends Spring Break Studying Sustainability Abroad


Apr 23, 2014

For students like Jasmine Abdollahi, finding time during their undergraduate career to study abroad while fulfilling major requirements is often difficult and sometimes impossible.

As a physics major, Abdollahi must incorporate difficult courses into her schedule, which are rarely offered in programs abroad. However, through the Global Renewable Energy Education Network, also known as the GREEN program, she traveled to Iceland for a week in March.

“This is a really good program for people who can’t study for a semester or year abroad,” Abdollahi said. “It was good for me because in my major, it is really difficult to study abroad since there are really difficult classes, and typically if you’re abroad, you’re doing research.”

During her time in Iceland, Abdollahi learned about the renewable energy and sustainability initiatives taking place there.

“The program is targeted toward people who have interest in those things,” Abdollahi said. And while she noted that the program included undergrads primarily interested in science and engineering like herself, it was by no means restricted to any specific major.

During a group project she completed on the trip, Abdollahi said, “I was working with an engineering major, an environmental policy major and a Chinese major, so it was really cool to see people from all different fields interested in one thing.”

Abdollahi, along with 24 other students from across the United States, visited the Iceland School of Energy.

“Iceland has 100 percent sustainable energy,” Abdollahi said, explaining why the group chose Iceland as its destination. “It has 70 percent hydro-electric energy and 30 percent geothermal energy.”

The week-long trip included tours of different energy facilities across the country, as well as lectures from professors at the Iceland School of Energy.

“We got to ask super technical questions about how things work and the economics of it,” Abdollahi said, adding that the intensity and focus of the lectures were particularly impressive.

In addition to attending lectures, students in the GREEN program participated in a Capstone project.

“We each got to pick any field in renewable energy and do some sort of business proposal or research project,” Abdollahi said. At the end of the trip, the same professors that had given lectures also sat in on the students’ proposals.

“We got the facilities, the classes, the Capstone, so it was all really cool,” Abdollahi said.

The trip also included what Abdollahi referred to as “Iceland adventures.”  These trips included hiking, cave exploration and travel to other parts of the country.

“You hear they get their energy from rivers and geological energy, and when you hike up a mountain, you really see why because of the nature,” Abdollahi said. “You see steam rising from the ground and it’s really unique.”

Added Abdollahi: “When you’re in Iceland, you don’t feel like you’re in a country. You feel like you’re on Earth and seeing what it really is. The way their culture and environment is intertwined is really unique.”

In addition to immersing herself in the Icelandic environmental physically, Abdollahi also found herself immersed culturally. She said that the food, in particular, was nothing short of a culture shock.

After being introduced to the cuisine of Iceland, Abdollahi said, “We were having really nice creamy soups and fish and potatoes, but the food they tried to scare us with was sheep heads.”

Overall, Abdollahi said her trip to Iceland with the GREEN program was powerful in exposing her to a new culture and helped expand her understanding of sustainability.

“I’m hoping more people from UMass hear about it,” she said.

The GREEN program also hosts trips to Costa Rica and Peru, which focuses on renewable energy and sustainable irrigation systems, respectively.

Katrina Borofski can be reached at [email protected].

 See the original article here:

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content