I will remember this adventure for the rest of my life Past Review

By (Sustainable Engineering, Arizona State University) - abroad from 05/25/2015 to 06/03/2015 with

The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was my first experience abroad, so I gained a lot of understanding and confidence on how to travel internationally (what to bring, how to prepare, and things to consider). I loved that we got to take classes on the different renewable energies from experiences professionals and then got to see the technology in action at the power plants. That helped me understand it a lot better. I learned a lot about Iceland and its history (though I would have liked to know more!) and seeing all the amazing glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls just reinforced my passion in sustainability and protecting all of these beautiful places. It was priceless and definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad Photo The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad Photo The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad Photo The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was amazed by the resources available to us at the university. All of our mentors were very qualified and gave us great advice and things to consider for our capstone projects. We seemed to meet an industry professional (including the president of the university and the operators of the power plants we visited) every day and had numerous opportunities to hear from them about the field of renewable energy. The capstone project was very challenging considering the amount of time we had, but each group was able to bring forward a professional deliverable with the help of our mentors. Aside from the sustainability aspect, we met plenty of local Icelanders and got to learn a lot about the culture from our Icelandic guides.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our leaders did an excellent job at keeping our large group together and worked well together as a team. It was clear that they were also incredibly close with the CEO and others program leaders in the US. Overall, they were organized in giving us an itinerary for the next day every evening, they laid out clear expectations for the capstone, and above all incorporated both education and adventure into our program. I felt comfortable with our leaders and with the group as a whole; it was arguably the best learning experience I have had in such a short amount of time, but it was also incredibly fun.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Every guest house we stayed in was clean and sufficient for our group size. The guest house owners were welcoming and I felt safe for the entirety of my stay at each location. We always had access to showers and toilets so that was great!

* Food:

The food was amazing for the length of the trip and at no point did I feel that I needed to buy my own to keep from going hungry. The breakfasts seemed to lack variety towards the end of the trip, but it was good nonetheless. When we had our night out in Reykjavik I felt that the group would have liked some more food (dinner at Kex Hostel).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was happy to hear about the culture from our Icelandic guides and to learn a few Icelandic words and phrases here and there, but there were still some aspects that made me just feel like a tourist. We got to meet other Icelandic guides who were also very friendly, but bottom line I feel that we could not be completely integrated into the local culture simply because we were a very large group and we all wanted to take pictures of nearly everything we saw. The program did a great job of providing us with information on the landscape and culture during our stay, I would just like more of that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not experience any health issues other than mild dry skin on the trip, and one of our leaders immediately gave me some lotion to take care of that. There was a girl who hurt her ankle pretty badly (it was terribly bruised) and one of our leaders wrapped it for her and stayed with her pace during our hike so she didn't have to miss out. He helped her re-wrap her ankle several times later as well.

* Safety:

The only safety issue for our group was keeping track of everyone, since there were 46 people. Our leaders did a great job of counting every single time we'd get on the bus to make sure we didn't lose anyone, and they also strategically placed themselves in the group so that they could make sure no one got lost. There was an incident when a professor (NOT a student) on our trip took off in a different direction and got lost. We had free time to explore during our hike but he went way too far and we couldn't find him. Our guides handled it very well by gathering the rest of us as a group while one of them went off the trail to find the professor. The leaders are professionals; they know the land and have been guides for a long time, so trust them. My advice is just to listen and follow directions at all times.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The program fee itself is hefty and the plane ticket was expensive as well. Once I got past those two things it was much easier. I arrived a day before my program started and stayed at a nice hostel that was very cheap. The food was affordable and I only needed to buy it for the one extra day I stayed.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $200 total, which was mainly for souvenirs.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Start early! Instead of paying all at once, make a plan of making 3 or more payments to lighten the load a bit and save up over time. I worked on-campus as a tutor for the entire year to help fund my trip, and I also created a GoFundMe and shared the link on Facebook to get close friends and family members interested in helping me get to Iceland. To save money, every time you have an opportunity to go out with friends or to eat or anything else, just think about if it's really worth it, because every dollar you save is about 132 Icelandic kronos and can be used for something cool like an authentic wool sweater instead!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Our guides/leaders were very responsible, experienced, and approachable. I felt comfortable with them immediately!
  • As tired as I was at the time, I loved the fast pace of this program. There was never a dull moment! I liked the challenge of the capstone along with the hikes we went on. It truly was education combined with adventure.
* What could be improved?
  • More assistance for students arriving early, help with how to get from place to place, map and/or bus info.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I arrived a day early and stayed at one of the hostels recommended by the program. It was slightly overwhelming to find the right bus that would take me from the airport in Keflavik to my hostel in Reykjavik, and I ended up having to walk quite a distance with my luggage. I wish I had known the area a bit more and I wish I was more aware of how exactly to best get around, especially since I wasn't with anyone from the program who could help me at the time.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.