Best all around hands on field expereince Past Review

By (Geology, Colorado School of Mines) - abroad from 08/10/2015 to 08/19/2015 with

The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained the knowledge and experience of a career related to sustainability and renewable energy, which is very unique to this program. As a geologist, I have a variety of fields I could potentially go into. I was interested in what the renewable energy industry has, but I have never had the opportunity to take classes or work an internship in the field. This was the perfect opportunity to take classes on the industry and see 'real-life' examples of careers in the field. The second most valuable part was the capstone project; the experience of applying my knowledge to produce an applicable product while working with several different people of different backgrounds was priceless. This program as absolutely worth while and worth the price.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

In my opinion, this program is one of the best study abroad program out there. This program allows students to take specialized classes unique to a career from outstanding professors in a setting that is prime for renewable energy education. For me, this program gave me insight into a career option that I had never been exposed, which is unique to the GREEN Program. This program is also very hands on and gives you the opportunity to see what you learn in class in action. While the program is shorter than other study abroad programs, I think it's more feasible to students, and I feel that I learned just as much and had more resources than a typical study abroad. The capstone project is a major plus to this program over others. While taking classes is educational, taking that knowledge and implementing it into a realistic, useful project builds skills and knowledge that are far more important than any class. I really enjoyed the chance to work with other majors ranging from engineering to policy; that opportunity is important to my educational development and challenged me in a way that is unmatched by a traditional study abroad course. Not to mention the adventure factor for this program is incredible. My trip to Iceland would not have been as remarkable without the GREEN Program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The GREEN Program administration leading up to the trip are very helpful and organized. They even helped me pick a tour for my extra days in Iceland. The tour guides in Iceland that work for the GREEN Program are fantastic! Everything is very organized and the guides really care for your well being. I was never concerned or felt worried. They take care of every little thing, and if any problems should arise, the guides are terrific at serving those needs. Likewise, my parents were never worried while I was abroad because they could tell I was in good hands.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved the places we stayed. In fact, I liked where we stayed with the program more than where I was on the extra days on my own. We stayed at three locations, and I really appreciated the change in scenery and getting to experience more.

* Food:

Absolutely delicious! I was grateful that the program took care of food for us and we did not need to go search for food. The food we had was fairly authentic for the country, which was really neat. The program is really good at making sure to take care of any dietary needs and even provide snacks.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The fact that our guides were local was better than just visiting the country on my own time. They constantly told us random tid bits about the culture, taught us some Icelandic words, and tried to introduce us to as much culture as possible. I enjoyed staying outside of Reykjavik and getting to know some of the locals. The best way to integrate with the culture is to be with someone from that country, and having 2 guides from the area as well as staying at small hotels gave a special opportunity to experience that culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had an incident where I though I might need to go to the clinic. The guides were excellent and arranging that visit. The guide was going to personally drive me there. He said that the cost is a little bit more expensive for a clinical visit than in the USA, but the GREEN program has an application for healthcare that will give funds back for medical care. I ended up not going, but the guides went and bought me over the counter medicine because they were concerned. There are no prevalent health issues in Iceland that needed special vaccines, and few people got sick on the program.

* Safety:

Iceland has extremely low crime, so I felt very safe, even when I was on my own. We didn't have any safe-related incidents. The program does a great job at making sure you are safe, especially during any activities you do on the program, so there really is nothing to worry about. I felt safer that I do in parts of my hometown.

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)

Considering the program was 10 days supported by a flat fee, this question does not really apply. That being said, everything is pre-paid for on the program, which means you only need money for souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Iceland is an expensive country. The program is set up so that you don't have to spend any extra money, but if you do, be aware that it is a little more pricey than the United States.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Captstone project
  • Adventure activites
  • The people I met
* What could be improved?
  • Honestly, nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Packing is difficult based on the list. I was lucky to have a contact to ask about what to pack without her giving details as what to do. A lot of people packed for nights out in Reykjavik, but we never stayed in Reykjavik. The guides keep the plans for the day pretty secret until the night before, so be prepared to fill a little aloof and just go with the flow.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.