The Most Inspiring and Refreshing Trip of my Academic Career! February 15, 2016

By (Chemical Engineering, Drexel University) - abroad from 12/13/2015 to 12/20/2015 with

The GREEN Program: Iceland - Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
First and foremost, I was totally inspired by the reverence that Iceland has for nature - they are so respectful with regard to the earth as a whole and to the health of their country. The perspective of an Icelandic person is so radically different from the perspective of a conventional east coast American; environmental consciousness is standard, and they have this sense of unity as a nation that I think could only exist in a country with less than 350,000 citizens. It's the kind of place where no one would dare throw a cigarette butt on the ground outside of a gas station, or spit on the sidewalk. As if Iceland isn't exciting enough with its glaciers and volcanoes and northern lights, the GREEN Program makes this trip absolutely invigorating. The participants all seemed to share this adventure-seeking attitude that made me feel fearless and excited about everything we did; Every second was worth it.

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? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

We attended classes at Reykjavik University that were all super relevant to the trip, from the perspective of foreign policy to hard sciences. The biggest selling point, though, was being able to see so many unique power plants on the inside and have an open conversation with the engineering specialists that work there. My only issue on this front was that the professors were not as available as I would've hoped for them to be - they were all fairly busy before and after their lectures and didn't usually have time to speak outside of class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our guides were fantastically interesting people that brought so much life to the trip - get to know them really well! Every day was flawlessly planned and we never once had any issues with coordination between tours or events or reservations, etc. Technical problems were always dealt with quickly, honestly I had no complaints at all.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Be prepared to move around from location to location so that you have a day bag/overnight bag to take with you because bringing your entire suitcase isn't always practical. All the places you'll stay are interesting and fun and clean, but not exactly posh.

* Food:

The food was always good and you should never go hungry, but try to be open-minded about fish and/or mutton to make as immersive an experience as possible (unless you're vegetarian, of course.) On that note, there were always good vegetarian options as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is something you'll just have to see for yourself - your guides will take good care of you(:

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We didn't have any issues, as far as I knew.

* Safety:

I think everyone made it home!

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

Just do it.

Finances

* 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)

Souvenirs are really expensive, but totally worth it!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You'll basically never be forced to spend money on this trip; I would say bring snacks like cliff bars or granola bars, but you'll have more fun getting weird Icelandic snacks with the rest of the program. Also, take the wool recommendation seriously, because I didn't and ended up buying expensive wool socks. But I still love them.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We didn't speak Icelandic all that often because it's a super difficult language to learn, but by the end you should know some numbers and random words, and you might (keyword might) get some of the pronunciation down!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • The hikes
  • Kauri<3
  • The northern lights
* What could be improved?
  • The length of time that we got to stay.
  • Internet access sometimes..
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Again, take the wool recommendation seriously and make sure that you have thick, fleece-lined leggings (those were a life saver.) Other than that, you really don't want to know all that much before you embark; just be open-minded, live in the moment, and have an amazing time(:

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.