Understand Iceland: Creative Solutions to the Climate Crisis

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  • Location(s): Iceland
  • Program Type(s): Study Abroad

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Study sustainability in IcelandIn just 7 days students will explore the concept of sustainability in a broad context.  Students will meet with faculty of academic departments and research institutes, interacting with local experts in various disci... read more

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Study sustainability in Iceland

In just 7 days students will explore the concept of sustainability in a broad context.  Students will meet with faculty of academic departments and research institutes, interacting with local experts in various disciplines. They will study sustainability in Iceland through visits, field excursions and courses and lectures. The students will travel through magnificent landscapes, exploring the most amazing scenery in Iceland: stunning volcanoes, lava fields, black beaches, and glaciers. 

  • Renewable energy

  • Hydro-electricity production

  • Geothermal energy

  • Sustainability and climate change

  • Soil conservation and afforestation

  • Glaciology

  • Agriculture

  • Food production

Our programs are designed for student groups who seek a different kind of experience and wish to explore Iceland as well as relating it to their studies.

Day 1

On the first day the focus is on renewable energy - Geothermal energy. Almost 100% of househeating in Iceland is from geothermal activity and this day will focus on geothermal activity in Iceland. The students will gain insight into the origin of geothermal energy, geothermal utilization, geothermal exploration techniques, use of geothermal energy and economic aspects of geothermal activity. Highlights: - Visit to the largest geothermal powerplant in Iceland - Meet experts and learn about the CarbFix project - Explore a geothermal area with sprouting geysers - Visit a magnificent waterfall - Soak in a geothermal natural hot pool

Day 2

This day the focus is on renewable energy - Hydro power. In Iceland about 73% of the electricity production comes from hydro power. The students will be introduced to the renewable and sustainable energy generation methods of hydropower in Iceland. Highlights: - Visit to a hydro-powerplant - Learn about renewable energy in Iceland through an interactive exhibition - Meet leading experts in renewable energy production. - Visit a greenhouse where both geothermal and hydropower is used to produce local vegetables.

Day 3

Glaciology and climate change at the actic edge. The glaciers in north and south hemisphere are melting at an alarming speed. Icelanders have already bid farewell to the lost glacier Ok and many more glaciers are expected to follow. The students will meet with scientists that will take the students to areas where they will see with their own eyes how climate change has effected the glaciers in Iceland. Highlights: - Meet with experts and learn about the impact of climate change on glaciers in Iceland - A glacier hike where the students will experience first hand the effect on glaciers

Day 4

Agriculture and local food production. Almost all farming in Iceland is small scale and run by families. All domestic animals including the dogs and cats are settlement animals, be it cow, sheep, horse, goat or chicken. They were all brought here by the vikings at settlement. The students can meet with farmers specializing in dairy, sheep or horse farming. Students will meet with small scale sheep- and dairy farmers. Learn about local food production, the Icelandic Skyr and the uniquness of the Icelandic wool, There are sheep farmers how design their own knitware, dairy farmers who run a geothermal borehole on their farm or farmers who aim at being 100% sustainable in the near future. The students will learn how Icelanders can be self sustained when it comes to food and what rules and regulations the Icelandic government places on local farming and food production. Highlights: - A visit to a local farmer and learn about small scale farming in Iceland - The students will learn about the Icelandic domestic animals - A visit to a local greenhouse where vegetables are grown - Meet the Icelandic horse, the settement animal

Day 5

Organic farming and sustainable communties. Iceland is the perfect place for food production in greenhouses due to the abundance of geothermal energy resources. In South West Iceland you can find many greenhouses where food is grown in greenhouses some in an organic manner. The students can visit these greenhouses, meet the farmers and learn about the produce, the locally grown food. In some case they can volunteer in the greenhouses, in others they can visit a restaurant built in one of the tomato greenhouses! The students get a unique opportunity to visit sustainable communities, learn about the different pillars of sustainability, meet the people who build the community, understand the challenges and the opportunities of such a collaboration. Learn about recycled art, renewable energy, sustainable buildings, organic and biodynamic farming and other subjects while visiting the communities. Highlights: - Visit a greenhouse specializing in growing organic vegetables - Visit a sustainable community - Meet with experts in sustainable communities

Day 6

Soil conservation and carbon offset. Soil degradation and loss of soil is one of the greatest environmental problems in the world. Icelanders have a long history of soil degradation as Iceland has a 1000 year of history of intense land use, over grazing and forest cutting in a harsh climate. At settlement in year 870 AD the country had 75% vegetation and 25% wooded areas. In year 1900 the country only had 25% vegatation and 1% wood cover. The Soil Conservation was establised and since then countless soil conservation and afforestation projects have been made. Icelanders have in the last decades gained great experience through this work and by researching. The students will meet with leading experts and visit areas where conservation projects have been carried out. The students will also get a chance to offset their travel to Iceland by planting trees in a barren area and learn about afforestation project. Highlights: - Meet with leading experts in soil conservation and afforestation projects - Visit areas where barren areas have been revegetated or reforested - Visit an exhibition of soil conservation in Iceland - Plant trees in a barren area to offset the travel to Iceland

Day 7

Holistic view to sustainbility. The students will meet with a leading expert who will bring a holistic view to sustainability, climate change and the circular economy in our day to day lives. The students will learn what are companies and individuals doing to lower their carbon footprint. They will evaluate why anyone should think sustainably and what it means. The students will evaluate their own consumption and learn what companies are doing regarding sustainability and how good they are doing. They will discuss about the right choices and if their plastic straw really makes a difference. Highlights: -The students will reflect on their stay in Iceland and discuss their findings - They will spend the day with a leading expert and gain a holistic overview of sustainability and climate change.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Program Length(s):
  • Fall
  • Summer
  • Spring
  • Maymester
  • Spring Break
  • Custom
  • Short Term
Instruction Language(s):
  • English
Language Requirement(s):
  • English
Relevant Study Subject(s):
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture General
  • Plant Sciences
  • Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Science
  • Natural Resources Management
  • Forestry
  • Forest Engineering
  • Geological Engineering
  • Ecology, Evolution Biology
  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Natural Sciences
  • Sustainability Studies
  • Earth Science
  • Geography
Minimum GPA:
Year Founded:
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