International Studies & Programs

Iceland enhances global thinking

This program broadened my perspective, deepened my knowledge, and fueled my passion for contributing to a more sustainable and just world.

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Published: Thursday, 25 Apr 2024 Author: Anna Thomas

Anna holding a Spartan flag in IcelandStudying abroad has been an unparalleled pillar in my educational journey, offering not just academic enrichment but also profound personal growth. The opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture, navigate the complexities of language barriers, and engage with diverse perspectives has broadened my understanding of the world in ways that traditional classroom settings could never achieve.

One of the most valuable aspects of studying abroad was witnessing firsthand the innovative sustainability practices implemented by Iceland. From advanced renewable energy systems like harnessing geothermal energy and hydropower to create electricity to smaller scale projects like using paper straws and bamboo cutlery to cut down on single-use plastic waste, these experiences have enriched my understanding of what is possible and inspired me to think creatively about solving environmental challenges.

One of my favorite experiences on this program, besides visiting the geothermal plant, was hiking from the town, Arnarstapi, to the next town over Hellnar. On our hour-long hike I remember standing there, breathing in the cold sea air, listening to the waves hit the basalt rocks below us, and thinking about how amazing it was to be able toAnna in an ice cave in Iceland just sit there and appreciate the beauty Mother Nature has created. This entire study abroad experience revolved around learning how the crazy geological formations the earth just naturally creates. This long hike also gave me the opportunity to get to know many of the other students on the program.

Studying abroad has significantly contributed to my self-confidence and independence. Going on a trip where I did not know anyone until I stepped off the plane had its challenges. I was able to put myself out there and created many lifelong connections with my fellow classmates. Also, navigating daily life and academics in a foreign country taught me resilience and self-reliance, qualities that have proven invaluable in both my personal and professional life.

In conclusion, studying abroad has been instrumental in my education about sustainability. These opportunities will give me an enhanced perspective and additional reasons to keep fighting for a more sustainable future while acknowledging that different regions will need different solutions. It has broadened my perspective, deepened my knowledge, and fueled my passion for contributing to a more sustainable and just world. I Anna outside with mountains in the backgroud in Icelandstrongly believe that incorporating international experiences into sustainability education is crucial for preparing future leaders who are capable of thinking globally and acting locally to address our planet's most pressing challenges.

Name: Anna Thomas
Status: Sophomore
Major: Environmental Studies and Sustainability
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Program: Glaciers, Geology & Environmental Sustainability in Iceland