The GREEN Program: Iceland
The GREEN Program has shaped me into a holistic individual, providing me with opportunities to push me out of my comfort zone, develop my professionalism, and continue to enhance my outlook on life, people, and the environment.
Of Monsters and Men, Mountain Side (2011)
What is The GREEN Program (TGP)?
The GREEN Program is a short-term academic enrichment opportunity that is aimed at students who are passionate about:
| Sustainability | Travel | Professionalism | Adventure |
“Our programs bridge the gap between textbook learning and real-time industry experience by taking students on comprehensive 8-10 day action-intensive, high-impact programs that go behind the scenes of the world’s leading clean energy and sustainability initiatives in Iceland, Peru, and Philadelphia.” -Melissa Lee (Co-Founder & CEO).
The program embodies experiential learning that is modeled after the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. TGP offers three unique trips with different topics focused on sustainability:
- Philadelphia: Philadelphia University, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (3 credit graduate course)
- Iceland: Reykjavik University, Iceland School of Energy MSc Intro to Energy (1.5 credit course)
- Peru: Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Biodiversity (2 credit course)
Iceland is one of the world’s top leading countries in the green industry. They produces 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The GREEN Program offered exclusive access and private tours of facilities pertaining to these energy sources including hydroelectric, geothermal, and biofuel. Prior to the site visits were lectures held at Reykjavik University which addressed the topics:
· Introduction of Iceland Energy · Geothermal · Hydroelectric Power · Energy Economics · Biofuels
Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station
This geothermal power plant is located in souther Iceland atop Hengill volcano. A tour of this facility explained the processes of how the plant extracts energy from deep wells and uses steam separators and turbines to generate around 300 MW of electricity and approximately 400 MW of geothermal energy.
Thorvaldseyri Visitor Center
Thorvaldseyris is a sustainable farm that uses organic ways to produce crops and livestock, including using rapeseed to generate a biofuel, oil. This site discussed the volcano, Eyjafjallaajökull, and the effects it made on Iceland and the farm when it erupted behind Thorvaldsyris in 2010.
Experienced the best tomato and fresh-baked bread in this beautiful green house while learning about its horticulture processes such as importing bees for pollination.
Iceland is not only one of the top leading countries in sustainability, but it is also top destination for adventure excursions and eco-tourism. The Nordic culture creates an inviting atmosphere for people interested in sustainability education and bucket-list adventures as well as cultural immersion. TGP does a fantastic job making this atmosphere transparent in theirs, creating 10 day unforgettable and life-changing educational experiences. These experiences include:
Super Jeeping Caving Snorkeling Camping
↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓ Everyday is a new day to try something new, taste something, and learn something new. I tried caving for the first time, and I loved it. I got a taste adrenaline from super jeeping and it tasted A-M-A-Z-I-N-G (almost better than the lamb…almost). I learned about the land, the Nordic culture, and the people I spent an intense, exciting 10 days with. I even learned new phrases most of which I’ve forgotten now, but I’ll never forget the W.O.T (word of the trip)…Jæja¹!
¹Jæja (yaya): all-round conversation filler that is can be used for anything and everything. Example: did you enjoy your green experience? Jæja! 😀
The Green Program also strives to enhance individual professional development through capstone projects, industry site visitation, and team building exercises. TGP aims to develop leadership, teamwork, and networking skills through adventure excursions and experiential education. Participants should be able to gain both a comprehensive understanding and a personal familiarity of the science and technology behind renewable energy systems: hydroelectric, geothermal, and biofuels.
The GREEN Program has provided me with an opportunity to practice public speaking and develop professionally when we had to present our capstone projects to an audience. My group and I were able to develop an idea and divide up responsibilities equally and efficiently in order to convey our vision, which pertained to sustainable farming, and answer questions to the best of our knowledge. We received both positive feedback and constructive criticism that will be beneficial to future presentations and positions.
I have always been pretty involved in the environment, my academics, and the community. Never once did I expect to embark on an experience that incorporated all three of these aspects into one. It’s ironic, because I found out about this program in an email, my first year at NC State, when I had no idea what career path I was going to take. Somehow, four years later, this e-mail resurfaced. Within those four years I:
a) discovered a new major (Environmental Technology and Management)
b) developed new passions (people, travel, and environment) and
c) engaged in new experiences (service trips, camping trips, and student organizations)
I knew I was now on the right path into the environmental world and I knew it was the right time for me to apply for The Green Program. I was so happy to have been accepted and able to attend this 10 day excursion in Iceland to learn about Sustainability and Renewable Energy and more about myself. I learned that I am:
- Highly Motivated I didn’t know much about sustainability and renewable energy and I wanted to be proactive and diversify my knowledge pertaining to my major, Environmental Technology and Management. I also enjoy learning about new cultures and their environments and I like to learn what I can so I can be able to apply this knowledge to help combat global issues such as climate change and educate other communities.
- Open-Minded When I signed up for the program, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know anyone going. I didn’t know how many people were attending. I hardly knew anything about our itinerary. Everything was taken by a day-to-day basis and I loved it! It’s nice to know that I can just “go with the flow” and truly appreciate the time spent apart of the TGP.
- Daring Because of my motivation and open-mindedness I am not afraid to take risks. If I believe an experience will be beneficial to a community, individuals, or myself, I will commit to the opportunity. I committed to TGP and I experienced Iceland because I knew this opportunity was like no other. I may have weighed the risks, but the gains I’ve made from this trip were far greater.
These are just a few ways the program has impacted me and I could talk about The GREEN Program endlessly! In fact, this is exactly why I decided to become an ambassador for the program. It is another opportunity that most study abroad experiences don’t offer, and it allows me to talk to individuals about my experiences and other opportunities available through TGP. This program has become a huge part of my life–bigger than I imagined–and I am so grateful to have been able to continue on an adventurous path with 25+ unique and awesome individuals from around the world. I’m not entirely sure where this path is taking me, but I am excited to see where it goes.
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
The Green Program HQ for providing truly, an amazing and unforgettable experience.
The College of Natural Resources for sponsoring me to attend this academic enrichment opportunity.
All Greenies for being the epitome of TGP and capturing invaluable moments.
And my family and friends for all their love and support.
The Icelandic Experience – Read more about Corey’s experience here