Caroline Weiss spent a life-changing six weeks in Iceland studying renewable energy, technology, and resource economics through the School for International Training. She learned introductory Icelandic, which was enjoyable and extremely helpful culturally, especially when greeting people or ordering in restaurants. With 24 other students from universities across the U.S., Caroline traveled around all of Iceland to explore the various landscapes and types of clean energy utilized by different regions. For example, her group toured a district heating plant in Isafjordur, geothermal areas in the Reykjanes peninsula, and the Kárahnjúkar hydropower plant in the southwest. They studied at various institutions, including the University Centre of the Westfjords and the University of Akureyri, with several different professors and guest speakers. Overall, tours of renewable energy power plants, hikes in remote Iceland, an in-depth engineering course, and her independent research project on Icelandic energy policy opened her eyes to the advantages of Icelandic geology and governmental actions.
Notable excursions included Þingvellir National Park, whale watching, several breathtaking waterfalls, the Highlands, basalt columns, craters, and an active volcano. From meaningful experiential learning, guest lectures, and classwork, Caroline gained a deep understanding of how Iceland has harnessed its renewable energy resources and the consequential societal benefits. Icelanders enjoy high energy security, minimal pollution, little need to conserve energy and hardly any political tension regarding climate action. To further study renewable energy, Caroline intends to pursue a career in energy policy and to revisit Iceland for further study/exploration in the future.