SIT in Iceland: Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics
SIT Study Abroad offers a field-based, experiential approach to learning. Each program has a small group of students (typically 10–35). On an SIT program, students gain high levels of access to many different stakeholders and experts relevant to the issues the program is examining. While some learning will be conducted at the SIT program center, extensive learning is done outside the classroom — in host communities, field stations, NGO headquarters, ecological sites, health clinics, and art studios.Many students go on to use their Independent Study Projects as a basis for senior theses on their home campuses. Others use their undergraduate research and overall study abroad experience to successfully apply for fellowships such as Fulbrights and Watsons.
Students will earn 9 credit hours for this summer program. Classes will be taught in English, but students will also be taking an Icelandic language course. The set courses for the program cover topics related to:
- Hydroelectric and geothermal power; wind, solar, tidal, and biomass energy; alternative fuels; and resource economics and policy
- Sustainable energy design and implementation within larger sociocultural, economic, and environmental contexts
- The geology behind energy usage and the importance of its sustainable utilization
- The basics of the Icelandic language
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
There is no "typical day"on an SIT program. Activities may take place on any day of the week and at any time of day to be in accordance with local norms and to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities. Thus, the schedule and structure of the program are likely very different from what students are used to on their home campuses. The summer progresses in phases. Summer programs last for six or seven weeks. Much of that time is spent in the field, with visits to sites relevant to the program theme.
Throughout the summer students participate in:
- thematic seminars and educational excursions
- language instruction focused on improving practical communication skills
- one to two homestays, typically
On some programs, students complete a practicum or research project.
At the end of each program, students participate in debriefing and reentry sessions.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During the homestay, students become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program.
For two weeks, students will live with a host family in Ísafjörður, the capital of the Westfjords region. Host families typically live near the University Centre of the Westfjords, where classes are held. Staying with an Icelandic family will give students insight into Icelanders’ everyday life, culture, and language. They will see how energy issues affect daily life and get to discuss these issues with your hosts around the dinner table, an important part of Icelandic life. The homestay is typically one of the most meaningful experiences of the program.
Ísafjörður is a town of about 2,500 on a narrow spit of land in the fjord Skútulsfjörður, surrounded by mountains and the sea. The town is an urban center in the remote Westfjords, offering services such as a hospital, schools, cafés, and arts venues. A traditional fishing town, Ísafjörður has in the past few decades expanded into knowledge-based industries and nature-based tourism. Ísafjörður and the Westfjords are only visited by a low percentage of tourists to Iceland and remain off the beaten track.
Other accommodations include guest houses and hostels.
You will explore Iceland’s astonishingly varied landscapes: glaciers, volcanoes, fjords, geothermal fields, lava flows, rugged coastline, and waterfalls. You will experience the power of nature, evident in every aspect of this constantly transforming island. Seeing Iceland’s energy sources will give you an essential understanding of the geology behind energy utilization.
During orientation, students will visit geothermal sites and power plants in the fascinating southwest of Iceland, getting an introduction to the country’s energy production. In the eco-village Sólheimar, they will get a glimpse of one form of a sustainable community. The program also travels the famous Golden Circle, which includes the Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss waterfall, and Thingvellir National Park.
At the end of the program, students will go on a short excursion to take in Iceland’s tremendous geologic diversity. They will discover the beauty and uniqueness of Iceland’s landscape, including volcanoes, glaciers, impressive waterfalls, lava fields, black-sand beaches, and more. They will have time to hike, enjoy Iceland’s flora and fauna, or dip into a relaxing hot spring.
**Estimate of costs to be added soon**
SIT awards nearly $1.3 million in needs-based scholarships and grants annually. Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000. The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program. Students who receive a Pell Grant should also apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. Additionally, any Binghamton/SUNY student who is accepted to an SIT program that is approved by Binghamton University for summer term will automatically be granted a $750 reduction in program cost!
Students who are eligible for financial aid may apply it. The amount of financial aid that you may be eligible to receive is of an individual nature. All students should print out this Estimate of Costs Sheet, bring it to the Financial Aid office, and consult with a counselor there about what the implications of this cost would be for them individually. Federal and New York State financial aid is generally applicable to study abroad programs. The Binghamton Financial Aid Services Office is able to consider only the application of students matriculated at Binghamton for degree study.
Binghamton and SUNY Scholarships
Students applying for this program are highly encouraged to apply for the Dr. Israel J. Rosefsky Language and Culture Scholarship ($2,000 for summer programs), and also the Myers Family Scholarship if eligible ($1,500). For more information about scholarships and financial aid in general, click here.
When a student commits to an education abroad program in their Terra Dotta online program application, the Office of International Programs (IEGI) mirrors the Binghamton University Student Accounts refund policy for tuition, tuition differentials, and all program fees.
SIT Iceland Program Website
SIT Iceland Program Facebook