I went to Iceland with the GREEN Program in June of 2018. The focus of the trip was Sustainability and Renewable Energy. We studied both in class at Reykjavik University (taking courses with area experts in Geothermal Energy, Hydropower, and Energy Policy), and in the field (touring many facilities, power plants, and participating in service learning opportunities such as aiding in reforestation efforts.)
This experience reinvigorated my passion for my field. After taking this trip, I remembered exactly why I decided to go in the sustainability and renewable energy fields. Studying abroad changed my life—without question, it made me more confident, more knowledgeable, and much more tolerant. Without such an experience, I would not have the same fire to change the world and confront our energy issues at the same time.
My major is Energy and Sustainability Policy at Penn State, and so many, many of my courses were focused on the same issues that we studied in Iceland. It is one thing to learn about energy efficiency, or how the world could implement renewable energy systems, but to SEE it—that is something totally different and earth shaking. My engagement experience reiterated my courses in the best way possible. The Iceland trip illustrated how my in-class experience and knowledge could be implemented in real life. Iceland—this engagement opportunity—gave life to what I have learned in class.
My engagement experience gave me a sense of wonder and curiosity that cannot be dimmed or shut off. I learned so much about the other people in my field and the strides we are taking to better ourselves and the world around us. I have so much hope for the world and humanity because of the people I have met. Post-graduation, I want to go on to a master’s degree in Energy Law/Policy or possibly an Engineering and MBA dual-degree program to further educate myself to confront our energy issues of today and reshape our energy future to better take care of humanity and the planet.