By Claudia Hardy | Staff Writer
Deciding to study abroad is exhilarating, but the real challenge is choosing where to go.
Duquesne offers a wide variety of study abroad programs, but some students have their mind set on a specific place that Duquesne does not sponsor.
Kimberly Bischof, a third-year environmental science major, did just that.
Bischof studied abroad to Iceland via The GREEN Program. This study abroad opportunity focuses on sustainability and is an eight-day trip for students of all majors, especially those in environmental science, from all over the U.S. and Canada. The study abroad office is familiar with the opportunities this program offers, but it is an entirely separate organization.
“We completed a class on renewable energy through Reykjavik University,” Bischof said. “We head seminars on solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy.”
In addition to class time, students experienced the unknown, spending their days with only a few belongings in their backpacks and little detail regarding what they would be experiencing.
“We were never told what our schedule was,” Bischof pointed out. “Within only a few hours of stepping off the plane, I found myself hiking beautiful, ice-covered mountains to reach several hot springs.”
Whether it was meeting a descendant of a real-life Viking or off-roading through feet-deep streams and steep mountains, Bischof was able to leave her comfort zone back in the U.S. and test her bravery with strangers who became friendly faces throughout the week, while learning and getting credit for it at the same time.
“We spent a day touring geysers in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland,” Bischof said. “Geysers only occur in two locations in the world: Yellowstone and the area of Iceland we visited. In addition, we also hiked an active volcano.”
There wasn’t anything Bischof disliked about her trip, except leaving those behind whom she became so close to in such a short amount of time.
“My least favorite part of the trip was saying goodbye to the people I had come to consider friends in my time there,” Bischof said. “We waited for the planes that would send us off in different directions … I am still in contact with nearly all 30 students from that trip, and I was the only Duquesne student.”
Credits can range from 1 to 3 depending on what their advisor would like them to do in addition to the trip. Students can work out the exact number of credits awarded for this excursion with their advisors.
Bischof had an experience so memorable that she is now an ambassador for the program.
“I would recommend this experience to Duquesne students because it is a study abroad opportunity that can be done during winter or summer break, so you never get behind on classes” Bischof noted. “Education is taken out of the classroom and students are immersed in Icelandic culture.”
Students who are interested in learning more about this thrilling and memorable trip through The GREEN Program should reach out to Kimberly Bischof at firstname.lastname@example.org.