Friday 4. January 2013

Field school group visits to the University Centre

One of the tasks that the University Centre tends to is to assist foreign universities in organizing field school stays here in the Westfjords. Most of these groups come from universities in the US or Canada. Last summer was very lively as the Centre welcomed three groups, each of them spending between two and three weeks in the region. This coming summer only one group is scheduled; this may however change and the Centre is of course prepared to assist new groups if requested.

In June our first group arrived, students from the University of Washington accompanied by their Academic Director Dr. Phillip Thurtle. This was Dr. Thurtle´s second visit to the Westfjords with a student group and another visit is scheduled for 2014. These students are enrolled in the CHID (Comparative History of Ideas) Summer Program in Iceland, an international and cross-disciplinary study program, which emphasizes the relationship between humans and nature.

Our next guest has become a regular with the University Centre, the group from the School for International Traning (SIT)/World Learning which is based in Vermont, USA. These groups are enrolled in the near summer-long programme Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics in Iceland. While in the Westfjords, the students complete individual mini research projects, often with the assistance of public institutions, private companies and individuals. This gives them the opportunity to get acquainted with local people and so many Westfjordians are quite familiar with the SIT groups.

Last summer a novelty was introduced as students were offered two-week homestays with local families, much apprecited by both students and hosts, according to many host families a rewarding experience that they would certainly recommend to others. Another SIT group is scheduled for this coming summer and thanks to last year´s positive experience we feel quite confident to offer homestays to the 2013 SIT students.

The field school summer concluded with the stay of the Icelandic Field School from the Icelandic Dept. of the University of Manitoba. The Icelandic department is the only one of its kind in North America and is chaired by Dr. Birna Bjarnadóttir who is responsible for the Icelandic Field School, an annual University Centre guest since 2007. Courses on Icelandic culture with an emphasis on the connection to nature and the environment, as well as visits to museums and other cultural institutions are offered to these students. As Dr. Bjarnadóttir is presently on a sabbatical no visit is scheduled for this summer, but we expect to welcome her together with her Icelandic students in 2014.


For information on summer schools please visit our webpage. If you are interested in bringing a field school group to the Westfjords and wold like to discuss ideas contact Pernilla Rein Project Manager pernilla(at) to discuss ideas.

The Holt Lodge, Önundarfjörður, a popular place to stay amongst field school groups.
The Holt Lodge, Önundarfjörður, a popular place to stay amongst field school groups.
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