Friday 4. October 2019

SIT students visit Hesteyri 

The University Centre recently enjoyed hosting two student groups on behalf of Vermont-based SIT (School for International Training). Both groups do programs on climate change, however with different foci, the graduate program focusing on the global context, “Climate Change and Global Sustainability” while the undergraduate program looks at Northern regions, “Iceland: Climate Change and the Arctic”. Responsible for these programs onsite are program directors Dan Govoni, Ísafjörður resident and dr. Jill Welter who now stays here together with her group. 

As part of  their respective programs, students are invited to field trips to deepen their understanding of climate related issues, but also as a way to introduce them  to Icelandic nature, history, culture and society. Recently first a day hike took place in the glacier Drangajökull area where the group was guided by geologist Jón Kristinn Helgason of the  Snow Avalanche Centre which is the Ísafjörður branch of the Icelandic Met Office. Last week, students were invited on a boat trip to Hesteyri, an abandoned village in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. While crossing over to Hesteyri, the students were thrilled watching humpback whales playing around the Ísafjarðardjúp bay, not far from the boat. At Hesteyri students were taken on a guided tour of the village including a visit to the old whaling station ruins. Students learned about the history of this place as well as of the Hornstrandir area and the part played by Norwegian whalers more than one hundred years ago. Possible impacts of climate change to nature were also dealt with. After enjoying a few lovely, sunny hours at Hesteyri, a contented group of students returned to Ísafjörður in the afternoon. 

The SIT graduate student group will stay in Ísafjörður until the end of the fall semester, while the undergraduate students has now left for a visit to Akureyri. These two groups along with University Centre master students will rejoin in Reykjavík next week, as all these students will attend the Arctic Circle Conference October 10-12. 

SIT students visiting Hesteyri.
SIT students visiting Hesteyri.