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Fall Semester in Iceland

Travel to the Land of Fire and Ice to learn the concepts of “Sustainability Through Community.” Experience life at Solheimar eco-village, a community dedicated to sustainable living practices. Witness glaciers, volcanoes, and geothermal hot springs, and explore Iceland, one of the most remote, geologically unique, and environmentally friendly countries in the world.

Program Overview

CELL is partnering with Solheimar, an eco-village of about 100 people renowned for its international, artistic, and ecological atmosphere. Solheimar is the first self-sufficient community of its kind in the world, where people with special needs and those without live and work together in a community committed to environmental sustainability. Inspired by the theories of Rudolph Steiner, Solheimar has focused on cultivating the individual and the environment and was the first community of its kind in Scandinavia to practice organic cultivation. During your semester adventure in sustainability, you will live at Solheimar, take trips into Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, to learn about its history and culture, hike into geothermal heated hot sprints, get up close and personal with glaciers and volcanoes, participate in a variety of service-learning projects from planting trees near Hekla, Iceland’s most historically active volcano to living and working at an amazing turf house museum (it’s only kind in the world), etc.

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Program Details

Length: 12 weeks
Credits: 15 credits through Lesley University or Northland College learn more
Cost: $14,900 USD, plus airfare from your hometown
Application Deadline: Rolling applications, so apply early to guarantee your spot!
Program Dates – From the first week in September through November.

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Program Logistics

Housing: Students are housed in clean hostel-type facilities or home stays for most of the semester program. Although the accommodations are rustic, they are clean and provide an opportunity to form bonding relationships with other students and with your host family.
Food: – Come prepared to partake of Icelandic fare, including organic veggies from the Solheimar greenhouses, etc.
Internet and Communication: Internet access is good while living at Solheimar, but may be limited when travelling to remote areas.
Electronics: – We recommend that you bring a lap top computer.

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Sample Program Itinerary

Actual program itinerary varies from program to program. Contact us for more information!

A note on personal travel: because of the condensed (read: action-packed) nature of our program, there is no much time for you to personally explore the region on your own. If you would like to further explore the region, we suggest planning some additional time before or after your CELL experience. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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Sights and Sounds

  • Learn basic Icelandic (old Norse)
  • Explore Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland
  • Hike in areas with some of the most captivatingscenery in the world: vast barren expanses and green (or snow-covered) valleys, magnificent glaciers, mountains, and beautiful waterfalls, glassy-surfaced fjords with pristine beaches, geothermal springs with health-giving properties
  • Wander through museums and historical sites that depict everything from the hard struggle for existence in previous centuries to the technological revolution of the twentieth century
  • Attend various cultural events including art exhibitions, theatre productions, concerts, and festivals
  • View the unforgettable Northern Lights.

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Program Courses

Global Warming, Changing CO2urse: Lessons From Iceland (LINTD 2001)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, Geology, Geography, or Environmental Science requirements – 3 credits)

This course surveys the complexities of global climate change, explores personal responses to climate change, identifies our participation in this ecological crisis, and explores our individual and collective power to shape an effective response to climate change. The course also introduces students to Iceland’s unique geology and provides inspiring examples of how Iceland is utilizing carbon-free geothermal resources for heating and electricity production. Course material is presented through provocative readings, student-generated learning activities, small- and large-group discussions, journaling, and field trips

Icelandic Culture, Language, and History (LINTD 2003)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, Language, History, or Sociology requirements – 3 credits)

Góður dagur! This course provides an overview of the culture, language, and history of Iceland. In addition to providing instruction in conversational Icelandic language, the course focuses on the historical and cultural factors that have helped to shape contemporary Icelandic values. Students gain an understanding of the socio-cultural and environmental context of Iceland and discuss differences and compare these differences to their own country. Delivery of course content includes: lectures, field trips to historical sites, readings, small-group and large-group discussions, reflective writing, and several essay exams.

Sustainability: Secrets of Simplicity (LINTD 3699)

(Interdisciplinary coursed designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, Sociology, or Ecology requirements – 3 credits)

This survey course examines the field of sustainability and explores creative ways to build sustainable communities. We look at innovative strategies and programs currently being implemented in the U.S. and elsewhere to proactively address issues threatening global sustainability. The focus of this class is to examine the choices we make and to look at how to incorporate sustainable practices into our lives. Students also explore the principles of voluntary simplicity and the relationship of these principles to sustainability. In addition to thought-provoking readings and lively class discussions, students also explore, through experiential and service-learning, an understanding of and appreciation for the work of several internationally recognized community development organizations.

Sustainability Through Community (LINTD 3707)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, Sociology, Global Studies, International Studies, or International Development requirements – 3 credits)

This course challenges students to apply what they are learning in their academic course work (e.g. about human and ecological issues facing Costa Rica and Nicaragua) to real-life sustainable solutions being adopted by CELL’s internationally recognized community development partners and their work with local communities. Students work hand-in-hand with community partners to create appropriate and innovative solutions to environmental, economic, cultural, and social challenges facing communities in this region of the world. Specific service-learning projects will be driven by the needs of the local community and include the participation of students, members of the community who are involved in the projects, host country partnering organizations, and the instructors. Through structured reflection exercises and journaling, students continually evaluate their progress, examining how theory relates to their real world experience in the community. Students also develop individual environmental action plans that will enable them to engage creative, environmental solutions on their campuses or in their communities back home. Students design an individual stewardship action plan in cooperation with their instructor.

Crossroads Thinking Skills for the 21st Century (LINTD 4003)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, English, Philosophy, or Sociology requirements – 3 credits)

This course grounds students in a new and interdisciplinary way of thinking. Crossroads thinking combines elements of critical and creative thinking and helps students to develop skills in questioning, imagining possibilities, exploring opportunities, analyzing alternatives, synthesizing ideas, and evaluating thought. Through a variety of course activities, students identify essential intellectual traits, question long-held assumptions or biases, evaluate ideas, reason honestly and open-mindedly, problem-solve, and form objective conclusions. Students learn that “things are not always as they seem,” and they develop the capacity and skill to be able to examine thought from different points of view (e.g. cultural, political, social, economic, scientific, artistic, gender-based, multi-age-based, spiritual, philosophical, historical, empathetic, and integrated perspectives). This course will stretch both the depth and breadth of your thinking.

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