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Friday October 21. á2011

Four field school groups expected in 2012

One of the tasks of the University Centre is to assist foreign universities in organizing field school trips here in the Westfjords. This service is growing steadily and next summer we expect to welcome four such groups. These student groups will spend from five days up to three weeks in the Westfjord region, and are from universities in the US as well as one from Canada.

The first group arrives mid May and is from the Dept. of English of the University of Connecticut, lead by Dr. Tamarah Kohanski. These students‘ field of study is medieval history and the sagas. It will be the first visit of a group of students from this faculty.

About a month later we will receive a group of students from the University of Washington. It will be their second visit, the first group having been in 2009. These students are enrolled in the CHID (Comparative History of Ideas) Summer Program in Iceland, an international and cross-disciplinary program, with emphasis on the relationship between humans and nature. The Academic Director responsible for this programme is Dr. Phillip Thurtle.

The 2011 SIT student group by the Westfjords Heritage Museum.
The 2011 SIT student group by the Westfjords Heritage Museum.
Two groups who have become regulars will arrive during June and July. Both have sent student groups in the past five years. The first group is from the School for International (SIT/World Learning) Training in Vermont, taking the near summer-long course Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics in Iceland. While in the Westfjords, the students complete individual mini research projects on topics such as hydropower or energy conservation, often with the assistance of public institutions or individuals. Many locals therefore have become familiar with the SIT student groups. Next summer the students will also have the opportunity to live with a family in Ísafjörður, as learning about the local culture and practising the language is an important part of the SIT study abroad programmes. Caitlin Wilson, doctoral student of the University of Iceland is Academic Director and has been responsible for these groups during the past few years.

Poet EirÝkur Í. Nor­dahl giving an open air lecture to the 2011 student group from the University of Manitoba.
Poet EirÝkur Í. Nor­dahl giving an open air lecture to the 2011 student group from the University of Manitoba.
The last group to visit in the summer of 2012 is the Icelandic Field School from the Icelandic Dept. of the University of Manitoba. This Icelandic department is unique, being the only one of its kind in North America. Director Dr. Birna Bjarnadóttir is responsible for the Icelandic Field School and accompanies the groups during their stay in Iceland each summer. Courses about Icelandic culture, with an emphasis on the connection to nature and the environment are on the group´s schedule, as well as visits to museums and cultural institutions.

While in the Westfjords, field school groups learn about the region and its culture. The Saga of Gisli, the most well-known saga from this region, is tranmitted by story-sharing in the form of guided hikes lead by local saga guide Þórir Örn Guðmundsson, and a play about this famous outlaw created and performed by actor and director Elfar Logi Hannesson.

We are looking forward to an exciting summer welcoming newcomers as well as regulars.

If you are interested in bringing a field school group to the Westfjords or if you would like more information, please visit our webpage for information on summer schools or contact Pernilla Rein, Project Manager, pernilla (at)uwestfjords.is

Our community

"Iceland has a strong cultural heritage in a harsh environment with good community organization. The Icelandic learning experience has left me reeling with enthusiasm for coastal management, given me colleagues for life and left me with a moustache."

Henry Fletcher, England, CMM student 2008 - 2009

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