University of Oregon

SIT: Climate Change and the Arctic in Iceland and Greenland

Program Overview

No ecosystem is changing faster than the Arctic, and few scientific disciplines are more critical to the world than the study of climate change. In this program, you will learn about Arctic climates, ecosystems, and how humans interact with them – as well as the impacts climate change will have on plants, animals and human communities in the Arctic and across the globe now and into the future. 

During this program, you will take classes on the arctic ecosystems, climate modelling and carbon management, as well as conducting fieldwork that introduces you to scientific methods, data collection, and the ethics of conducting climate research in Iceland. You will critique climate change issues holistically and assess the impacts of causes and solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective. You will also develop a personal research project that will connect with, build on, and add to current research in the country.

For three weeks, you will live with a host family in Iceland, a nation dependent on the sea since the first Vikings settled over 1,000 years ago, and where whaling is still a part of the country’s fisheries tradition. You’ll have opportunities to visit subarctic communities, cross the Arctic Circle on the Icelandic island Grimsey, and learn about the Arctic Council in Akureyri. Additionally, two weeks will be spent in Greenland, where you will see climate monitoring in action and speak with experts at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. You will also have an introduction to the rich local languages, history, culture and narrative traditions of the regions you will visit.

For more information go to SIT: Climate Change and the Arctic in Iceland and Greenland.

Housing Description

You will live with a host family in Ísafjörður, the capital of the Westfjords region, for three weeks. Host families are usually close to the University Centre of the Westfjords, where classes are held. Ísafjörður is a town of about 2,500 on a narrow spit of land in the fjord Skútulsfjörður, surrounded by mountains and the sea. The town is an urban center in the remote Westfjords, offering services such as a hospital, schools, cafés, and arts venues.

A traditional fishing town, Ísafjörður has in the past few decades expanded into knowledge-based industries and nature-based tourism. Ísafjörður and the Westfjords are only visited by about two percent of tourists to Iceland and remain off the beaten track.
Staying with an Icelandic family gives you insight into Icelanders’ everyday life, culture, and language. Additionally, you can discuss issues of climate change with your hosts, having conversations around the dinner table—a favorite Icelandic pastime. The homestay is typically one of the most meaningful experiences of the program.
When on excursions, including in Greenland, you will stay at hostels.

Application Process

If you are interested in applying to an SIT program, we strongly advise you to meet with an advisor prior to applying.

SIT Study Abroad has rolling admission, which means that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening and closing dates of the review process. Applications must be complete to be reviewed for admission. Since many programs fill long before the published closing dates, you are strongly advised to apply by the above priority deadline.

Qualified applicants are recommended by a GEO Study Abroad Program Advisor. The final selection of participants is made by SIT. The SIT admissions committee strives to select students who will be the best possible match for the program. You should submit strong academic references and demonstrate a consistent academic record, clear motivation to study abroad, solid reasoning for their program choice, and an understanding of the program model.

IMPORTANT: Application for a SIT program involves two parts:

  • Completion of the GEO application process.
  • Completion of the SIT application process.

Please note that the GEO deadline supersedes the SIT deadline. An application fee is due at the time of application and is non-refundable under any circumstances.

Additional Requirements

Previous college-level coursework or experience in engineering, earth sciences, sustainability, environmental policy, sociology, biology, geology, geography, chemistry, archaeology, and/or environmental science/studies.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Fall Semester20174/15/20178/20/201711/29/2017
Spring Semester20189/1/2017Mid-FebruaryLate May

Additional Date Information

To confirm the exact program dates, please consult SIT.

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.