In May, I travelled with my coursemates on a field trip organised by a committee of students from the MPhil Environmental Policy programme at the Department of Land Economy. The journey consisted on a five-day tour through Iceland, one of the countries with the most progressive environmental policies in the world.
We started our trip with a visit to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources at Reykjavík, where we received first-hand information regarding Iceland’s conservation efforts and renewable energy policies. We learned that, even though Iceland is known for their pristine wilderness areas and clean energy, there is still a lot of work to be done to protect its ecosystems and manage its natural resources more sustainably.
The next day, we visited the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant. This was particularly exciting for me, as we got to see how geothermal energy is transformed into electricity with our own eyes. These installations are the dream of any engineer interested in renewable energy! We also took a tour through the Sólheimer Eco-village and learned about sustainable living practices in the area.
During the rest of the trip, we were delighted with Iceland’s natural treasures, including volcanoes, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, rocky beaches, hot springs, outstanding hikes and even some quality time with Icelandic horses and puffins.
I think this trip was very valuable for everyone at the master’s programme, because it allowed us to reflect on the impact of our future work in the environmental policy arena. Being witness of the results of sound environmental management practices and policies was truly inspiring.
Overall, travelling to Iceland was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences from my time as a graduate student at the University of Cambridge.
I am deeply grateful to the Gateway Programme for making this possible and celebrate the efforts of Murray Edwards College to make sure their students succeed not only in an academic setting, but also benefit from this type of multicultural experience that enables them to develop at a personal level.