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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Grenfell prof learns firsthand the similarities between Iceland and Newfoundland
DATE: Jan. 5, 2009

         Gabriela Sabau said she learned as much as she taught during an intensive three-week course she delivered in Iceland.
         The professor of economics at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University, spent the latter part of the fall semester at the Isafjordur campus of the University of Akureyri, the University Center of the West Fjords. 
         Dr. Sabau taught economics of the coastal and marine environments, a core course for the recently started master’s program in coastal and marine management.
         “The program is an ambitious cross-disciplinary graduate program, which brings together students and instructors from a diverse range of backgrounds and countries to share their experience, knowledge and ideas about sustainable ways of using the rich natural resources of coastal and marine areas,” she said. 
           The University Center of the West Fjords is one of Iceland’s universities specializing in natural resource management, especially fisheries science.
           “The University Center of the West Fjords was established in 2005 to serve the residents of the West Fjords, and to provide a fabulous natural environment for learning and doing research for both Icelanders and foreign students,” said Dr. Sabau. “The West Fjords is one of the most remote regions in Iceland standing at the gates of the Arctic. In the West Fjords, Iceland’s nature is magnificent and untouched, with crystal clear waters and fishing villages nested in deep fjords between breathtaking mountains.”
            Dr. Sabau’s class consisted of nine students from Iceland, China, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. The course was indeed intensive with lectures taught every morning and animated seminars/discussions held in the afternoon. 
            The class took a field trip to assess sustainability practices of two of the fish plants in the area.
            The class visited the Hradfristihusid-Gunnvor HF fish plant in Hnifsdalur, one of Iceland’s most successful fisheries companies, specializing in catching and processing of ground fish, in frozen at sea production and in cod farming/ranching. And in the village of Sudureyri, branded for tourism purposes as ‘the Original Fishing Village,’ the fish plant specializes in drying fish heads, bones and tails collected from other fish processing plants in the area by using geothermal energy. The final product is successfully exported to Nigeria.
             “I found my Icelandic exchange very exciting,” said Dr. Sabau. “Teaching in a new environment is both challenging and rewarding. I have learned as much as I have taught. Given the similarities between Iceland and Newfoundland, I think Grenfell College would benefit from developing standing relationships with universities such as the University Center of the West Fjord.” 
            The University Centre of the Westfjords is an independent organization which co-operates with, but is not a campus of the University of Akureyri. For more information please visit: http://www.hsvest.is/the_university_centre_of_the_west_fjords/about_the_university_centre/
             For more information about the course economics of the coastal and marine environments and the University Center of the West Fjord, visit http://www.hsvest.is/masters_program/course_descriptions/Economics_of_coastal_and_marine_environments.

 

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