AARHUS, Denmark – Four, second-year wind energy students and their instructor at Northeast Community College learned firsthand of Denmark’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions through a week-long study abroad opportunity in the Scandinavian country.
The group, also led by Pam Saalfeld, director of the Center for Global Engagement at Northeast, became students at Aarhus Technical College in Aarhus, Denmark, in November.
Denmark leads the world in wind energy, with the headquarters for industry giant, Vestas, right in the heart of the country. Saalfeld has long desired to take students and faculty from the wind energy program to Denmark.
“With our partnerships in Aarhus, it just seemed like a natural part of Northeast’s efforts to globalize our curriculum, particularly in our technical fields,” she said.
Northeast Wind Energy Instructor John Liewer valued the interaction he had with the students and faculty in Denmark, as well as those interactions he had with the general populations outside the classroom.
“My favorite part was simply being immersed in their culture and the questions and conversations that were exchanged, having the chance to learn about their day-to-day lives and teaching them about ours,” he said.
The students who participated in the study abroad were Max Hastreiter, of Humphrey, Trevor Hinds, of Davenport, Brandon Jones, of Norfolk, and Patrick Miles, of Grand Island.
Miles saw this opportunity as not only a cultural experience, but one that may have implications for future employment.
“It gave me a new option for places I might be interested in trying to find a job,” he said.
Hinds agreed, stating that the actual experience of travel would reflect well with future employers.
“I think that this experience will help us get jobs because employers would like to see that we are willing to go to great lengths to learn something new.”
The students spent the week in classes, working side-by-side with faculty and students from Aarhus Technical College.
Northeast currently has a memorandum of understanding with Aarhus Business College; however, the two schools – Aarhus Business College and Aarhus Technical College -- often work on projects together. Northeast was the first U.S. institution of higher education to participate in a study abroad initiative with Aarhus Tech.
In the past, Northeast’s collaboration with Aarhus Business College focused on faculty exchanges. However, with this venture, coupled with this fall’s study abroad to Denmark and Germany within the business division, and Northeast’s new agreement to welcome students from College 360 in Silkeborg, Denmark, for six weeks this spring term, Saalfeld sees more opportunities for student exchanges.
“Both Northeast and Aarhus are committed to nurturing any opportunity we can provide for our students and faculty to have a global educational experience. It’s exciting that so many opportunities seemed to present themselves all within a short timeframe,” she said
Northeast Community College students Max Hastreiter, of Humphrey (front row, right), and Brandon Jones, of Norfolk, (second row, right) work with students at Aarhus Technical College in Aarhus Denmark. Hastreiter and Jones were among four Northeast wind energy students to travel to Denmark recently as part of a student exchange program. They were accompanied by John Liewer, wind energy instructor, and Pam Saalfeld, director of the Center for Global Engagement at Northeast.