Courses / University of Washington

Exploration Seminar to Greenland / Denmark

This 2018 course is full and with a wait list but please contact me if you are interested in case a related course is offered in the future.

Below is information for students joining the Exploration Seminar to Greenland and Denmark offered from 15 August – 10 September 2018. This is listed as Earth and Space Sciences Greenland and Denmark: Ice and climate-change science and societal response.

This course provides 5 NW credits as ESS 402, included in the course fee, and will be cross-listed with Arctic Studies to provide 5 units of ARCTIC 387 if that is preferred.

Course fee listed reflects a significant reduction in cost due to generous support from the Scan|Design Foundation. A summer fellowship of $3,500 has already been applied to reduce the program fee for each student to the amount listed with UW Study Abroad. We are thrilled to have this partnership and offer this distinct opportunity.

Basic itinerary includes:

August 15: Meet in Copenhagen, Denmark
August 17: Fly from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and then to Ilulissat on Air Greenland
August 17 – 24: Explore around Ilulissat, lessons in ice and climate, Arctic history, and includes boat tours in icy fjord and to nearby glaciers, as well as hiking in this area that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
August 24: Take the Diskoline ferry from Ilulissat to Aasiaat
August 26: Take the Arctic Umiaq Line from Aasiaat to Nuuk
August 28 – 1 September: Stay in the capital city Nuuk learning about government, history, and scientific research in Greenland
1-4 September: Fly from Nuuk to Kangerlussuaq on Air Greenland and spend the time hiking near Kangerlussuaq and onto the Greenland ice sheet margin
4 September: Fly from Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen on Air Greenland
4-10 September: Spend this time in beautiful Copenhagen learning more about ice-core science, renewable energy, and Greeland-Denmark relations through active engagement at sites and with experts

The course focus is based on physical science, but the destinations and experiences will be rich in exposure and education in culture, history, and policy. The academic motivation is for students to understand how the Greenland Ice Sheet is changing due to climate change, how this affects people in Greenland and around the world, and how Denmark is leading scientific efforts to understand these changes and political efforts to mitigate these changes. Since no roads connect towns and cities in Greenland, we will go by plane and ferry to locations that will span smaller towns, stunning natural environments, and the country’s capitol city. We will hike on the Greenland ice sheet, tour the iceberg-choked fjords, and learn from Copenhagen how it is one of the world’s most desirable places to live and one of the most sustainable cities.

For the participants I have linked documents with more information. These are still being updated but are made available for planning — please take note of the version and look for notices of any updates!

Detailed itinerary

Packing list


Book list – you need to let me know your book choice by August 1.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page

Optional follow-on seminar offered during Fall quarter [ information to come ]

When you make your travel plans please fill in the details in this planning sheet

** Pre-departure meeting presentation 2 May 2018 ** (anyone at UW can view)


Some additional links:

Copenhagen Downtown Hostel
Danish Arctic Institute
Greenland Perspective
Ilulissat Hostel
Ilulissat Icefjord
Knud Rasmussen
Eqi Glacier tour
Pisiffik (major grocery store chain in Greenland; website in Greenlandic and Danish)
Diskoline ferry
Aasiaat Seaman’s Home
Aasiaat tourist office
Arctic Umiaq Line
Inuk Hostel
National Museum and Archive of Greenland
Inuit Circumpolar Council
University of Greenland
Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Kataq Cultural Center
Greenland Parliament
Kangerlussuaq Internataionl Science Support
Greenlandic House in Copenhagen
Greenland Representation in Copenhagen
Danish Institute for Study Abroad
Middelgrunden Wind Farm Cooperative and Wikipedia page
Air Greenland
National Museum of Denmark
Danish Energy Agency


Statistics Greenland
Greenland in Figures (2017)
Stockholm Environment Institute Arctic Resilience Report



Please see the running list of FAQ. [ I made latest updates on 7 June 2018 ]

When you make your travel plans please fill in the details in this planning sheet

I need to have all of you complete the following four things as soon as possible and ideally before June 18. Here is what I need:

1) Go to the planning sheet and confirm that your name listed on the sheet is exactly the same as it is on your passport. If you have not yet added your name or information to the planning sheet then at least for now put your name and fill in the rest later. I will provide this to Greenland Travel for all the ticket bookings so there cannot be discrepancies between this and your passport.

Also, if you have dietary preferences for the Air Greenland in-flight meal you can indicate vegetarian (they have not been able to confirm yet that this includes vegan), and/or gluten free. There are no peanuts served on the flight.

2) Think about the book you would like to read and confirm your choice with me, and fill it in the planning sheet. I have copies of some books you can borrow and left them with John in case needed — the book list indicates which ones are available.

3) The Scan|Design Foundation has requested a photo and a short bio from all of us. They want to update their website with all current programs that they are supporting. Please write a 2-3 sentence bio that states the following: hometown/state, major, any minor(s), academic year (sophomore, junior, senior), and a short statement about why Denmark/Greenland experience aligns with your academic and/or personal interests. Any digital photo of just you should be fine, but if you do not have a digital photo available or prefer to not have one listed then you can make that known to the Foundation. Please send the bio statement and the photo to and title the email with your name and Exploration Seminar to Denmark/Greenland.

4) While this isn’t firm and can be changed during the trip, Greenland Travel would like to know now who is in what room so I will request that you fill out this pre-travel survey so that I can try to best match roommates throughout the trip.

A last announcement is that I have purchased the tickets for the evening boat tour in the ice fjord. I found an option with a bigger and partially enclosed boat where we can do this all together so have booked this option instead, offered through operator World of Greenland. The additional fee per person is $100 and can be paid to me in the following ways: 1) Through PayPal to; 2) Through personal check dropped off in an envelope to my mailbox in the Earth and Space Sciences mailroom next door over from Johnson Hall room 070 (I think mailroom is room 068); 3) Through US dollars or Danish Kroner when we are on the trip. I have already paid for the tickets so they cannot be purchased individually by credit card when in Greenland. Please talk to me with any questions or concerns.



UW Study Abroad has an online information requirement and is also available to answer your general questions. Paperwork is due by June 1.

One of the biggest constraints is that I will be leaving Seattle on May 12 to spend three months in Iceland before the Greenland/Denmark class. I will be available remotely (email, Skype) and John Christian (TA) will be available in person through Spring quarter and some time into summer for any necessary in-person matters. The instructors and UW Study Abroad will work with you to make sure you are prepared for the experience!

You need to attend a pre-departure meeting! Session 1 and Session 2 will cover course logistics and course structure, as well as provide a chance to meet other students and answer your questions. There will be Study Abroad specific information shared from 4:30-4:45pm during the April 23 session. This is the only time this information can be shared in person but I will post to website and you can correspond with Study Abroad as needed. Session 3 will provide more background on the places and introduction to course content, as well as offer more time for all of us to exchange and answer remaining questions. I will make this information available on the website.

Session 1: Monday April 23 from 4:30 – 6pm, Schmitz Hall 450
Session 2: Wednesday April 25 from 9 – 10am, Johnson Hall 377A (Quaternary Research Center Library)
Session 3: Wednesday May 2 from 4 – 5:30pm, Schmitz Hall 450

If you cannot make any sessions and have not yet let me know your schedule constraints, please reach out to arrange a separate time to meet.

If you have questions or concerns that you think relate only to you, please feel free to contact me outside of the sessions.