On the windswept ice just north of the Arctic Circle lies the village of Kangerlussuaq, home to 500 people. It’s here that Allie Seminer ‘20 conducted research for her class “Ice Cores and Ice Ages: Greenlandic Climate Change Case Study,” part of her coursework at DIS Copenhagen, a rigorous study abroad program in Demark.
The weeklong DIS expedition to study arctic phenomena, geology, meteorology and politics in Kangerlussuaq allowed Seminer to explore the ice caves of Russell Glacier, run with a dog sled across a frozen fjord while wrapped in furry sealskins and hike on the massive Greenland ice sheet. “We had to hike up and down snow piles and exposed sheets of ice,” she said, “occasionally sliding into an ice cave or gliding across a flat frozen area.” For three nights, Seminer and her classmates watched the Northern Lights dance across the sky in greens and reds.
Seminer met members of the local community during the expedition, including a couple with a young daughter who described how fortunate they felt to live in Kangerlussuaq, with its one small school that provides education up to middle school. The town, filled with repurposed military buildings, has a single grocery store and no stoplights.
Back in Copenhagen, she attends classes — including “Waste Management Systems in Europe,” “Anthropology of Food” and “Biology of Marine Mammals” — and lives with a Danish host family. “Having the exposure to my host family and their daily lives and activities has allowed me to learn about the Danish culture in a much different way,” Seminer says. “I’ve learned to embrace having challenging conversations and silly misunderstandings with others that I know I would have never experienced unless I lived abroad.”
At HWS, Seminer is involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, CCESL Civic Leaders, HWS Girl Up and William Smith Congress. On the Dean’s list, she was recently inducted into the William Smith Laurel Society, the honor society for sophomores and juniors.