Student profiles

A few of ISE's students answer some questions about their study experience and living in Iceland.

  • Arkaitz Manterola in front of mountains

Current Students

Arkaitz Manterola, Spain

Arkaitz Manterola, Spain

Sustainable Energy Engineering, Class of 2022

Name:  Arkaitz Manterola
Age: 22
Hometown:  Zarautz , Basque Country, Spain
Academic Background: B.Sc. Renewable Energy Engineering,  University of the Basque Country , Spain
Major & Class: Sustainable Energy Engineering, Class of 2022

Could you share with us a little bit about where you are from and your academic journey before Iceland?

I was born in Zarautz, a small town surfing in the Basque Country, Northern Spain. Growing up in a coastal town, I have seen how powerful nature, and especially the sea, can be. I also grew curious about the impacts of humanity on our environment and how to mitigate the negative aspects of it. Interested in the power of the ocean and the other “magical” sources of sustainable energy, I chose to study Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of the Basque Country for my bachelor's degree.

Why did you choose Iceland School of Energy for your graduate studies?

Geothermal energy. Before starting my bachelor's studies, I had a soft spot for geothermal as it was the most mysterious and interesting renewable energy of them all. We can feel the wind blowing on our face and the sun burning our skin, but the heat of Earth? How do we tap this unseen raw power? Iceland being a global leader in geothermal energy, I saw Iceland School of Energy as the perfect place to broaden my knowledge on geothermal energy and its “magic”.

So far, how has your ISE experience been?

ISE has been great. My goals of learning about geothermal energy, currently ongoing as we speak, has been satisfied and the whole educational atmosphere is great. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a bit of a steppingstone on the whole process. However, as our class size is small and Iceland, comparatively, doing great; the experience has been as good as it can be in the “new normal”. I cannot thank my fellow students enough for making the long study days a bit better.

What has been the most rewarding part of this entire experience?

This one is tricky as I feel that the whole experience can only be rewarding by living it all to the fullest. Meeting people with similar interests but from different continents, cultures, and backgrounds, learning from people on the other side of the world, and the short but amazing one weekend trips getting lost somewhere in Iceland are a few of the memorable experiences.

What do you enjoy about living in Iceland?

I would say the freedom that Iceland has. Everyone is accepting and accepted. Things that I would have thought were weird seem unthinkably easygoing and lighthearted here. You do not need to worry about what people will think or what they will say when they meet you for the first time. Everything just flows and settles as it should be.

Also, well, I can not forget to mention the beautiful shapes and colors of the landscapes in Iceland. The dancing auroras. The magnificent glaciers. The in-the-middle-of-nowhere hot pots. The infinite waterfalls. Where else could you find those, all so close to each other?

How would you describe life in Reykjavik?

Well, admittedly, I have not lived in Reykjavík outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this makes the answer quite different. But I can say I love how relaxed life is and how happy people generally are. It reminds me a lot of back home when the sun is shining and everyone is glowing a bit brighter.

As a side note, I think it is funny how the closing of swimming pools (a wonder of Iceland, by the way) was more impactful than the closing of bars (something that back home seems nearly as important as breathing). How similar and different cultures are utterly amazing.

So far, what has been some of your most interesting experiences living in Iceland?

I would say studying at University during an earthquake swarm. One day I was working on an essay and there was a magnitude 5.7 earthquake. I figured that if anything like this where were to happen with all of us on the third floor of Reykjavik University, everyone would have freaked out. But, that was not the case. There was some excited chatter and I could just look around at my friends, crack a smile and go back to work, as if it was insignificant.

Also, I do not think I will ever forget that first night watching the auroras. We were even wearing flip flops, because we needed to run out of our apartment fast in order to enjoy those amazing lights. Having seen picture and knowing the scientific explanation of them, the northern lights are still very crazy to watch in-person. Also, let's not forget to mention that I am living just 30 km away from an active volcano. Sounds crazy right? Pretty sure I'll never forget this one, and well, neither will my phone's camera.

What advice would you give someone who has never been to Iceland before?

Forget that bad weather can ruin plans and be ready for the adventure! And this does not just apply to Iceland. Caring too much about the weather can mean losing a great opportunity for a fun trip or the best of surprises. I love the sun and can not stop myself to get out to my garden and sunbathe when the possibility comes, but that does not mean that cloudy weather or some snow has to ruin your plans! Wear a good jacket and proper boots and be ready for the day!

What are you planning to work on with your master's thesis project?

Optimization of power plant systems is a must-have to efficiently match generation for the current demands of the market. With that purpose, my thesis will focus on optimizing a geothermal power generation system by controlling the fluid flow rates using flow regulators. The optimization will be focused for the Bjarnarflag Power Station, one of the oldest steam power stations in Iceland.

To all the potential students and professionals of the world considering graduate studies, why should they choose Iceland?

For the balance. Since I am here, I just feel the country has the perfect balance of nature and city life, of bad and good weather, of study-time and of enjoy-time…


About Iceland School of Energy

By bringing together the best from industry and academia, Iceland School of Energy provides a unique, and comprehensive training for its students. A wide range of courses taught by the very best in their field open a broad spectrum of possibilities for students and allow for individual study designs. Focus is put on close collaboration with industry experts while maintaining high academic quality of the work.

Iceland School of Energy is part of and accredited by the School of Science and Engineering at Reykjavik University in Iceland.

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