I went to Iceland from June 19th to July 4 for a study abroad focusing on Artic Microbial Environments. During that time, I have learned many things. I have experienced Iceland’s hospitality and observed their culture. Luckily I was there during Iceland’s first trip to the Euro Cup meaning that the days of the soccer matches were full of fanfare. Akureyri, which is the town I stayed in for most of the trip, had set up a multiscreen display in the town square and had a big viewing party when they were facing France. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice everyone there was. There were a couple of times were my friends and I got to a store or restaurant too late and they would open it up just for us. The only drawbacks to this great island, is the travel time. It took hours to get from Reykjavik to Akureyri. The plus side is that those hours were full of the natural beauty of Iceland. I will never forget those sights for as long as I live. Seeing the shadows of clouds on the mountains of Akureyri looks astounding. The waterfalls were so powerful and beautiful as well.
The food there was delicious. Everything was fresher up there and their candy and snacks were delicious. The only junk food I ate when I got back to America was ice cream. The Icelandic people beat us in ice cream serving sizes as well. There a triple scoop is like five of our scoops, and I loved it.
During the field sampling Oddur told us about the local plants and animals. Sometimes we were even told some stories about Odin, Thor, and Loki. Oddur was a great Program director. He made sure that we knew what we were doing and balanced work with sight-seeing. For every place we went to field sample there was a popular tourist spot to explore as well. The teachers were always willing to tell you everything you need to know too. That helped me out because prior to this trip I knew very little about microbial environments and interbacterial relationships. After all the lectures I have learned that those topics are very important and largely unexplored. It seems like there are new things being discovered every day. I also learned that viruses are very important to life too. I really did not expect to learn as much about lab techniques and the latest research of microbial ecology as I have in those two short weeks. I loved that experience so much, that I have to go back to Iceland whenever I can.