Welcome to the USM Honors Blog! We started this blog as a means to disseminate information about our brand new travel abroad program, as well as general information about the North Atlantic, to students and community members. Our current focus is on Iceland and our long term goal is to expand the program to other countries in the North Atlantic.
Welcome, incoming Honors Freshmen and greetings to our blog readers! We have some exciting news: we will soon be announcing our 2018 short term travel class topics and details. Check back soon to learn more about the class and application process.
In the meantime, be sure to check out some of our student posts from June 2017 to see some photos and first hand student accounts of our adventures in Iceland.
HON195 Student Post: Jordan Fisher, Nursing Major; Honors Minor
Career Goal: Psychiatric Nurse
A Journey to the North of Iceland
Good day everyone, nursing student Jordan Fisher here with your latest update on our amazing trip to Iceland!
I rolled out of bed quickly this morning, landing face first in the pile of clothes that—let’s admit—I was never going to put away, cursing to myself as I realized I should have packed my overnight bag the night before. My classmates were running around like maniacs, picking up a raincoat here, shoving a hairbrush into a backpack there, and trying to squeeze in a proper brushing of the teeth before our overnight journey to Northern Iceland. This morning rush has come to be our normal routine here in Iceland. If I have learned one thing on this trip so far, it’s that you have got to move fast to get a good seat on the bus. Continue reading “A Journey to the North of Iceland”
HON195 Student Post: Aedin McDaniel, General Biology Major; Honors Minor
Career Goal: Veterinarian
Water You Doing, Puffin Your Chest Out Like That
Oh, the adventures we have had in Iceland! Today was especially interesting—but only really after 12 o’clock. Continue reading “Water You Doing, Puffin Your Chest Out Like That”
HON195 Student Post: Katie Tewksbury, Linguistics Major; Honors Minor, ASL Minor
Career Goals: Speech Pathologist
A Day in the City of Reykjavik at the Local Flea Market
Giggles leaped from booth to booth as children played tag– ducking under booths and racing through the aisles of the Kolaportid Flea Market in Reykjavik, Iceland. The nostalgic atmosphere reminded me of when I used to accompany my parents to the flea market back home in Rhode Island. Our morning bus ride into down town Reykjavik was filled with exciting whispers and eagerness about what the flea market experience would be like. People shouted from one end of the bus to the other “I can finally get my family all their gifts today”, “I can’t wait to try fermented shark!” (yes really), and many other desires for today’s adventure. This chain reaction of commotion filled the van with an exciting energy that made for a promising start to our day. Continue reading “A Day in the City of Reykjavik at the Local Flea Market”
HON195 Student Post: Jacqueline Langevin, Psychology major; Honors Minor
Career Aspirations: Continue education towards PhD
A Day in the Capital: Wandering Laugavegur
First of all the weather was beautiful. I start out with this because it is a very common conversation starter amongst the Icelandic. I opened my window and the sunlight shone in, leaving gold reflections off of lava I collected earlier in the week sitting on the window still. My day was off to a great start the second I woke up: this morning, we were finally given a chance to sleep in. I quickly got dressed and packed my backpack with the essentials: wallet, sweater, bathing suit. Mind you, I was already wearing a few layers under my raincoat. The bathing suit is an essential item to always carry around in Iceland: you never know when you will find a hot spring or stumble upon a pool. Although the agenda for the day was wandering around the city of Reykjavik I didn’t want to risk not having my bathing suit handy. Continue reading “A Day in the Capital: Wandering Laugavegur”
HON195 Student Post: Sacha Kiesman, Political Science Major; Honors Minor
A Walk to Clear the Mind; Reykjavík Edition
June 24th – Today was our free day in Reykjavík. We all begin our day watching a 360 degree video of the natural features from all across Iceland. The video is projected on the walls and ceiling of a small room in the Harpa center. Beautiful images of fire and ice surrounded me but they aren’t distracting enough so my mind wanders, and I begin to think about my future, a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Becoming a lawyer would leave my life void of images and visuals like these. My job would primarily be words and texts. The tape deck of possible careers and majors in my head starts flipping again, a thought process that has been stealing away my energy for over a year. I leave with wet cheeks but am practiced at pushing aside these thoughts for later. Continue reading “A Walk to Clear the Mind; Reykjavík Edition”
HON195 Student Post: Emma Cost, Environmental Planning and Policy Major; Honors Minor
The Race Between Continents
My day started with my friend Katie anxiously shaking me awake. “Emma, there’s Belgian waffles for breakfast again!” I already knew this was the start to a great day in Iceland. I ran to breakfast, late per usual, and quickly devoured waffles.
Today’s agenda was focused more on the fishing industry of Iceland and less on tourist hot spots. Yet Einar, our wonderful tour guide, always has tricks up his sleeve! As we were riding on the bus, Einar pointed out the bridge up the road revealing it was the continental rift. Our sleepy eyes immediately opened wide and suddenly there was more energy on the bus. Continue reading “The Race Between Continents”
HON195 Student Post: Benjamin Currie, Finance Major; Honors Minor
Career Aspirations: To work in the outdoor industry
Tectonically Speaking, Iceland is Awesome
During the summer, there are very few attractions in Iceland that are not extremely crowded with tourists. This morning, however, we drove to Reykjanes and our tour bus pulled into a hidden parking lot. There were no other cars around. Only a few short feet from the car was a small foot bridge that crossed both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. In geology, the theory of tectonic plates says there are nine massive plates that structure the entire earth. Two of these plates run smack against each other in the Reykjanes peninsula. As I stood on the bridge straddling North America and Europe, I was able to admire the wonderful view of the ocean and miles of rugged terrain. On each end of the bridge were small paths that led down to the black sand that’s been trapped between the two rock plates. As we stood in the sand, a starting and finish line were drawn for us to have a race between the plates. The race started in North America and ended in Europe a few moments later, tectonically speaking. After spending about thirty minutes in this strange land that connects two massive continents and plates, we boarded the bus to head to Gunnuhver. Continue reading “Tectonically Speaking, Iceland is Awesome”
HON195 Student Post: Autumn Wentworth, English Major; Honors Minor, Public and Professional Writing Minor
Career Aspirations: Editor
Innovative Thinking with a Creative Mind
On Thursday, June 15th, I traveled to the New England Ocean Cluster (NEOC) with my 14 classmates and four professors. After a day of touring the Portland Fish Exchange and exploring Portland, it was refreshing to sit around a large conference table and learn about Eimskip and how it is part of the Ocean Cluster House. Portland has just recently become the New England headquarters for Eimskip, an Icelandic transportation company. While it was originally located in Virginia, the company changed its location to Maine because the Icelandic employees felt more at home. I found this information very fascinating. I’d never been to Iceland before and, despite researching some cultural aspects, I still wasn’t sure what to expect. After hearing that the Eimskip employees were more comfortable in Maine, I hoped that this meant I would be comfortable there as well. As these thoughts were flying through my head, the woman at the head of the table, one of only three or four employees in her department, began by telling us why transportation matters. Continue reading “Innovative Thinking with a Creative Mind”
HON195 Student Post: Molly LeComte, International Business Major; Honors Minor
Career Aspirations: In 5 Years I hope to be a Lawyer
Searching for the Future in the Past
A Day Of Learning In Iceland
Today I traveled with my class to three distinctly different places, all to get a better understanding of the maritime fishing industry of Iceland. We started the morning at the Árbaer Open Air Museum in Reykjavik, a small re-creation of what life was like in Iceland during different periods of time. Houses from all over Iceland are occasionally moved to this historic farm for preservation. By walking from house to house, one is physically surrounded by Iceland’s past. These homes shine light on what life was like for fishermen and farmers throughout the decades. The houses were so well preserved that it felt as though at any moment the old residents would walk into the home and greet me with an Icelandic “grunt,” the universal greeting in this county. Continue reading “Searching for the Future in the Past: A Day Of Learning In Iceland”