Student Reflection and Words of Wisdom

The HON195 students of 2017 not only wrote individual posts about their experience in Iceland, they also shared with us some wise words of wisdom: a) what they learned during their time abroad, and b) what they want future student travelers to know before packing their bags.

(Note: responses were gathered via anonymous post-travel survey.)

Student Reflection:
What do you consider to be the most important thing you learned while abroad?

  • The most important thing I feel that I learned from this experience is perspective. I have a new perspective on life now that I have experienced what it is like to live in another culture.
USM Students exploring a viking ship replica
  • I think the most important thing I learned was that I am a lot stronger than I thought. I was able to adapt to the new culture and live around many other people my age. It was a great experience that I learned a lot from.

    USM Students learning about the history of Drangey Island


  • The most important thing that I learned would be the Icelandic culture. As I was learning new words in the language as well as different customs, it gave me a sense of respect and appreciation for Iceland and its people.
  • In order to fully understand another culture, you have to fully immerse yourself in it. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
USM Students contributing to a tapestry illustrating Njal’s Saga
  • How to enjoy the moment.
  • The most important thing I learned while abroad is to be more flexible. Another important thing I learned was time management. You really need to be able to prioritize homework, even while studying abroad. I believe these two lessons go hand in hand and are very important as I plan on studying abroad again in the future.
USM Student visiting with a friendly host at the Open Air Museum
  • The most important thing I learned while studying abroad was that there is beauty and joy in just going with the flow. Normally one who enjoys a lot of structure, it was wonderful to experience life, day by day, hour by hour.


Wise Words of Wisdom
Some notes from the HON195 class of 2017 to future travelers:

  • When you visit a beautiful place don’t forget to put the camera away and cherish the moment.
  • Learn to go with the flow, don’t over pack (you really don’t need that much), be respectful of the environment and the Icelandic culture. Lastly, take in every second like it’s your last.
USM Students exploring a dock in Siglufjordur
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things- it’s worth it!
  • Bring good rain gear!
  • Two things: First, alone time is important. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends that you just want to go for a walk by yourself or spend some time alone. Being around the same people for long periods of time can be stressful. Second, BRING RAIN PANTS. They sound ridiculous, but they are super helpful near waterfalls. You don’t want to be walking around in soaking wet jeans for the rest of the day.
Admiring the view alongside our Icelandic tour guide
  • Research before you travel
  • See everything, do everything, and taste everything! Enjoy every moment because soon enough it will be time to go home!
USM Students meeting a curious Icelandic horse


Thank you to the Iceland class of 2017 for sharing your best advice with us and future travelers. Takk Fyrir!


(Featured image: USM Students admiring a view of the bay in Reykjavik)