Academic Travel Wrapup

(photo cred: Carly Besh)
Hey There! 

So, I C E L A N D was the greatest ever!

I seriously cannot overstate how awesome this Academic Travel was! We had a great group of students, the coolest country (literally.. haha) and as my first full-credit Travel I have to say, I give it a two thumbs up! I had my hesitations about meeting as an Academic Travel class twice a week the whole semester, but I felt so prepared to go to Iceland - I learned a ton beforehand, and I learned a ton while we were there! So it's a win-win-win situation! In the past, Academic Travel has been a partial-credit program at Franklin, but the university is phasing in full-credit travels, and I have to say that I am a fan!

In the weeks leading up to the Academic Travel our class studied Iceland's culture, history and current environmental programs (since it is an environmental studies class) which meant that we were all prepared to ask good questions at the lectures in Iceland and really enjoyed talking about Iceland with all of the locals we met. And if there is one thing Icelanders love, it is talking about Iceland, so they loved talking to us too! They have so much national pride it is awe inspiring! When everyone you meet in Iceland is telling you about how it is one of the greatest countries in the world, you can't help but believe it! I know that I will always have fond memories of this country.

And now for the best part: a small selection of the 1 billion (approximately) photos I took on travel! I know I gave you a small snapshot of our time in the fjords in my first post about Iceland, so I'll mostly skip ahead to the next portion of our travel in southern Iceland

GULLFOSS Waterfall 
just some monkeying around on slippery rock next to a massive waterfall... that's perfectly safe, right? I guess that's why there's a fence :)

One afternoon we toured a factory for drying fish heads... turns out it is a profitable export! And pretty stinky! But a sustainable use of fish, so I gotta give them props!
my talented roommate practicing some yoga skills ^
Icelandic horses are well known for their unique gait. On Travel we got to visit a stable and watch a riding demonstration which was really cool!
Steam rising from the hot springs near Geysir (the geyser for which all other geysers are named after!)
Sunset while hiking between the Eurasian and North American plates!
We hiked up to the top of this waterfall and then for 10km along it. It was our longest hiking day, but some of the most gorgeous scenery you can imagine! We followed sheer cliffs, bubbling streams, roaring waterfalls and encountered lots of mud! I only slipped about three times.. but it was all good phone! Side note: my friend taking the picture was screaming at me to get away from the edge and my mother did not quite appreciate this picture either when she saw it! haha 
And a few more pictures from the fjords in the northernmost part of Iceland, pretty much the arctic circle! And we spent two hours on an outside tour of food culture in this sustainable fishing village. (As you might imagine, I was freezing cold, but it was a cool experience)
the calm before the storm ^^
The absolute highlight of the trip? THIS. Seriously though, all I had this night was my iPhone, so I borrowed this picture from my friend (photo cred: Matthew Seyffert!) but the northern lights were INCREDIBLE. We got so lucky and all of the locals told us these were the best northern lights they had seen in three years! I hoped they'd be bright, but I didn't account for how fast they twirled around. It really was like the lights were dancing across the sky. Impossible to explain, but a total bucket list item! It certainly added to the experience that we were watching lights while a woman chanted Icelandic poetry and explained traditional practices to us.  
2nd highlight: we toured this tomato greenhouse and then had their very own tomato soup for lunch! It was delicious! 
 living on the edge!
A snapshot from our tour of a geothermal power plant, did you know that Iceland is powered by 99% renewable energy. So rad! 
And then we ended the trip in Reykjavik! This little city is the capital of Iceland, and it was so weird to be in a city after spending so much time exploring the countryside! But it was a fun way to end the trip! 

Iceland you'll have my heart forever! 

Thanks for indulging me in this little photo recap of my trip, if you still want to see more photos from my Academic Travel and others, check out the Future Franklinites or Franklin University Switzerland Facebook pages and the #ATFUS on Instagram! 


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