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Insights from Afar
Reykjavík, Iceland
Kai Remers

Student Perspective: Kai in Reykjavík

Kai Remers
College of Engineering

“I cannot begin to explain how happy I am to have studied in Iceland, one of the most magical places on Earth! I made lifelong memories and new friends, immersed myself in an entirely new culture, and explored jaw-dropping natural settings. During my stay in Iceland, I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly the local people were. They celebrated my attempts to speak the Icelandic language and engage in their culture, and they kindly offered help when I was distressed or confused.

A core memory of mine from my Iceland trip is hiking up Mt. Esja, a beautiful mountain overlooking the ocean and all of Reykjavík, with a couple of my friends after class one sunny day when suddenly, the Litli-Hrútur volcano begins erupting, sending a smoke plume high up into the clear sky! At the time, local scientists had predicted the eruption would occur within the next few days, so we all repeatedly glanced over our shoulders during the hike, anxiously awaiting the eruption. Just after taking a short break at a meltwater stream near the summit to refill our water bottles, Litli-Hrútur blew its top! Watching from about twenty-five miles away, at an elevation of roughly three thousand feet, we were thrilled to see the eruption from such a breathtaking vantage point! We all began whooping and hollering out of sheer joy and excitement. I will cherish this memory my entire life.

Studying abroad is a sudden and overwhelming change for many people, and living in a foreign country can be quite challenging at times. Initially, I struggled with preparing food for myself, as I had no real cooking experience. I also felt insecure and homesick for the first several days. But, by traveling to Iceland and forcing myself out of my comfort zone, I grew as an individual. I quickly learned to cook simple meals and make important decisions on my own, becoming more responsible, confident, and independent as a result.

Reflecting on my stay in Iceland, I have no regrets. I urge you to also take advantage of such an amazing opportunity to explore the world. You only live once!”