Why did I choose Iceland?

By Jiayan Ji*

This country is definitely not in the “most popular study abroad countries” list in our study abroad office, and the last student who adventured in Iceland has already graduated.

But, if you are a Geoscience student or a music lover, Iceland can be ranked No.1 in your own list.

I am a Geoscience student at the University of Iowa, and I chose Iceland as my home country for one year. Unlike other countries, Iceland’s special qualities cannot be replicated. This country is an island, which is located on the plate boundary of North American and Eurasian Plates. This is an island formed by volcanic activities -- in other words, this country is a giant volcano! (not super scientific). But while the broiling magma is roaring inside of the chambers, the top of the volcanoes are still covered by glaciers. Under-glacier eruptions make up one of the most common landscapes—table mountains in Iceland. What you can see in Iceland is highly impossible to see in another places, and this makes Iceland be the heaven of geologists. Volcanoes, glaciers and huge plate boundaries, all these things are enough to thrill a geologist’s soul! So if you are a “geoperson”, don't hesitate, Iceland is your place!


Some geothermal steam.

If you are a music lover, well, I don't have too much to say. You should know it better than me.(I think our school also has exchange programs to Finland.)If you are a hiking lover or a nature lover, you won’t want to miss Iceland. The special landscapes make wherever you hike look like a movie. You will encounter the wild geothermal steam emitted by the volcano under your feet, you will step on the black lava field formed from hundreds to thousands years ago, you will feel the cool breath from the glacier in the 50F summer, you will snuggle in the natural hot spring in the 25F winter, you will lay on the thick moss as soft as a mega broccoli, enjoying the gentle sunshine, and you will shiver on the ice-cold rock looking up at the aurora rushing down to crush your heart and flowing away to the edge of the world.


My field study group!

And also, because University of Iceland and our school have an exchange program with each other, it is really convenient to apply! And it’s also convenient to pay the tuition. I just pay the tuition for our school in Ubill as a common semester. Besides, I don’t need to worry too much about credits transfer after the exchange study since everything has been negotiated before the departure! Iceland is cool (literally). You won’t meet too many weird insects in the summer, nor the winter. You won’t need to worry about seeing a bear or moose in the wild, because the only native land mammal is the Arctic fox, which can melt your mind by its adorable white fluffy little round-shape body.

All those factors determined why I chose Iceland as my adventure island. If you also find a place that matches your major and hobbies. why not give it a try?

*Jiayan Ji is a junior at the University of Iowa studying geology. An international student from China, she will be spending her semester abroad on the University of Iceland Exchange program.

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