Ísland eða Geðveiki!

As my first semester of college continues on, I can confidently say that it hasn’t been quite what I expected. I’m enrolled in exciting and engaging courses that have kept me on my toes and taught me so much so quickly. The social life here is great. As time goes on though, I’ve felt as though the rug is being pulled out from under my feet more and more. It might not be long until I fall flat on my face.

It’s not that I haven’t been doing everything I promised myself, it’s not that I’m falling into the old habits that I left behind when I moved to Farmington. It is that this semester is the last semester for a German program at the University. Even when looking into our study abroad programs here (and they are excellent for a public college) I didn’t see anything that I felt too passionate about. As an English Major, I am now essentially being forced to choose a language that is offered here and like it enough so that I can pass and graduate. With French, Russian and Chinese being the only options that I’ll even consider, I’m have been a bit disheartened.

Earlier today I was caught in the traffic jam of the Study Abroad fair at lunch. Naturally, I am interested in studying somewhere else for a semester, even if it’s not my ideal location. Wanting to get to lunch, I pushed through and ignored the Studied Abroad counselor, the sign-in sheets, and just about all the booths. Just before I reached “The Beach” (the hangout in front of our dining hall) I nearly fell head over heels into a table that had a big sign with the word “ICELAND” written on it.

Immediately I looked around for the representatives of the program and drilled them for every bit of information I could, affirming with them several times that there seriously was an study abroad in Iceland program. A long-absent acquaintance on a mailing list I frequent recently posted the story of his amazing and quite sojourn trip to Iceland. I felt more than inspired to visit the country that has been calling to me for a long time, but it still seemed unrealistic until at least a few years after college or even graduate school. After meeting and thanking these CELL study abroad program reps, however, I was shaking, jittering, and almost in tears with excitement.

CELL is short for the Center for Ecological Living and Learning. They run two study abroad programs, one in Iceland and one that covers several South American nations. In the Iceland program, it is a semester living and working in a completely sustainable Icelandic village called Sólheimar. Not only is there the opportunity to learn the Icelandic language, work alongside villagers and get involved with community projects, but there are also trips around Iceland to, apparently, Reykjavik, hot springs, glaciers, museums, and more. This program is worth 15 credits through five classes studying Iceland, the environment, critical thinking and sustainability. I can’t think of a program that is more up my alley. Tomorrow I plan on calling up the person who runs the program to find out more information and when I can apply. The cost actually seems within my price range.

Whether the Gods have set this up (Odin does look out for us, after all) or it is some sort of coincidence, it looks like I have come across a great deal of luck. I am still in shock and awe that I’ve found a program that is realistic. The idea that I might be spending next September, October and November in Iceland (or the year after) is just about the happiest, most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard. The Norns have to be doing some serious weaving right now. If this program is all that it seems, I am going to do absolutely everything in my capacity to enroll. I’ll scream it loud and clear: To Iceland or Bust! (or in my poor Icelandic, to Iceland or Insanity — Ísland eða Geðveiki!)


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