Amanda Maxon - 2015 Program Participant
Harpa Music Center in Reykjavik, Iceland
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I was really interested in learning about other cultures and other locations around the world. I participated in several organizations while completing my bachelors degree. I ended up being president of an organization that was creating trips for students to help those in need abroad, by building schools and homes. I ultimately wanted to challenge myself in order to figure out who I am as a person, so I thought applying to an international program in a location that I have never thought of was going to lead me to a wonderful international experience.
Why did you choose Panrimo?
I chose Panrimo because it gave me an opportunity to study abroad in a different country, in addition to allowing me to travel on excursions to different areas while attending the program. I was originally planning to sign up for an internship during the summer, but when I was given all of the information about travel possibilities and events, I ended up leaning more towards the study abroad program Panrimo provided in Iceland.
This study abroad program was the best choice for me, as it allowed time to travel across Iceland, meeting people and looking at the history of this northern island. The class has been pretty challenging, as it has made me think about the environment in a different perspective rather than one viewpoint.
Natural Science Museum in Reykjavik, Iceland
What was your favorite part about Iceland?
My favorite part about this location is that I have been able to travel and see things I have only dreamed of before. The topic of Iceland is never really brought up in Texas. When I was telling my friends about the program they kept asking me if there was anything in Iceland or if I would have to live in an igloo.
I arrived two weeks early before the program start date so that I would have enough time to travel and see Iceland before my program started. With the help of my host families I was able to travel and learn about the people of Iceland and why this country is so important to the environment and the rest of the world. Traveling by myself helped me to gain the confidence to make friends and see people in a different light other than my own.
What made your program experience unique?
The program is unique because the coordinators and Panrimo staff are always in contact with you and participate in the excursions, so everyone is learning and becoming familiar with each other. Whenever I had a question or a problem it was always dealt with immediately, so that the issue could be resolved without much hassle. I am now really good friends with everyone in my program. I know that because of this, I will have forever friends in Iceland and around the world.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
We had a coordinator in the capital that helped us with the bus system in Reykjavik and how to maneuver so that we were not 100 percent lost all of the time. Since this was my first traveling abroad experience, I did not know how anything worked here in Iceland; but because of the local staff and coordinators, I was able to make it by myself in Iceland two weeks before my program start.
Waterfall found after caving during one of the field trip excursions
What's one thing you would do differently if you did it all over again?
I would of learned how to save money better while abroad. I ended up spending a lot of money just trying to figure out how everything worked. I would probably start saving money so that I would not have to worry about money issues when problems arise. Also signing up for a program earlier, so that I would be able to know the approximate price of the program.
What was a typical day like for you as an international students in Iceland?
I was placed in a apartment with another member of the Panrimo team. She, like me, is in the study abroad program. I usually leave early in the morning to head to school, since I take the city bus. Every day the class runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the topics changing every day. After class we would usually go to a restaurant or the park to hang out.
What did you enjoy doing during your time in Iceland outside of the classroom?
I loved being able to go on field trips to different locations in Iceland, including the control room which houses all of the computers that are in charge of the low and hot temperature geothermal wells around the city. After school I would hang out with my classmates, drinking coffee or walking to the grocery store. Every day was a new adventure.
Tell us more about your accommodation. What did you like about it?
I live in a apartment with a fellow participant. We were given a lot of space to live in while attending this program. The home was chosen my Panrimo. What I like best about the house is the location. Our house is one of many Panrimo locations in the city of Reykjavik, but I have to say our harborview port to the south is one of the best places. You are able to see the ocean crash up against the shores and people biking to work. It is very peaceful.
How has studying abroad in Iceland impacted your life?
I am so glad I did this program. I am thinking about going to school abroad in the future, so that I can learn more about the world and its people. I have become a more open minded person and more self confident in myself. I never thought I would be able to travel and be away from my family, but I realized that I am stronger than I originally thought.