Abbey Breeding - CFANS Study Abroad Program

Term: May 2016 

Program: Iceland: Landscapes, Natural Resources and Environmental Management 

Go Global Grant receiver.


My study abroad to Iceland impacted me in many ways but the largest growth I found was in my love for nature. Iceland seems like a small country but when you are there, surrounded by lava fields that stretch out as far as you can see, and volcanoes and glaciers everywhere you look, it feels like you could never possibly see everything.

I’ve always loved the outdoors, but Iceland made me appreciate that “the outdoors” has so much variability. I got to see whales just a ways offshore, hike up mountains, feel the heat of geothermal rivers, stand on a glacier, and see a black sand beach. These were just a few of the “outdoorsy” things I got to do in Iceland.

Being in Iceland also helped me realize that my favorite part of being outdoors is being in seclusion. Many of the things we did were while surrounded by hundreds or thousands of tourists.My favorite things we did were without any one else around. I realized that no matter how pretty the landscape was if there were other people around, it was significantly less beautiful than the landscapes where you couldn’t see a soul for miles. Iceland helped me accept and have a newfound appreciation for being alone in nature.

Not only did I learn to appreciate seclusion in nature, but I also learned to appreciate the land itself. Icelanders take care of their land. They put so much effort into bringing tourists into their country, but they take even more effort into keeping the land pristine for the sake of the land, not just to keep it that way for more tourists.


The Icelanders are connected to their land and that’s why such a large part of their government is based around environmental factors, and why over 80% of their primary energy comes from renewable sources. I truly believe Iceland is setting an example for the rest of the world on how to tap into their resources and use them sustainably. The fact that there are so many volcanoes is perfect for producing geothermal energy. Caring for the world’s land is what I want to do as a career and Iceland seems like they are a step ahead of the rest of the world.

I hope to possibly find an internship in the future with a company or researchers in Iceland working on environmental sustainability. Going on this study abroad trip really was a life-changing experience.