Lauren Moore, BSc (Hons) Geography
Name: Lauren Moore
Lauren talks about her experience of a University wide trip to Iceland
How did you find out about the trip and what made you want to attend?
I found out about the trip through an email describing the opportunity to secure a chance to visit Iceland. I was intrigued by its title of ‘international travel award’ and it looked like a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into an additional culture and meet individuals from a wide variety of disciplines that I have unfortunately missed out on as a stay at home student.
Where did you go and for how long?
The trip was to Reykjavik, Iceland for seven nights in a Hotel Cabin. Although, we were based in the centre it transpired that we had covered several different locations.
What did you get involved with while you were there?
The itinerary was unknown until a week before the trip at the briefing, although I felt lucky to just be travelling to Iceland, the itinerary was overwhelming.
We went on a glacier walk in the morning which was out of our comfort zones and other worldly. We used harnesses, cramp ons, helmets and snow axes to assist during the walk and help us stay safe. The tour guides offered us a wealth of information throughout, which was particularly interesting having studied the Cryosphere in Year one of my Geography degree. After the glacier we went to the south shore waterfall which was incredible and very powerful, there was a long walk up to the top, but it was worth it!
The golden circle tour comprised of several visits to a variety of locations, first we arrived at Gulfoss waterfall which made the south shore look miniscule. It was fantastic, it took your breath away (literally! It was very cold), it made you truly appreciate how insane the topography of Iceland was. There were also four geology students who participated in the trip who were able to tell us some interesting information, essentially, we were learning from one another. After this, we travelled to the Geysers which was also something I had never experienced and was very interesting.
We went on a walking tour of Reykjavik, which was full of questions and jokes from our tour guide. We visited several areas of the city and were told the history of the Danish rulers and how Iceland achieved their independence. This was also our first chance to really explore the city and it was very beautiful and colourful with an abundance of murals. We also visited the University of Iceland, which was very grand looking with a mosaic ceiling! The total cost of university in Iceland is £500, we were very jealous!
Following on from the tour of the university around 20 of us took a trip down to the local swimming pool, taking the advice of our tour guide and the Icelandic couple, I sat next to on the plane. The pools were heated by Geothermal as is most of the water resources in Iceland. However, we were informed that they were overusing this resource and that instead of 100 years, the source was only available for 50. The pool was lovely, and we got to mix with the locals who seemed very happy to see us there.
We also went for a quiz at Lebowski bar and it was lovely to see everyone get on so well, you felt comfortable as everyone was like minded and just appreciated the opportunity that university had given us. Additionally, the staff members, especially Fiona, were incredible and made sure everyone felt included, we had so much fun, although we didn’t win the quiz!
Day four was a social day so you got the opportunity to explore what you wanted, with a few even going horse-riding or scuba diving. Some of us decided to visit the phallus museum which was impressive, especially the sperm whale. After that we immersed ourselves in the culture and got talking to an American tourist and an Icelandic man in a coffee shop.
We also visited the Perlan museum and explored ice caves, which were also fascinating, this is when we were attempting to learn Icelandic with help of our tour guide (failed miserably).
In the evening we were taken on the northern lights trip, however there was no guarantee we would see them due to the weather being cloudy. Whilst we were waiting for them to appear we had some fun with Matt and used a long exposure on the camera and our phone torches to write #derbyunipassport. After all, we managed to see them briefly although due to the cloud cover it was not the best night for them.
We visited the Blue lagoon which was amazing! Unlike any experience I have had before, and everyone was so elated to be there! The face masks were lovely, and we were able too get 2 free drinks included which was awesome. In the evening a couple of us visited bar Lebowski again and got a burger and some chips, not the most Icelandic meal but equally as good!
We visited the flea market and I was able to buy a 100-year-old postcard written from one Icelandic family to another to remember the trip which was really cool! Some of the other girls bought jewellery inspired by the landscape. We then went to the harbour area and the theatre which was stunning Architecture and surprisingly busy.
What were the highlights of your trip?
The highlights of my trip included meeting different people and learning things about everyone, then getting to enjoy experiences with them which was phenomenal and we were all very sad it ended. To name the best experience I would say the glacier walk, that was so extraordinary, given that game of thrones had also been filmed there it was awesome.
What did you learn from your experience and how has this helped you with your studies?
I feel that given third year is an immensely stressful year with dissertations, I feel so much more relaxed and happy in my wellbeing which can only have a positive impact on my studies. In addition, it was surprising how much we all knew from our courses that we could apply to our experiences and therefore learning was constant.
How would you describe your overall experience?
I would describe my experience as amazing and would consider myself very lucky to have been selected for this opportunity.
Would you recommend this experience and course to others?
I would recommend this experience to everyone, it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am immensely thankful for the opportunity.