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While the Principia community winds down toward the end of another school year, the Iceland Abroad group ramps up for a four week trip starting two days after commencement. Lauren Hinchman, who is co-leading the Iceland trip with Anderson House RC Reid Charlston, explained that the students participating in the abroad have been preparing all term. Said Hinchman: “Most of the classes we … start with some kind of teambuilding or bonding icebreaker-type activity.”

In an effort to help the group et to know one another, Hinchman added that each student is paired with a new peer group each week and expected to spend some time together socially outside weekly abroad preparation classes. Hinchman said that everyone is expected “to write a short paragraph about each person from their group that week and talk about why they’re excited to get to know that person better…”

In addition to roup bonding, Hinchman noted a focus on readings about Icelandic culture and lessons on geography, history and the environment. The focus of the min-abroad is sustainability and conservation and will include in-country coursework with Dave Oakes of the CELL program [can you elaborate a bit on what you might like to explain about CELL?]

photo courtesy of Brent Bennett

As much as the group has prepared to travel abroad, Hinchman said: “At the same time I’m intentionally keeping it a little bit mysterious. I’m not telling them everything. I don’t want to fix in stone any preconceived notions.”

One thing that is fixed in stone is the group’s “home base” at the Solheimar EcoVillage, a small, largely self-sustaining farming community for mentally challenged adults. Hinchman noted that the men and women who live on the farm are treated very kindly, “as though they don’t have any limitations.”

In addition to experiencing life on the farm, the abroad students will have the chance to participate in several day trips, including an all-day like up a glacier on top of a volcano. Although Hinchman noted that the event may not be the most academic element of the trip, trekking with crampons and ice axes will certainly be memorable. The group of seventeen will also stay overnight on the Westman Islands, home to the largest puffin colony in the world. Another highlight includes planting enough trees to offset the group’s carbon footprint for the entirety of the program, including air travel.

Dave Oakes from CELL…a big part of the coursework in Iceland
Counting off, numbers in Icelandic…learning a little bit over there … everyone we’ll be in contact with speaks English over there.
‘There’s not much of a need for it except cultural exposure”
planning trip in October to Iceland. … went everywhere we’re going.

All day hike on a glaciar…glacier on top of a volcano
Will be a memorable experience.
Crampons and ice axes
Overnights on Westman Islands….largest puffin colony in the world.
Home base at Solheimer (eco-village) … challenges people live there and operate almost self-suffieciently
Treat them as though they don’t have any limitations. Take great care of them

The purpose of the course is a combination of things. We’re setting a metaphysical foundation for how we will operate on the abroad, and so we start every class section with readings that the students are taking time to prepare. Most of the classes we also start with some kind of teambuilding or bonding icebreaker-type activity.
Reading assignments that have been helping them to learn about Icelandic culture as well as geography, history, a little about the envro
Learning names of places

Reminders to be getting in shape, lots of walking/hiking
Many of them haven’t traveled internationally …
Weekly assignments “I put them in groups of four and they have a homework assignment that is to get together socially for an hour just to get to know each other and then they have to write a little short paragraph about each person from their group that week and talk about why they’re excited to get to know that person better and why they’re happy they’ll be abroad with them.
Each week they’re with a group of people they haven’t met before
“It’s a very diverse group. It’s almost even we have 15 so it can’t be perfectly … about half of them are biology, environmental science folks and the others are not.
Sustainability and conservation

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