Name: Nadir Nibras
Major: Mechanical Engineering with Biomedical option
Minor: Gender Studies (not official yet. I just started taking classes in Iceland and plan to continue with the minor at OSU)
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Program: Reciprocal Exchange Program
Why did you choose to study in Iceland?
I wanted to go to a country that was different, and I can’t think of another nation in the western world which is so unique geographically and culturally. I chose to study in Iceland for doing exactly the things that I have been doing for the last month: meeting wonderful people from around the world, learning more about the Icelandic way of life from Icelanders who are all direct descendants of the famous Vikings, and travelling all around the country having amazing experiences. Also I am a nature-lover so the natural geothermal pools, geysers, volcanoes and every other bit of the mesmerizing landscape in the country definitely helped my decision to come here.
What is the university like?
Compared to OSU, the university and study-atmosphere around here is a lot more relaxed. It’s a very different system of teaching. Attendance to classes is not really something that is stressed upon in most of my courses. The teachers nonetheless, like teachers in every other country I have been to, are usually happy to help us do better in our courses. Fun fact to emphasize the difference in cultures: My University has a spectacular bar in the basement with special discounts on alcohol for students and this is where most people study.
And the city?
The city is a small one with only around 180,000 people but at the same time it is also a very eventful one. There is always something fun to do, which is a bit surprising considering the tiny population. The age of the city is evident from its ancient architecture and the city-design. Iceland makes the most out of its geothermal resources and there are plenty of heated swimming pools all around the city and the country. A fun thing is that it’s impossible to get lost because you can always see the giant church at city-center from any point in the city and trace your way to wherever you want to go.
So far, what is a typical day for you?
A typical weekday and a typical day during the weekend is nothing close to each other.
Weekday: Wake up at 9 (which is before sunrise), go to university, do homework or just hang out with friends at the student café, come back early if there is something interesting going on. It usually ends with me hanging out with my housemates and going to bed.
Weekend: It is either going out of town to explore mother-nature with small groups of friends; or it is trying to have as productive of a day as possible and then going out to experience the splendid night-life of Reykjavik with no plans of coming back until the clubs close at 5.
Where do you live?
I live in a guest-house with 9 other students from all around Europe 2 from the US, We have a very nice and friendly set-up over here and these people have become really good friends of mine.
I could make an endless list of them. If I had to name a few, the immense pride that all Icelanders share in their country and culture would definitely make the list. The beauty of the country also caught me off guard even after I had looked through more than a thousand pictures of the natural wonders. The big differences in social customs and especially in the dating culture is also something that I was not expecting and am learning more about every day.
I met my “buddy” assigned to me by my university on a Thursday night and set off on a three day trip with him the next morning at 8 am with 45 other Icelanders, to the second biggest city in Iceland which is on the other side of the country. The trip included trying out snow-boarding for the first time in my life, living with dozens of Icelanders in a room for almost three straight days and going out to experience the culture and night-life of the city of Akureyri. Certainly one of the most fun and spontaneous things I have done in a while.