Professor Polack
Professor Polack, a distinguished computer science professor at the University of Mary Washington, possesses a deep curiosity for global exploration. Driven by a desire to broaden her understanding of different cultures and technological landscapes, she aspires to study abroad in countries across the world. Professor Polack's ambition to study abroad exemplifies her commitment to enriching both his own academic perspectives and the field of computer science as a whole.
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Iceland, where we spent weeks exploring the stunning landscapes of this Nordic island. One of the highlights of the trip was driving around the famous ring road, a 1,332-kilometer highway that circles the entire country. Along the way, we marveled at cascading waterfalls, rugged coastlines, and towering glaciers. We had the chance to immerse yourself in Icelandic culture, sampling traditional cuisine and learning about the country's history and geology. This unforgettable journey through Iceland's dramatic beauty left a lasting impression all of us.
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After leading a study abroad trip to Brazil and Argentina, where the students explored the wonders of the Amazon Rainforest, embarked on a captivating river cruise along the Amazon, and marveled at the breathtaking Iguazu Falls from both sides of the border, Professor Polack decided to create a photo book. With meticulous attention to detail, he curated a collection of photographs capturing the vibrant landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and joyous moments of the trip. I aimed to provide a visual narrative that would forever remind the students of their remarkable journey.

Creating “Digital” Storytelling Iceland

It was a crisp March afternoon when we gathered at the Iceland Air counter at Dulles International Airport. Excitement filled the air as we prepared for our long-awaited journey to Iceland, each exploring Fire and Ice.

At 7:40 PM, flight FI644 took off, carrying us towards our adventure. We settled into our seats, watching as the lights of Washington D.C. faded into the distance, replaced by the anticipation of what lay ahead.

Quiet sounds were all around the airplane as it soared through the sky. The gentle hum of the engines provided a constant backdrop to the journey, lulling passengers into a state of calm. Occasionally, the stewardess’ voice could be heard as she made announcements over the intercom, her words floating through the air with a soothing cadence. Outside, the whisper of the wind as it caressed the wings of the plane added to the serene atmosphere. Amidst the hushed symphony, each passenger found solace, enjoying the quietness as they anticipated the adventures that awaited them in the land of fire and ice.

March 2nd morning arrived, and we found ourselves at Keflavík International Airport, ready to begin our exploration. Our first stop was the nearby town of Reykjanesbær, where we made a quick detour to the Bonus supermarket. Armed with snacks and supplies, we were well-prepared for the day ahead.

Excitement filled the air as the students gathered at the Bonus supermarket, ready to embark on the drive of their lives in Iceland. The aisles were brimming with an array of snacks and supplies, beckoning them to choose their favorites for the journey. Laughter and chatter filled the space as they navigated the aisles, grabbing bags of Icelandic candies, savory snacks, and refreshing beverages. With their backpacks filled and taste buds tingling with anticipation, they eagerly made their way back to the vehicles. Little did they know that this stop at the Bonus market was just the beginning of a remarkable adventure, fueling their spirits along with their appetites for the awe-inspiring experiences that awaited them in the stunning landscapes of Iceland.

With our provisions in hand, we set off towards the magnificent Gerðuberg cliffs, a geological marvel that beckoned us to explore its grandeur. As we approached the cliffs, the towering basalt columns rose before us, standing like ancient sentinels guarding the landscape. Their imposing presence left us in awe as we contemplated the immense forces of nature that had sculpted these formations over thousands of years. We marveled at the intricate patterns etched into the stone, the result of volcanic activity and the passage of time. The cliffs seemed to hold a silent wisdom, whispering stories of the earth’s enduring beauty.

Leaving Gerðuberg behind, we eagerly continued our journey towards the picturesque town of Stykkishólmur. Nestled on the shores of a tranquil bay, the town revealed itself as a haven of charm and tranquility. Its winding streets, lined with brightly colored houses and adorned with vibrant flowers, seemed to invite us to wander and discover hidden gems at every turn. We couldn’t help but lose ourselves in the allure of the town’s architecture, the traditional wooden buildings exuding a sense of history and character.As we made our way towards the harbor, anticipation grew within us. And there it was, a breathtaking panorama that took our breath away. The harbor unfolded before our eyes like a painted canvas, with fishing vessels dotting the horizon and gentle waves lapping at the docks. The sunlight danced upon the water’s surface, unveiling an array of dazzling colors that mirrored the enchanting beauty of Stykkishólmur. We took a moment to pause and soak in the tranquility, listening to the distant cries of seagulls and the gentle rustling of boats. It was a scene that captured our hearts, forever etching Stykkishólmur’s beauty into our memories.

As we lingered in this serene coastal town, time seemed to slow down. We explored the charming streets, discovering hidden nooks and crannies that held secret stories of everyday life. Quaint cafes enticed us with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the temptation of sweet pastries, inviting us to take a moment and savor the local flavors. The locals greeted us with warm smiles and friendly conversations, eager to share their love for the town and its rich history.

Lunchtime beckoned, and we couldn’t resist trying the fresh seafood at a local restaurant. Savory seafood soups and traditional Icelandic specialties delighted our taste buds, refueling us for the awaited adventures. Excitement filled the air as they perused the menu, and their eyes fell upon a tantalizing option: a mouthwatering lobster dish, known for its succulent meat and delicate flavor. Without hesitation, everyone eagerly placed their orders, anticipation growing with each passing moment. As the server approached with the vibrant red lobster nestled on a platter, the friends couldn’t help but notice its unusually lively demeanor.

The friends exchanged bewildered glances, unsure of how to proceed. They had envisioned a delectable meal, not a live crustacean before them. Their hearts filled with empathy, the friends couldn’t bear the thought of the lobster meeting its fate on their plates. In an act of compassion and a touch of whimsy, they hatched a plan. They asked the server to please bring warm clothes, gathering curious looks from the staff and fellow diners. With the lobster now securely nestled in a cozy jacket and tiny mittens adorning its claws, it became their unwitting dining companion turned whimsical pet. Laughter filled the restaurant as guests marveled at the sight of the lobster dressed in its miniature ensemble, strutting around with an air of elegance only a lobster in a charming outfit could possess.

Though their lunch plans had taken an unexpected turn, their compassion and creativity had transformed what could have been a simple meal into an extraordinary tale. Now with their new companion they decided to carry on with their study abroad adventure.

In the afternoon, we ventured into Snæfellsjökull National Park, famous for its diverse landscapes. Volcanic peaks, sprawling lava fields, and the majestic Snæfellsjökull glacier presented themselves to us. We hiked along picturesque trails, drinking in the beauty surrounding us as we immersed ourselves in nature’s embrace.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, we reflected on the day’s adventures. Iceland’s magic had already woven its spell upon us, and we eagerly anticipated the many more wonders that awaited us in the coming days.

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