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.
View UMW Trip 2024
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.
View UMW Trip 2023
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.

Day in the Life in Iceland

In this story, I invite you to a day in my life during my trip to Iceland! Please feel free to follow along with the video below

This morning started our first full day in Iceland. We awoke with the sun at the strikingly scenic Arnarstapi Hotel. We began the day with a short drive down to the village area of Arnarstapi. Here we looked off the coast into the vastness of the open Atlantic, the water sparkling blue. We all took a while to wander around, with many of us finding a fun time on the frozen-over late! Brian and I decided to have an epic battle, although it is undecided who truly won. I’ll leave this here and let you decide…

Along this journey, we made a stop at Djúpalónssandur Beach, which is known for its phenomenally and unique rock formations. This place continues to be the spot I found the most geologically interesting, it was truly otherworldly to look at. In the video, you can see what I have been calling the “Circle Bridge,” and you can definitely see why I gave it such a nickname! 

Next to this cliffside beach was also a small playground, which we, of course, took advantage of! Nearly everyone took a turn on the seesaw and relived their childhood days, back before those were taken away for “safety.” How silly. 

Once we left Arnarstapi, the next stop was a small grocery store in the village of Hellnar. We got lunch and gathered snacks for the adventure soon to come. On our way over, we passed the iconic mountain called Kirkjufell, also called “Church Mountain.” This beauty is one of the most photographed mountains in all of Iceland, known primarily for its unique shape. My van group was lucky enough to get to pull over to take some truly stunning photos of it. 

Post grocery run was the drive and arrival to Hvalfjordur, where we would make our great ascent up the mountain to reach Glymur waterfall! Regrettably, I was not one of the ones to make it all the way up to Glymur, due to my decision to walk at a more leisurely pace and truly take in the scenery. There are truly no words I can find to describe just how incredible this hike was. Everywhere I looked was the most beautiful view I had ever seen with my own two eyes…it was shocking in the best possible way. 

As I said, I chose to enjoy this hike at a slower pace than others, but that did not take away from the experience one bit. In fact, I think I appreciated it so much more because I gave myself enough time to soak in every ounce of beauty this mountain offered me. 

Finally, we had to descend back down the mountain, where the vans eagerly awaited us for dinner. Ending the day at a (maybe American-inspired?) burger and barbeque place was just what we all needed after such a tiring and eventful day.

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