By Hendrik Vis
When I first heard of the Snorri program it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with my Icelandic heritage. The only problem was that I found out about this program a bit after the deadline to apply. Luckily this wasn’t a big hurdle and I had no problem being accepted as a participant in the 2023 Snorri program despite my late application. I am truly grateful as the memories I made with my fellow Snorri participants are unique to this year.
I couldn’t have picked better people to spend my time with in Iceland. Every activity in Iceland was so much fun because of the great company. My fellow Snorri’s were all strangers at the start of our trip but it took no time at all for them to feel like friends I had known for many years.
While I had traveled to Iceland once before, I had never travelled for five weeks. The thought of being away from home for so long made me a bit nervous, but I can’t say that I was travelling alone because, throughout every step of the journey, I had my fellow Snorri’s with me.
My five weeks in Iceland flew by so fast as I was experiencing so many great things and got to do so much more than the first time I visited the country. The first two weeks in Reykjavik were amazing: studying the Icelandic language, meeting the President, hiking on Viðey island, exploring Reykjavík, and forming bonds with fellow Snorris. It was a great start to my Snorri experience.
My highlight of the first two weeks was going to my first Icelandic football game. I have been a big fan of the Icelandic national team since I started watching professional football in 2014. It was such a blessing to be able to see them in person for the first time at Laugardalsvöllur.
The first two weeks of our trip came to an end. Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to my fellow Snorri’s for the time as each of our two-week homestays was about to begin.
My homestay was split between two families. I spent one week in Álftanes, and one week in Reykjavík. The homestay period is something I am truly grateful for as it was a unique opportunity to connect with distant family and to form bonds that would be impossible for me without the Snorri program. My host families treated me so warmly. They did everything to make me feel welcomed into their homes as if it were my home as well.
During my second week of homestay, I volunteered at the Reykjavík Zoo. I worked with the maintenance crew fixing and maintaining rides, as well as the buildings at the zoo. It was fun working in Iceland and spending time with the guys who work at the zoo.
My highlight of the homestay was snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier. My cousin was a former tour guide and, because of this, I was given a special tour of the glacier. It was an incredible experience that I would not have expected to have had without the experience of the Snorri program.
I had so much fun during my homestays and truly loved sitting down every evening for dinner and chatting with the families. They did everything to make me feel at home; not just in their home, but also feel at home in Iceland.
A month went by so fast and it was time for our final week in Iceland; the adventure tour that every Snorri looked forward to. The final week was like no other. During our adventure tour, we visited small towns and some of the most scenic places in Iceland. Every hike we went on, every landmark we visited, every museum we explored, was all so special. It was also special to spend this time with my fellow Snorri’s. Eventually, it was time for us to leave Iceland and say our goodbyes on no less than my birthday.
I will look back on my Snorri experience fondly. I will always cherish the memories and the people I shared them with. I’m truly grateful to every participant of the program and all the people who worked hard running and supporting the Snorri program.