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  • Day12

    Context and Culture

    May 24, 2019 in Iceland ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    20) In regards to the contextual factors, talk about one and what you learned while we were in the country that helped you understand that factor in more depth?

    The economy of Iceland is a huge contextual factor when viewing leadership and the country itself. Iceland had an economic collapse in 2008 that affected virtually everyone in the country. Banks and businesses were going bankrupt and many struggled financially. The boom of the tourist industry in Iceland helped the country recover. I did not realize prior to visiting the country that tourism is the main source of income for the country now. I assumed fishing was still the largest industry. Staying in Reykjavík allowed me to see how many stores and businesses rely heavily on tourists for profit, as there are streets upon streets of stores for tourists to buy t-shirts, sweaters, hats, and more. The increase in tourism also explains one reason for why so many Icelanders speak English fluently, as the shop keepers interact with tourists every single day and practice speaking the language often.

    In regards to the culture factors, talk about one and what you learned while we were in the country that helped you understand that factor in more depth?

    Food and the nutritional diet of a typical Icelander were very interesting to note while visiting the country. Prior to traveling, I understood that there was much more fish in the diet than I was used to, but I did not realize how utterly different the cuisine was. When we visited the grocery store, beef and chicken—which are staples in the American diet—were limited in availability and the prices were quite expensive. Instead, I was able to try many different fish options which were all unique and some were tastier than others. I also did not realize how popular lamb was in their diet. It was quite common to find lamb on a restaurant menu; yet, this factor makes sense as sheep are common livestock in the country. Many of the fresh fruits and vegetables in Iceland are imported into the country due to the difficulty of growing them in the harsh environment; however, upon visiting the Friđheimar, we learned that some produce is grown with greenhouse technology. Tomatoes grown in the Friđheimar tasted just like tomatoes we have in America but they were fresher and local, as they were grown right there in the restaurant. It was a unique opportunity to experience Icelandic cuisine and note the stark differences between it and American cuisine.
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