Distance Learning Abroad: The good fortune of this earth…

After her A-levels Anna went to Iceland and spontaneously decided to stay there. The Icelandic natural scenery and her love of horses tipped the scales. In order to fulfil her dream of her own hotel in her adopted country, she has now started a distance learning programme at the IUBH University of Applied Sciences.


I am Anna, am 23 years old and live in Iceland. In Akureyri to be exact, which is in the north of the island. With 18,000 inhabitants, after Reykjavik and its suburbs, it is the country’s fourth largest city.

Iceland wins you over with its natural scenery and relaxed mentality

Today I can no longer say how I originally wound up here from my home in Hamburg. It definitely had something to do with horses. And the incredible natural scenery already fascinated me back then. Even if the decision to stay here in the summer of 2016 was more than spontaneous, it was nonetheless the best decision I could have made. So I can definitely say why I stayed here or will stay here.

One reason I feel so happy here is the mentality of the people, their way of dealing with life. In contrast to Germany, life here is significantly slower and more relaxed. This does me good and suits my idea of life. Besides, I really like the language. It is unbelievably difficult to learn Icelandic but I really did well. After two years I can speak the language more or less fluently, which gives me a big advantage on the job market.

Flexibility in an Open University course as an advantage and a challenge

Back then, having just arrived, I worked in a small guest house in the country. After that I spent one winter training colts for a horse rental company. This work in the tourist industry got me looking for a subject in this field. I was unable to study at an Icelandic college because this would have been full-time and I could not have paid my way like that. So my choice was a distance learning programme at IUBH. I can even write my exams online and don’t have to travel to Germany each time, which would be both expensive and exhausting. The online concept of IUBH suits me very well.

However, all the flexibility of a distance learning programme also presents a particular challenge in finding enough self-discipline to study independently for the exams. In doing so, I am very careful to also allow myself breaks, which I usually spend with my horses. That gives me balance, relaxation and at the same time a sporty activity.


A future in Iceland’s tourism industry

At the moment I am working in a hostel with a restaurant in the centre of Akureyri, but will be starting at a larger hotel in the summer. I hope this will give me more experience for my studies and my career. After that I would like to successfully conclude my studies and gain a lot of work experience on the side. In the long-term I would like to open a small hotel in the country and also incorporate my horses.

I have no doubt that I will not go back to Germany. I don’t miss much. Of course I miss my family sometimes but since I met my boyfriend last autumn, and now live with him and his family, I am only sometimes alone and am very happy with my life here.


Anna is 23 years old and has been studying Tourism Management at IUBH Distance Learning since November 2017. She likes to spend her free time with her friends in the hot tub, over coffee in their favourite café or she takes a weekend trip to the closest waterfall.

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