Breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultural events and pristine nature panoramas make for a perfect summer vacation.

Students from left,

From left, Cody Stepanek, Caroline Schooler, Jordan Miller, Scott Kaiser, Professor Massey, Tucker Wilkinson, Aaron Schneid, Paul Henry and Danny Doyle stand in front of Skogafoss Waterfall in Southern Iceland.

Nine students joined Professor Aron Massey for just this type of trip as the study group traveled to Iceland.

Leaving Pittsburgh on July 17, they flew first to Boston, then on to Iceland, arriving in the capitol of Reykjavik City about six hours later.

WLU students in the group included: Daniel Doyle, Paul Henry, Scott Kaiser, Laken Lambert, Jordan Miller, Aaron Schneid, Caroline Schooler, Cody Stepanek and David Tucker Wilkinson.

“I learned about the music and culture of Iceland while taking a geography class with Professor Massey, so when he presented the opportunity to go experience the culture in person and I couldn’t pass it up,” said Henry, who is a rising senior with his career sights set on urban planning.

Henry continued, “The two most exciting things I saw were a waterfall called the Golden Waterfall and the glacier that we hiked. In addition to those two unique sites, I really enjoyed climbing up a crater volcano that some of us went down into after reaching the top!”

Watching for whales is just one of the thrills WLU College of Liberal Arts students enjoyed in Iceland.

Watching for whales in the fjords near the city of Akureyri are Professor Massey, Caroline Schooner, Laken Lambert and Cody Stepanek.

Massey went on a similar trip when he was a graduate student, so he knew the benefits of the small country, about the size of the state of Ohio.

“When I went, we saw so many things, so close together. Our days were packed full of great experiences. Iceland offers a real opportunity for students because you don’t spend all the time driving. There are just 20 minutes or so between waterfalls, volcanoes and amazing landscapes,” he explained.

Iceland is a Nordic country between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. It has a population of 325,671, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe, according to Wikipedia.

“The travel trip to Iceland tied in perfectly with our students’ interests. The class enjoyed seeing unusual landforms, interesting weather and a very different culture,” he said.

Iceland is known for adventure and offers hiking, birdwatching, Northern Lights, whale watching, caving and more. Rugged terraine and unique geography makes Iceland a perfect outdoor classroom.

They traveled by bus, with a local tour guide during the nine-day trip. Every two nights the group moved to a new destination. Weather was chilly but pleasant with the low around 40 degrees.

Students could receive credit for the trip if they completed the coursework for the class, “Geography of Iceland,” and three of nine students took the opportunity to gain three credit hours for the summer trip.

West Liberty University students also had the chance to enroll in three other travel trips this summer with destinations that included the United Kingdom, Costa Rica and the Florida Keys.


Students are looking into the gap between North American and Eurasian plate. Since Iceland is located along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge it means they are in Europe looking back toward North America.

“Students who have a chance to explore the world and study abroad during their college years have a distinct advantage over those who miss the chance. We are pleased to offer these opportunities for our students,” said Massey.

Geography is just one program offered by the College of Liberal Arts. As the intellectual heart of the University, the College offers many major and minor programs of study that appeal to students with a passionate curiosity about particular subjects and an interest in establishing fulfilling careers.

The Department of Humanities offers majors in English, English Education and minors in French, Spanish, Philosophy and Religion.

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers majors and minors in Appalachian Studies, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, History, Interdisciplinary Pre-Law, International Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Social Studies Education, Social Work, and Sociology.

For more information, please call 1.866.Westlib.