Nane Manukyan pictured with a friend
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PSIA Student Spends Semester Abroad in Iceland

2 min read

Nane Manukyan (PSIA ’22), a graduate student of the American University of Armenia (AUA) Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program, spent the Fall 2021 semester at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik as an Erasmus+ exchange student. She returned to Armenia full of enthusiasm and determination to continue pursuing her educational goals.

Although the PSIA program offers several study abroad opportunities in different European universities, this was the first time that Iceland was added to the list of available options. Comparing her experiences at AUA with the University of Iceland, Nane noted that both institutions enable students to acquire skills through theoretical knowledge and practical experience and that professors in both universities grant students ample opportunities to freely express their ideas and critically analyze any given topic. 

“The unique distinction at the University of Iceland was having the chance to become familiar with various perspectives on the same topic through the insights and comments of my peers. Coming from different backgrounds, each of them offered their individual input in discussions drawing from their experiences, unique cultures, and societal norms. This multicultural educational environment certainly expanded my outlook and confirmed the notion that the interpretation of any topic largely depends on individual perceptions,” explained Nane.

Nane’s stint in Iceland was her first relatively long educational experience abroad, which challenged her to get out of her comfort zone. However, both the atmosphere at the university and the warm welcome of Reykjavik made her feel at home. Besides her university experience, Nane was particularly impressed by Iceland’s nature: active volcanoes, natural glaciers, hot springs, and ice caves. “We traveled through the country, and every time I was amazed by the captivating beauty of the country,” she remarked.  

“Studying at the University of Iceland as an exchange student has been one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences of my life. Enjoying the peaceful and breathtaking nature of Iceland, meeting inspiring young people from various backgrounds, and learning from renowned scholars motivated me to strive for excellence in everything I do. Studying abroad helped me gain profound knowledge and expand my outlook, become more open-minded, and experience the unique characteristics of other cultures. This life-changing semester in Iceland has indeed strengthened my confidence both personally and professionally. I am positive that the knowledge, social network, and memories of my Icelandic experience will guide me through all my future endeavors,” said Nane.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.