It is my third week in Reykjavik, Iceland and I am settling into my working routine. I have been given my own office in our downtown location (see photo), and outside are benches, statues, and subsidiary plazas of the city square, creating an inviting environment both inside and out of the office for my day-to-day walks, lunches, and of course, research.
Yet it is not only Reykjavik charms that lie in and out of the office, but my research itself. Having independently researched international human rights law for the past year, I drafted a research proposal before embarking on my travels here. I thought I was prepared for the topics of interest I would study and the exact mechanisms of international law that could be at play. However once I arrived, I took my research “out of the office” and began talking to locals, engaging in art exhibits and the local music scene, and studying the island’s history by taking myself on tours of its natural and sociological past. I soon learned a multitude of the attitudes and environments here on a wide range of topics which helped me shape and tailor my research to what is uniquely Icelandic. Features of Icelandic culture, like their complete absence of a military and robust practices of gender equality, have been striking and cannot be left out of any research publication I draft while here.
There is more to learn — both inside and out — and I cannot wait to see what I find.