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Culture Shock



Author: Hope Knútsson, Reykjavík, Iceland


Hope Knútsson is a psychiatric occupational therapist, who grew up in the United States and moved to Iceland after marrying Einar Knútsson in the 1970s. She recently shared this article, which appeared in an earlier version, more than 20 years ago, in an Icelandic newspaper called Foreign Living. She updated the article for a social media group serving immigrants in Iceland and it caught our attention here at Lögberg-Heimskringla. Hope’s reflections speak directly to the challenges faced by immigrants, both in Iceland and here in North America, while reminding those of us who are descendants of immigrants that our own ancestors faced similar challenges upon their arrival in North America. We publish it here in the hope that it might be helpful to other immigrants, wherever they are, and with the wish that it might help the rest of us to be kinder, more understanding, and more helpful towards the immigrants who are our neighbours.
Culture shock is often experienced by immigrants in their struggle to cope with an unfamiliar environment. Some or even much of the behavior the person has acquired in his or her home culture proves useless in the new culture.  . . .


“Voices of Earth” concert brings anniversary year to a close

Photo: Sandra Somerville

Author: Stefan Jonasson


First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg drew its 125th anniversary year to a close with a musical concert at the church on the evening of Saturday, January 28, 2017. The church was founded as the First Icelandic Unitarian Society on February 1, 1891, and the congregation used the entire year to celebrate this important milestone. While the evening paid homage to the congregation’s anniversary, it included strong echoes of the mystical beauty of the earth and featured Canadian composers in the opening month of the year in which Canadians celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The highlight of the concert was the premiere of PJ Buchan’s anthem, But If In Your Thought, which was commissioned by the congregation to mark its anniversary.  . . .


Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening

Photo: Stefan Jonasson

Author: Emma Young, Mosaic Science


Young people on a school outing in ReykjavíkIn Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years. Emma Young finds out how they did it,  and why other countries won’t follow suit.
(Reprinted with permission from Mosaic Science (https://mosaicscience.com/story/iceland-prevent-teen-substance-abuse) through Creative Commons (CC-BY 4.0) licence.)
It’s a little before three on a sunny Friday afternoon and Laugardalur Park, near central Reykjavík, looks practically deserted. There’s an occasional adult with a pushchair, but the park’s surrounded by apartment blocks and houses, and school’s out – so where are all the kids?
Walking with me are Guðberg Jónsson, a local psychologist, and Harvey Milkman, an American psychology professor who teaches for part of the year at Reykjavík University. Twenty years ago, says Guðberg, Icelandic teens were among the heaviest-drinking youths in Europe. “You couldn’t walk the streets in downtown Reykjavík on a Friday night because it felt unsafe,” adds Milkman. “There were hordes of teenagers getting in-your-face drunk.”  . . .




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