Office of International Programs

Travel - Honors

Iceland - Honors Abroad


HON 195 (3 credits)

Traditional Cuisine: A Comparative Analysis of Food-Centered Culture and Histories in Maine and Iceland

Tentative program dates: May 13 - June 3, 2019

*Students will travel to Iceland May 17-27 (tentative dates). The rest of the program will be held in Maine where students will reside in the dorms on the Gorham campus.

This course explores cultural meanings attached to various food practices, including how personal identities and social groups are formed via food production, harvesting, preservation, preparation, and consumption. Through various genres of writing, informed by field research in Maine and Iceland, we will use a foodways approach to better understand how traditional cuisines are related to identity, politics, economics, globalization, and environment. Specifically, we will examine the traditional cuisines of these two places through four lenses or frameworks: 1) history/tradition, 2) natural resources/environment, 3) consumption/appreciation, 4) harvesting/preparation. 



Daniel A. Panici Ph.D., Department of Communication & Media Studies,

Daniel Panici has led previous sections of the Iceland Honors program. He received his Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communication at the University of Missouri (1989), Master’s Degree in Communication at Colorado State University (1986), and Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Business at Augustana College (1983). Daniel joined the USM faculty in 1995 after teaching for six years at 
Berry College in Georgia.

Daniel primarily teaches mass media and mass communication courses including: Introduction to Media Studies, Writing for the Media, Theories of Mass Communication, The Effects of Mass Media, Television Production, and Media Studies Senior Project. Daniel also teaches Introduction to Communication and Research Methods courses.

Daniel has published numerous articles on a wide variety of mass communication topics including: college radio and television, new media use in classroom, media education, service learning, and writing strategies for media. His current scholarly interests explore the use of case studies in mass media courses, media use and childhood development, and news framing of mental illness. Daniel also serves on the Editorial Board for the journal Mass Communication and Society and reviews manuscripts for the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

Daniel has received the University of Southern Maine Faculty Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Stephen H. Coltrin Award for Excellence in Communication Education from the International Radio and Television Society. He also received an Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Presidential Citation for outstanding service as Head of the Mass Communication and Society Division.

Daniel’s leisure pursuits include gardening, golf, and drumming circles. 


Dennis Gilbert M.F.A, Department of Communication & Media Studies,

After receiving his M.F.A. in fiction at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Dennis Gilbert parlayed an interest in fine food into an alternative career as a chef. In the ensuing decade, he earned acclaim for his innovative cuisine and wrote extensively on food, cooking, and restaurants for Portland Magazine, Yankee, and Time/Life Books. While he continued to publish fiction, he also began writing poetry; Cormorant Diving, a in a fine arts letterpress edition, was published in 1990 by Muse Press. A growing interest in the interdisciplinary studio led, in 1993, to Insular Harmonies, a collaborative multi-media installation for which he wrote the script and which was supported by the NEA’ s New Forms Initiative. At about this time, his work with word/image dynamics turned him toward the visual arts. He began painting in 1995 and has shown his work in Portland and New York, as well as at USM, the University of New England, and Maine Maritime Academy.

Professor Gilbert has been a member of the faculty at USM since 1983. He has also often taught writing in public schools under the Maine Touring Artists Program and has been a guest faculty member on a number of occasions at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. For six years he was director of the Bates College Summer Program in Creative Writing.

An active member of the various service communities, Prof. Gilbert is a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Television Network, a long-standing advocate for USM’ s Part-Time Faculty, and a perennial contributor to the ongoing evolution of policy and curriculum at the university.


Scholarship Information

The program fee (airfare, accomodations, cultural and academic excursions, ground transportation, most meals, and international insurance) and cost of tuition for three credits are supported by scholarship funds. Students are responsible for the cost of some meals and spending money for souvenirs and incidentals.

Eligible students:

  • Have declared the USM Honors minor, carry a GPA of at least 3.3, and successfully completed at least one HON class.
  • Have a valid passport (with an expiration date no earlier than 6 months after expected return to the US) or be in the process of applying for a passport. A photocopy of the front page of your passport must be submitted to the Office of International Programs prior to departure. Photocopies must be high quality and recognizable. Faxed copies are not adequate.    
  • Must complete the application process outlined below.



The application deadline is March 15, 2019.

A complete application includes all of the following:

  • Signed, completed application form*
  • Attach a 500-word essay (typed, double-spaced) addressing these three prompts:

    1. a) How does this specific short-term travel program relate to your academic program in general?
    2. b) Discuss what you will do to prepare for the time abroad between now and your program departure date.
    3. c) Discuss the challenges you might encounter while abroad as a student and visitor in Iceland.
  • Copy of your current resume (contact the USM Career Hub for guidance)
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member or academic advisor (recommendation may not come from the faculty member(s) leading this course nor the program director)
  • Official copy of USM academic transcript(s)    

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Submission of this application does not constitute acceptance into the program. You will be notified about the status of your application by the end of March 2019. Once accepted, you will be automatically registered for the course, and corresponding scholarship funds will appear on your student account. If your application is not accepted, or if USM cancels the program for low enrollment, you will be notified via email.

To turn in your application items, you can:

  • Email them to 
  • Turn them in to 101 Payson Smith on Portland’s campus
  • Mail your completed application to:

Office of International Programs

101 Payson Smith Hall

PO Box 9300

Portland, ME 04104