American academic essay writing is different than Icelandic in a lot of little ways. I notice this often, since I teach the American style but read a lot of Icelandic essays. Basically this means I am mentally editing all the Icelandic essays I read to conform more to the American system.
Right now I am trying to teach my students, most of whom are Asian, the American essay writing style.
One of the biggest challenges with the American essay is coming up with a good beginning. One that isn't too dramatic or over stated (ie: since the beginning of time man has sought the truth of the universe) because that is just forced and inauthentic and too much pressure for one little college essay.