If you’re looking for a unique study abroad experience that will wow your friends and provide you with memories for a lifetime, Iceland is the place to go! Imagine the adventures you will have exploring the land of the midnight sun, with its rich history and unique culture, while making new friends and even learning some Icelandic.
Iceland offers a plethora of natural wonders for students to explore, including glaciers, waterfalls, geysers and volcanoes. Just as interesting and rewarding is the country’s capital, Reykjavik, whose copious culture reflects its long history and Nordic roots.
Continue reading for more information that will help you begin planning your adventure studying in Iceland!
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Even though the number of study abroad opportunities in Iceland is fairly limited, it’s still important to do a lot of research and choose a program that is just right for you! It’s especially important to consider which program will support your own academic and social goals for your study abroad experience. Here are some specific factors to consider.
Iceland’s universities offer a variety of programs for foreign students in many different disciplines, including the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The sciences, including geology and environmental science, are particularly strong owing to Iceland’s unique natural setting.
Although Iceland’s official language is Icelandic, 80% of the country’s population speaks English. Most study abroad programs in the country are taught entirely in English. This is great news for students who only speak English but are looking for an enriching and eye-opening study abroad experience. However, if one of your main goals is learning and immersing yourself in a foreign language, you might want to consider another destination.
Many foreign students studying in Iceland live in college dormitories alongside native students. This provides an incredible opportunity to meet new people and to learn about the country’s culture and traditions.
Another housing option is to live in a homestay with a family. This will allow you to learn a lot about Icelandic culture, food and language. It will also provide you with a great community and support system. If you are looking for more independence, renting an apartment with other students is also a great option.
Foreign students from a country outside of the European Union are required to obtain a visa before studying in Iceland. It can take up to 8 weeks for your visa paperwork to be processed, so make sure to plan ahead.
Social Life and Student Culture
Iceland is known as a very open and welcoming country with strong communal ties and a firm belief in equality. The country’s culture is deeply rooted in Norse traditions, which influences many of its cultural forms such as literature and music. Iceland’s weather conditions also provide the perfect opportunity for many extreme sports, including ice climbing and alpine skiing.
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Iceland’s largest and most populated city is its capital, Reykjavik, which is the most northern capital of any country in the world. Often considered one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world, Reykjavik is the perfect spot for a stress-free and enjoyable study abroad experience. The city is renowned for the University of Iceland, which provides a vast array of classes, taught in English, to foreign students.
Fearless students looking for a more adventurous study abroad experience should consider participating in a program in one of Iceland’s smaller towns, like Hafnarfjörður or Akureyri. Often isolated and rather sparsely populated, these towns may require an adjustment but also provide an excellent opportunity for independence and a chance to fully immerse oneself in the natural wonders of Iceland.
- Blue Lagoon: One of the most-visited destinations in Iceland, this geothermal spa provides bathers with pure water and mineral-rich mud for the perfect spa experience.
- Gullfoss: This stunning waterfall is often considered the most beautiful in Iceland and is a must-see for any nature lover.
Contributed by Hannah Long
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