We are proud to have this UM Partner program with University of Iceland available to our students! While the main language of instruction at the university is Icelandic, several courses are taught in English, especially in the humanities, social sciences and earth sciences. You must take a majority of classes in your declared major; studying abroad in your senior year will give you more course options.
University of Iceland offers a mentor program, pairing you with an Icelandic student who helps orient you to life at University of Iceland and Icelandic society. Their International Office offers advising and general support services, and you can take advantage of library and computing facilities, as well as enjoy the university cinema, gymnasium, and student services division. The modern student service building houses a cafeteria and is the focal point of campus.
Room and Board:
Most students need to make their own housing arrangements off campus. This can be a difficult and lengthy process, but the University of Iceland does provide some resources to assist. Few exchange students will be placed in the on-campus dormitory, which has single rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens. The dorm is an easy walk to classes and about a 20 minute walk to downtown.
Fall: Mid-August to mid-December
Spring: Early January to mid-May
Founded in 1911, today nine schools comprise the University of Iceland, which is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world. Regarded as the preeminent university in Iceland, its enrollment is about 14,000 students. The method of instruction and evaluation varies by course, but in general you can expect the majority of your grade to come from the final exam.
The number of courses available in English in each academic area changes semester to semester. Since University of Iceland requires students to take a majority of classes in their major, you need to look carefully to make sure there are enough course offerings in English in your major for the term in which you intend to study abroad. Note that classes listed as 'undergraduate/graduate' are only available to students in their senior year. To view course offerings, go to the Prospective Exchange Student page, scroll down to 'Useful Links' and click on 'Single Courses taught in English for Exchange Students'.
Academic Areas: (these areas typically have offerings in English)
Iceland Credits = UM credits
1 ECTS credit = .5 UM credit
Iceland is an ideal location to spend a semester or year studying abroad; an extremely safe country with a population of about 330,000 and an area about the size of Kentucky, you can quickly feel at home with your new surroundings. About two-thirds of Iceland's population live in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, which in addition to being the home of University of Iceland, is a charming, colorful city and the northernmost capital city in the world.
A former Danish colony, Iceland became independent in 1944, and in the 1970s, schools switched over to learning English as their first second language (instead of Danish). Today, the majority of Icelanders speak very good English (and usually 1 or 2 other languages as well!), and you will not encounter any difficulty in the main cities and towns. Even though most Icelanders speak many languages, they are very proud of the Icelandic language as well; there is even a government body tasked with protecting it. Icelandic is thought to be the closest language to that spoken by the Vikings, which makes sense, considering that Vikings and Irish monks were Iceland's first settlers.
There are two phrases that you will invariably hear while in Iceland. One is, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." As a small, northern island, Iceland's weather changes quickly based on the current and winds of the day; you as a person can't influence it, so don't worry about it, just relax for a few minutes and it will change! The other common phrase is "Þetta reddast", which basically means it will all work out. These two phrases and their meaning can provide a small insight to the Icelandic culture.
Iceland is highly ranked in the World Happiness Report, and interestingly, their ranking actually improves when considered 'happiness equality', or the variation of happiness levels by socioeconomic status. Iceland has made news for being the first country to require employers to prove they are abiding by the equal payment to men and women laws that have been on the books but not enforced for about 50 years. In 2016 and 2017, Iceland ranked number one in the world for gender equality, measured by education, health, work force and political empowerment.
In addition to the many outdoor pursuits, Iceland has a thriving arts culture; there are fantastic murals and sculptures around Reykjavik, about 1 in 10 Icelanders will publish a book, and live music is everywhere. In fact, you may already be familiar with Icelandic bands/musicians you didn't know were Icelandic: Sigur Ros, Asgeir, Bjork, mum, or Of Monsters and Men.
Iceland is also known as the Land of Fire and Ice, and you can find these extremes all over Iceland, from the ice caves to volcanoes, glaciers to hot springs, Northern Lights to the midnight sun. These exceptional landscapes have led many films & TV shows to shoot in Iceland, including Game of Thrones, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Star Wars, Interstellar, and Fast and Furious 8.
Iceland has so much to offer; you can ride Icelandic horses, do a glacier walk, snorkel or scuba between the tectonic plates, go inside a volcano or ice cave, swim in a geothermal pool, play on a black sand beach, go on a whale watching cruise, and so much more. Reykjavik has a plethora of great museums; the Harpa Concert Hall is home to several festivals as well as the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and The Icelandic Opera. If you're a Beatles fan, be sure to check out the Imagine Peace Tower. If you have questions about attending this UM Partner Program, please contact Jess Driemeier for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.