Language & Culture
Iceland's official language is Icelandic, the Nordic language. Icelandic is an ancient language that has changed little over time. It also doesn't use loan words. Instead, new words are created from related words that already exist. As an example; the word for 'computer' comes from the words 'prophet' and 'number'.
Icelandic may only be useful in Iceland, but it opens the door to a rich history and culture. If Icelandic is proving difficult for you, don't worry. Most Icelanders are fluent in English and have no trouble using their second language to talk to you.
Part of Iceland's appeal is the great outdoors. Like Canada or Russia, Iceland has beautiful, pristine countryside miles away. During the summer, Icelanders often spend weekends camping or outdoors. Some even catch fresh fish for a real outdoor adventure. In winter, Icelanders tend to live closer to home but still visit local glaciers and trails. Of course, if there was an eruption, people would go watch it.
Icelandic winters can be harsh. Make sure you have a strong, warm coat and a good pair of snow boots. Outside of Reykjavik, the snow isn't always clear, so make sure you plan your route ahead of time.
During summer, buses and buses connect the island. But once the tourists leave, so does a lot of transportation. Buses run in winter, but it's best to drive if you're heading somewhere.
Iceland also boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Walking at night in Reykjavik carries much less risk than in many other capital cities. As for terrorism, the risk is very low in Iceland. It has no recent attack history or plot.
Iceland boasts some of the most unique landscapes in the world. Whether it's dramatic black rock in summer or snow-covered in winter, this is a great place to study abroad.
Guide for International Students
Iceland is an island nation located on the edge of Europe. From its icy volcanoes to its black beaches, Iceland is a place that captivates the imaginations of people around the world. But Iceland is also a great place to study abroad. If you want to study in Iceland, then this handy guide is for you.
Iceland's small population is concentrated in the capital city of Reykjavik, so this is where most international students reside. Reykjavik is also the heart of Iceland, from interesting museums, unusual architecture, to the City of Science.
Apart from its great opportunities for international students, Iceland is also an interesting place. Its remote location to the north means that it is home to unusual geology and landscapes found nowhere else. After all, watching a volcano erupt from a glacier is quite an unusual experience. This makes Iceland an excellent place to study natural sciences.
Iceland is also home to Icelandic, an ancient language with words and phrases not found in any other language. The Icelandic language has not changed much over the centuries, giving you a gateway into Scandinavian history.
Education in Iceland
Iceland's most prestigious school is the University of Iceland, located in Reykjavik. Reykjavik University, Akureyri University, located in the northeast, and Bifröst University in the west are also excellent schools. Other major schools include the Agricultural University of Iceland, which specializes in agriculture in the far north, and the Icelandic School of Energy, which specializes in renewable energy.
Iceland is part of the Bologna Process. That is, higher education is divided into three levels:
- First Level - this is the undergraduate level. A bachelor's degree takes three or four years to complete. Some subjects, such as medicine or engineering, take a full four years.
- Second Level - this is the postgraduate level. Master's degrees take one to two years to complete. Some part-time courses can take three years to complete.
- Third Level - this is the doctoral level. Most PhDs take three to five years to complete. It depends on what you study and whether you teach while researching or not.
Iceland is also part of Erasmus. Through this scheme, you can pursue your qualifications, or even internships, abroad. This means you can study abroad while studying abroad!
Iceland's student community is small but vibrant, attracting large numbers of people from all over the world. Most Icelanders are also very fluent in English, adding to the international feel of student life there. The student scene is fairly integrated, meaning you'll eat, drink and have fun with the locals, adding to your Icelandic experience.
Student Visa & Permit
Iceland is part of the EEA. This means that if you are from the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you can freely enter Iceland and stay as long as you like. If you are not from one of these countries, you may need a visa to study in Iceland.
If you go to Iceland for a short course, you can stay up to ninety days without a visa if you are from a visa-free country. If you stay longer, then you definitely need a visa. To obtain an Icelandic student visa, you will need the following:
- Your Passport
- Two passport size photos
- Proof of payment of fees. The visa fee is 6000ISK (US$50).
- Complete application form. You can find it here.
- Proof of admission to your program
- Clean copy of criminal record
- Proof of health insurance. This must include a minimum of 2,000,000ISK (US$16,000)
- Proof of financial independence through bank statements
If your document is not in English or Nordic, it must be submitted with a notarized translation. Since documents can be submitted in English, this makes things a lot easier.
Once you are in Iceland, you must obtain a residence permit. You can do this at the Immigration Directorate in Reykjavik. Your permit allows you to work up to fifteen hours a week. Finding a job in Reykjavík without knowing Icelandic is possible, but it can be more difficult elsewhere.
Your permit also allows you to travel as a tourist around the EEA, EU and Switzerland, excluding Ireland. Since the Icelandic visa is a Schengen visa, you must enter the area via Iceland. As an example; You cannot enter Schengen via Paris with a visa issued by Malta. Fortunately, there are plenty of transit flights to Reykjavik via the UK and Canada.
Housing & Cost of Living
The Nordic countries are known to be expensive; this includes Iceland. This means you should budget carefully while you are there.
Since most students are in Reykjavik, this fee will reflect the cost of living in the capital city.
Some of the average cost of living (in UTI and USD) are:
- Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment): 200,000ISK ($1650) *
- Utilities (monthly average): 13,000ISK ($110)
- Monthly public transport ticket: 13,000ISK ($110)
- Food (cheap restaurant): 2,500ISK ($20)
- Coffee: 580ISK ($4.80)
- Milk (1 liter): 180ISK ($1.50)
- Vegetables (1kg): 300ISK ($2.50)
- Eggs (dozen): 730ISK ($6)
- Water (1.5 liters): 280ISK ($2.30)
- Chicken (1kg): 2000ISK ($16.50)
- Wine (bottle): 3000ISK ($25)
- Bread (bun): 480ISK ($4)
* Many students in Iceland choose to live in dormitories or in shared accommodation. In Iceland, dormitories are known as corridors.
You can also drink tap water in Iceland, so you don't need to include this in your daily expenses.
Excluding rent, the average cost of living in Reykjavik is 160,000 ISK ($1300) per month. As in many other countries, rent is usually calculated as a separate expense.
As for healthcare, it is universal in Iceland. Sometimes there is a small fee to use, but for the most part it is free and to a very high standard. Your residence permit allows you to access Icelandic healthcare. You just need to go to the surgeon you want to apply to, fill out the form and then wait for the confirmation of your registration. Private healthcare is available in Iceland, but is still accessible through public hospitals and health workers.
Iceland is also a very automated country. Cards and contactless payments are accepted everywhere. In fact, some places don't accept cash. Some Icelanders don't even carry cash on a regular basis. Make sure you bring a bank card that works overseas.