Iceland Abroad Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/24/2016 to 12/16/2016 with

University of Iceland: Reykjavík - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Aside from learning a lot at the University of Iceland, I learned about "adult life". Coming from a small college in the US, things like paying rent and cooking for yourself are kind of an afterthought when housing and meals are provided for you. Having to live on my own and cook my own food and pay rent like an adult were a really good growing experience for me.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Compared to Middlebury the University of Iceland lacked rigor, but I had all the academic resources I needed. Even though UI was less rigorous than Midd, I felt that being abroad allowed me to recharge academically.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did not receive living arrangements through my abroad program or the University of Iceland and had to find a place to live on my own. This was difficult, because with the Iceland tourism boom landlords can rent rooms to tourists for 3 times the amount they rent them to students. Some of my friends on my program lived at the campground in Reykjavik for the first week or two of classes until they could find housing.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt fairly integrated into Icelandic culture during my abroad experience. That said, it was difficult to make many Icelandic friends because of the language barrier. It is not that Icelanders do not speak English, but it is difficult to insert yourself into a conversation that is taking place in a different language.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

As an abroad student coming from the US you must obtain international health insurance for the first 6 months you are in Iceland. Middlebury College did provide me a service which was very helpful and what I used while in Iceland. My low rating for this section comes from the fact that the Icelandic authorities were not helpful in telling me if the Middlebury provided health insurance would work in Iceland and when I called the Middlebury health insurance provider they took be in circles and transferred me through various departments. I never did have to use my healthcare in Iceland, so I don't know how things would work if it ever needed to be used.

* Safety:

Reykjavik is an amazingly safe city and I never felt like I was in a bad situation.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Overall my Iceland experience was great! It did have some minor hiccups, but that comes with any study abroad experience. I had always wanted to go to Iceland and I finally made my dream come true through study abroad.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Face it, Iceland is really expensive. It is an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Everything has to be shipped there and all garbage has to be shipped off. Additionally, the country has a really high standard of living.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $215
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook all your own food and shop at grocery stores. Don't buy alcohol at bars. Don't go out to eat. Find a cheap place to live.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Meeting new friends
  • Seeing a beautiful country
  • Personal growth
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Communication between University of Iceland and Students
  • Class rigor
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was sort of forewarned about this, but the visa process is extensive.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Current Crustal Movements

Course Department: Earth Science
Instructor: Páll Einarsson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Class lacked rigor, but overall I did learn a lot from a very experienced professor. The field trips made the most of Iceland's wild landscape.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intro to Geophysics

Course Department: Earth Science
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Professor was in his first semester of teaching and threw too much information at us students at once. While this class was listed as an intro class, much of the material was at a much higher level than introductory. We had problem sets each week that made up 10% of our final grade, a lab report was 10%, and the final exam was 80%. The final exam was intimidating for me, but was one of the most fair exams I have ever taken.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intro to Iceland Geology

Course Department: Earth Science
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The best part of this class was the 5 day field trip at the beginning in August. We got to see amazing parts of Iceland that I would not have seen otherwise. The in class part of the course was not that exciting, but I would recommend this class just because of the field trip.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Anthropology of Iceland

Course Department:
Instructor: James Rice
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was by-far my best class in Iceland. James had great lectures every day and I learned a ton about Iceland and Icelandic culture. I had friends that took other Icelandic culture classes and heard mixed reviews, but I would highly recommend this class. We had one final essay and one final exam that made up our grades, along with a class participation grade. I would highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to enhance their Iceland experience.
Credit Transfer Issues: