Author: Ramona Weiskopf
Reviewer: Philipp Wurm
University of Iceland
Tel.: +354 525 4000
Teaching Practice – 4 ECTs
Introduction to English Language Teaching – 10 ECTs
Pedagogy – 10 ECTs
Icelandic Culture and Nature Legacy – 10 ECTs
(I would recommend this class because here you learn a lot about this country and you have lots of interesting excursions.)
I did an Erasmus semester in the winter semester of 2014 in Iceland. It was a great experience and I wouldn´t like to miss all the positive impressions I´ve made in this country. I met a lot of people from all over the world and after my stay I still have contact to them.
For me, everything was a bit different and also a little bit difficult, because I was an exchange student in the first year of Erasmus+. So, I had to register twice and I couldn´t do a lot of things that should have been done before my stay abroad. But that was not because of the university in Reykjavik, but as a result of the organization of Erasmus. It is a lot of work to change the whole program, so don´t be afraid if something doesn´t work or if you don´t get all your material that you need immediately.
If you want to do an exchange semester in Iceland, you should have some money left. For the rent you have to pay about 350-450€, if you take a location from the university page. They send you this list, if you choose to get it in your application. But if you want to have a good accommodation, you should be very fast in answering the landlords.
At the beginning the exchange rate from Euros to Icelandic Crowns (1 Eur ~ 150 ISK) is very unfamiliar, but you get used to it very fast. Not only the rents are expensive, also grocery shopping and especially clothes and so on are more expensive then in Austria. When you need food, you should go to Bonús. This is the cheapest way to do grocery shopping. Sometimes you pay 100% more for equivalent products in non-discounters. Of course sometimes they have a higher quality, but if you are on a budget, Bonús is the best way.
I would recommend to have a credit card, if you go to Iceland. First of all your purse will get very fat immediately if you carry all these coins that you get if you pay cash all the time. Secondly nearly no one in Iceland pays cash. Even if you go to a bar, nearly everyone pays by card. The third reason is to have a credit card to fill the tank of a car. In the gas stations outside of the capital, most of the time it is not possible to fuel without a credit card. You should have a credit card with a code, otherwise you can’t use the self-service gas stations outside of Reykjavik. (This is of course irrelevant if you don’t plan to make trips with rented cars – but why wouldn’t you?)
Learning the language – language course
Learning Icelandic isn´t easy. Before I went there I learned the language with the help of Icelandic Online (http://icelandiconline.is/). That´s a superb preparation. I also did a language course in august in the westfjords. That was great. I can recommend this course to everybody. First of all you meet a lot of people from all over the world and I profited from that the whole semester. In this course I found friends for my whole time in Iceland, but also long friendships arose. This language course is not cheap. You have to pay 500€ for the course and 500€ for the accommodation. But in my opinion it´s really worth it.
You get to know new people easily. The people there are very open minded. You can also party well in Reykjavik. But for that you have to wait until the weekend. During the week the many bars and pubs are only opened until 1 AM, but Fridays and Saturdays Icelanders and exchange students party hard. Nearly all of Iceland’s youth is downtown. A pint of beer costs around 1000 ISK (~ 6,70€). If you want to have cheaper beer you should get the “Appy Hour”-App. There you can find the happy hours for all the bars in Reykjavik and it’s always happy hour somewhere. There you can get your pint starting from 350 ISK (~ 2.30€).
Trips and freetime
I had to go to university three times, sometimes four times, a week, so I had a lot of time to discover this beautiful country. I rented a car with some friends, because that´s totally affordable in Iceland in the winter season. You can also hitch-hike easily. The people are very friendly and you don´t have to be afraid.
Some places you should absolutely visit when you are in Iceland:
All in all this time in Iceland was one of the best in my life. I don´t want to miss all the impressions and experiences. In my opinion everybody should do such an exchange semester. You become more independent and more self-confident and you meet new friends from all over the world.
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