Iceland is known the world over as one of the most breathtaking countries you could possibly imagine, with geography so contrasting that you’re sure to see its vistas all over postcards and calendars. If you love the outdoors, then relocating to Reykjavik for your international exchange is a fantastic idea. All throughout the year, you can expect to engage in activities like ice climbing, hiking, caving, scuba diving and so much more! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the people are friendly, and you’ll be sure to make friends with the locals in no time!
Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the entire world. Its location aside, Reykjavik is ideal for the students who like to be immersed in a myriad of social and cultural events, while surrounded by exciting options for dining, nightlife and shopping. Plus, if you love galleries and museums of all sorts, you can feast on everything from Viking relics to exhibitions centered around modern and contemporary art.
The diversity of Reykjavik’s architecture is simply stunning. On the same street, you might see historical stone buildings and innovative constructions that are modern marvels, such as Hallgrímskirkja, a beautiful new cathedral, or Harpa, a state-of-the-art concert hall.
And although Reykjavik offers plenty to see and do, it is one of Europe’s smallest capital cities, meaning that it is both safe and easy to get around in. Laugavegur is the main street, and it’s where you’ll find the vast majority of restaurants, bars and shops. You’ll never have to go far to find what interests you! The city has a unique draw, making it easy to see why incoming international students just flock to Reykjavik for exchange programs.
The official language of Icelandic is an Indo-European language, part of the North Germanic languages group. Icelandic is very similar to Norwegian and Faroese languages, with a noticeable Celtic influence, especially when it comes to literature. Of course, English is also widely spoken, especially amongst the younger population.
Reykjavik is located in the south western area of Iceland and its weather can often be considered quite mild. The areas along the coast are also greatly influenced by the warmer temperatures in the Atlantic Gulf stream, really creating a pleasant climate.
The average temperature for Reykjavík is about 5°C. The average temperature in January is -0.4°C, with 11.2°C being the average for July. On the southern coast, the average rainfall generally reaches 3000 mm, but in the highlands, which is the area located north of Vatnajökull, you can expect less than 400 mm on average.
The people of Iceland celebrate most of the regular Christian holidays, but they also observe an independence day.
Below are the most well-known holidays in Iceland (dates for 2018):
Iceland’s Independence Day is held each 17 June and is often also referred to as Icelandic National Day. This holiday pays reverence to the moment in 1944 when Iceland became a republic and officially gained its independence from Denmark.
The reason to choose this day for celebration is Jon Sigurdsson’s birthday, who was an iconic figure in the 1800s and began the movement for Iceland’s push for independence.