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Summer Abroad Iceland - On Site

Thermodynamics in the Land of Fire and Ice


Students share (2-3 students per room) accommodations in cozy Viking-themed cabins, in a small fisherman’s village, located on a relatively remote peninsula about 5 miles from downtown Reykjavik. Hlid is a beautiful waterside area near the President’s residence with rolling hills, golf, and much Viking history. A local bus system connects to downtown Reykjavik and students have the option of renting bikes for the month to assist with freedom of travel.

The community room nearby serves as the classroom and internet is available. Laundry services are limited, so students should only expect to do laundry once or twice on the duration of the program.

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange alternative lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners, and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


All breakfasts and dinners will be provided at a buffet facility near your housing in Hlid. Weekly lunches will be on your own. All meals are provided when on excursions and overnight trips. Food options are limited on the peninsula so students are encouraged to shop in Reykjavik to maximize food affordability and choice.

Food in Iceland is truly unique; learn more. Vegetarian and vegan options are easily accessible.

Excursions & Activities

During the regular week, class meets in the mornings. Your afternoons are usually free, so students are welcome to take the local bus into downtown Reykjavik to explore or study. Due to the variability of weather in Iceland, some activities may be altered during the program.

Past program excursions and activities have included:

  • Hengill and Krafla geothermal powerplants
  • Field trip to aluminum manufacturing plant with Hydroelectric facilities
  • Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Natural excursions to see local wildlife
  • The Arctic circle to experience the midnight sun
  • Glaciers at Vatnajökull (formerly Skaftafell) National Park
  • Ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón
  • Local museums on the history of Iceland

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in optional field trips to the Blue Lagoon, snorkeling, whale watching and many others (not included in program fees).

Get to Know Your Destination

From Lonely Planet—Iceland:

Iceland is, literally, a country in the making – the natural elements work in harmony to power its veritable volcanic laboratory: geysers gush, mudpots gloop, Arctic gales swish along silent fjords, stone towers rise from the depths of an indigo sea, and glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields and the merciless tundra. The sublime power of Icelandic nature turns the prosaic into the extraordinary. A dip in the pool becomes a soothing soak in a geothermal lagoon, a casual stroll can transform into a trek across a glittering ice cap, and a quiet night of camping means front-row seats to either the aurora borealis’ curtains of fire, or the soft, pinkish hue of the midnight sun.

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

This program will require students to walk a lot (2-6 miles per day). Students are encouraged to speak with their Program Coordinator or the instructor if they are concerned about the physical requirements of the program.

Student Experience

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