Skip to main content
Start of main content.

The University of Iceland | A student's perspective

About the University of Iceland

Written by Andrea Jonsdottir, Exchange student from the University of Iceland, 2019.

The University of Iceland is located in the center of Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík. The university was founded in 1911 and started with only 45 students. Today, there are about 12,500 registered students, making it the oldest and largest university in Iceland.

The University offers all different kinds of programs. It is split into five different schools, those being the School of Health Sciences, the School of Humanities, the School of Education, the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, and the School of Social Sciences. These schools are then split up into 25 different faculties. The School of Social Sciences is the most popular one, with about 3,500 students. It contains Law, Business, Social Sciences and more. I myself am in the Film Studies program at the university.

Many of the courses are taught in English, so if you decide to go on exchange to Iceland, you don’t have to worry about knowing Icelandic. If you do however want to learn some Icelandic and get to know more about the Icelandic culture, the university offers a course called Icelandic - The Basics. Only about 350,000 people speak Icelandic, so it would be a pretty cool party trick to bring with you back home.

My favourite thing about the University of Iceland is the social life, the teachers and the location. The social life is great, there are a lot of fun events which a lot of people go to, the teachers are really helpful and often the classes are small so you can have a good conversation with them, and the location of the center of Reykjavík is just beautiful, no matter the season. I would really recommend the University of Iceland to anyone.

Student life on campus

Every program has a student association that you can sign up for. Those associations host parties, events, beer nights and field trips, which is a great opportunity to meet new people. I would definitely recommend signing up to your association because they are always great fun and also give you an opportunity to hang out with your classmates outside of school and get to know them better.

There are quite a few international students at the University of Iceland. About 1.300 international students are either exchange students or studying full term, which makes up about 10% of the enrolled students.

Student housing

I live off campus close to the center of Reykjavík, but student housing is available. They recently just upgraded it so the waitlist should not be long. You can even get a place with your friend, if you wanted to go study abroad in Iceland together.

The approximate cost for student accommodation is around 85,000 Icelandic krónur or about 980 Australian dollars per month. That might be the cheapest option if you want to live close to campus, and close to the center of Reykjavík. Rent for other accommodation in Reykjavík can get really expensive, so I think student housing is the best. Also, you can walk to school which is really convenient.

Reykjavík is a really safe city in general. We don’t have a lot of crime or violence, so you pretty much always feel safe there.


Reykjavík is a beautiful city. It is quite small compared to other major cities, but it has everything you need and more. There are a lot of different places to eat, cool bars and cute stores.

Reykjavík also has a lot of different events, especially concerts. Music is a big thing in Iceland. Famous bands like Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men, KALEO all had their start in Iceland. There are also different kinds of festivals, Secret Solstice being the biggest one, live events, competitions and more. If you love good music, Iceland is the place for you.

If you live close to the university or near the center of Reykjavík, you don’t really need a car. Maybe a bike would be a good idea in the warmer seasons. Otherwise, everything you need is pretty much within walking distance. Most buses also run pretty much 24/7, so if you need to get anywhere outside of the city, perhaps to the shopping mall Kringlan, you can take the bus.

If you want to travel around Iceland, you might want to consider renting a car. But be careful! It can be difficult to drive in the harsh winters in Iceland. If you do, just make sure you know the traffic rules, where it is safe to stop and take pictures, etc. Also make sure that the roads you want to take are open, sometimes they close for safety reasons.

Cultural differences

In general, I would not say there is a huge cultural difference between Australia and Iceland. Everyone in Iceland speaks English and there are a lot of different people from all over the world living and working in Reykjavík. Icelandic people are more often than not very open minded. Icelandic people might seem a bit closed off at first, but when you start talking to them they will open up and get out of their shell.

Destination: Iceland

Choose from more than 80+ destinations and go on exchange while earning credit towards your Bond degree.

Learn more

More from Bond

  • How Sushil's arduous journey to Bond spawned an education powerhouse

    Sushil Sukhwani was driven to Bond University by the spirit of adventure shared by so many early Bondies and he typifies the sense of entrepreneurship that has become part of the academic DNA of the place.

    Read article
  • A construction degree for the digital age

    Bachelor of Design in Architecture alumnus Ryan McKillop explains why Bond's Master of Building Information Modelling and Integrated Project Delivery was the clear next step to accelerate his career.

    Read article
  • To the uni student who feels like something is missing…

    Starting university is an exciting time, but for Charlotte Gibbs, her first experience at a big uni interstate just didn't feel 'right'. After visiting Bond and the Gold Coast, though, things immediately clicked into place.

    Read article
  • Using iPhones to film a national documentary | BTS of 'Child Boss' with Rob Layton

    Assistant Professor of Journalism Rob Layton details his experience as a Director of Photography on a new documentary shot in Byron Bay – using only iPhones and iPhone accessories, and the power of mobile journalism.

    Read article
  • What student life at Bond is really like | Aaliyah from Canada

    Future Student Liaison and Juris Doctor student Aaliyah digs deep into the real student experience here at Bond, from the best Gold Coast activities to why you should get involved with clubs.

    Read article
Previous Next