There are some aspects of Iceland that will be familiar to Pacific Northwest students who choose to study at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik. The Icelandic landscape is marked by volcanoes and hot springs, Icelanders enjoy a relatively mild winter and cool summers, and residents of Reykjavik can fish for salmon within the city limits. Other aspects of Iceland might feel like they are taken directly from a Nordic saga. The medieval Icelandic dialect of the sagas is similar enough to today’s language that ordinary people can read the original texts. The eerie and beautiful aurora borealis is visible nine months of the year. Iceland is so far north that from May to July there is nearly constant daylight. This contrasts with nearly 30 days in Winter with 19 hour stretches of darkness. 


Find classes here: Icelandic Academy of the Arts subject areas 

The Icelandic Academy of the Arts is located in Reykjavik–Iceland’s capital and largest city. The population of Reykjavik including the suburbs is only 217,000. The Academy was founded in 1998 and consolidated the Iceland School of Drama and the Reykjavik Arts School. It is located in the city center near the largest visual arts museum in Iceland and the Hallgrimskirkja–a Lutheran church that is one of Iceland’s best known landmarks. 

Icelandic is the main language of instruction for the bachelors programs and English is the language of instruction for the masters. There are courses in Icelandic language available for exchange students. Only 35 spaces are available for study abroad students and the number of applicants typically exceeds available spaces. 

The academy provides numerous majors in Design, Architecture, Theater, Dance, Fine Art, Arts Education, and Music. 

There is an orientation for international students organized by the Student Services and International Offices. The orientation includes introductory meetings, a campus tour and a crash course in Icelandic.


Students find their own housing, either in private apartments or rooms rented from landlords. There are rental service agencies that can assist students and the school also maintains a Facebook page to help students with their housing search. 


Fall semester is late August through mid-December. Spring semester is mid-January through mid-May. 


Students pay Willamette tuition and can use their usual funding. Additional scholarships for study abroad are available for this program. Students are responsible for the costs of their own room and board.  

Pre-departure Resources

Willamette University

Office of International Education

Global Learning Center
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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