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International Summer School in Modern Icelandic Language & Culture

Dates: July 530, 2021
Application Deadline: February 15 of each year

Each year the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Iceland, organizes an International Summer School in Modern Icelandic Language & Culture. Two kinds of programs are offered: in person and online. Classes in person are held in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, at the University of Iceland campus near the city center. Online language classes are held as live streams via Zoom. Additionally, recordings of online lectures on culture, history, art and literature are accessible through the university's intranet.

Although the summer school is primarily intended for university students of language and literature, anyone interested in the language and culture of Iceland is welcome to apply. Applicants must have completed at least one year of university level studies. Additionally, applicants may not be residents of Iceland.

Approximately 40 participants are accepted to the in-person program and approximately 17 to the online program. Language classes are taught in two groups, organized around the participants’ previous knowledge of Icelandic, which will be determined through an online placement test given before the start of the summer school (see Prerequisites below).


Completion of the course Icelandic Online 1, which is available free of charge on the website of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, is a prerequisite for participation.

Participants’ Icelandic language skills will be determined with an online test following the deadline for applications. The placement test takes about one hour and must be completed within a 10-day period after it opens.

The application deadline is February 15 each year.

Course Description

Participants will receive 80 hours of instruction in language and cultural studies organized into four classes per day. This breaks down as 70 hours of instruction in grammar, language exercises and reading and 10 hours of lectures about modern Icelandic society and culture.

As part of the the in-person program, two excursions are planned to sites of historical and geographical significance. In addition, participants will have the opportunity for guided tours at the National Museum, the Culture House, and the Alþingi parliament. (Note that these plans are subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions). 

The online program, however, cannot include the excursions and museum visits for obvious reasons.

Classes are scheduled five days a week, Monday through Friday, in the morning and early afternoon. Attendance is mandatory. Note that restrictions due to COVID-19 may be in place during the program.

Teaching for the online program is organized according to the different time zones of participants, but most likely they will be scheduled in the afternoon hours in Iceland, which will enable participants from other time zones to take part during the morning (Americas) or afternoon/evening/night (Europe and Asia).

The language of instruction is primarily Icelandic, but English will serve as a secondary teaching language.

Participants in the in-person program have access to the university's computer labs during the day. The university's wireless network will also be available for them. 

Participants in the online program will need to ensure that their own technology is in working order, including a PC and a reliable Internet connection as well as peripherals like headphones, microphone and webcam.

A certificate will be granted upon successful completion of the summer school (the program's credit may count up to 10 ECTS at the BA level). In order to successfully complete the program participants must score a minimum grade of 5 (on the scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is the lowest grade and 10 is the highest) on the oral and written exam. 

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee for the in-person program is approximately EUR 590, while the fee for the online program is approximately EUR 380 (please note these amounts are subject to change and based here on the exchange rate as of Aug 26, 2018). The tuition fee for the in-person program covers instruction, lectures, photocopied teaching materials and excursions. The tuition fee for the online course covers instruction, lectures and online teaching materials. Please note that tuition fees are non-refundable.

Register for program with credit card payment here.


For the in-person program, basic accommodation (including spacious but shared bedrooms) can be arranged for those who wish. (Due to COVID-19, availability may be limited and we may not be able to accommodate all participants, but we will try to assist everyone).

Participants arriving early will need to arrange for their own accommodation until July 5, when the university accommodation will become available. University accommodation will be available until noon on July 31.

Meal plans are not available, but lodgers in university accommodation have access to kitchen facilities. Please note that smoking is strictly prohibited.

The fee for university accommodation is the equivalent of about EUR 650. Payment is due in ISK at the same time you confirm your registration in the summer school. Payment is made online using the institute’s secure system (see link above).

Please note that university accommodation is for participants only. It is not possible to accommodate family and friends of participants.

Participants will receive their address and directions to their university accommodation along with the rest of their course information before arriving in Iceland. Keys will be provided upon arrival by either the owner of the accommodation or the institute’s staff.

Application form