Iceland: Nature, Culture, & Design

  1. Program Details

    Immerse yourself in Icelandic culture through studying the nature, culture, design, and arts of this small island country.

    Location Reykjavik, Iceland
    Term May Session (Spring Semester)
    Housing Hotel
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students
    Student Year Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite

    This course will be taught during Spring semester. Participants will go abroad to Iceland for 1 week in May after Spring semester concludes.

  2. About Iceland: Nature, Culture, & Design

    This course will offer you a structured experience to learn about Icelandic culture from afar through presentations, readings, and digital media, followed by direct experience and immersion in the culture, finally culminating in a phase of reflection. Throughout the program, we aim to construct a woven experience of distance and immersive learning, drawing from the “meshwork” ideas of Tim Ingold (Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, and Architecture, Routledge, 2013). The program aims to make the case that design thinking and design making are anthropological acts; this conceptual theme will be the foundation of this course and connection to Iceland through engaging students intellectually for the duration and and physically while on site.

    Course Description

    Throughout the program, you will engage in discovery of what constitutes an Icelandic experience using three lenses: nature, culture, and arts and design. Taking into account the long-standing partnership between the University of Iceland and University of Minnesota, there will be chances to learn with and from students and faculty from the University of Iceland and the Iceland University for the Arts, with possible collaborations with the Icelandic Art Museum.

    You will also engage in learning through creative action as a means of observing, understanding, and connecting to your own experience. This exemplifies a pedagogical approach central to design disciplines where one draws, writes, or makes to understand a context, people, designed artifact, or complex design problem.

    Housing & Meals

    You will live in shared accommodation with fellow program participants. Breakfast as well as welcome and farewell meals are included in the program fee. 


    Excursions may include:

    • University of Iceland, School of Education and other departments where you will have the chance to interact with University of Iceland students and faculty
    • Reykjavik City Architecture and local museums and architectural landmarks, including churches
    • Golden Circle: Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss day trip
    • Glacier visit/walk


    All program participants will take the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight; you will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center about your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Develop independence by challenging yourself in a new environment
    • Function as an effective team member by utilizing your personal strengths in a group setting
    • Explore a specific topic through experiential and interdisciplinary approaches

    Faculty & Staff

    Virajita Singh is an Associate Vice Provost in the Office for Equity & Diversity and a Research Fellow with the Center for Sustainable Building Research in the School of Architecture in the College of Design. As Adjunct Professor, she focuses on issues of sustainability and cultural change in architecture and design.

    About the Learning Abroad Center

    Learning Abroad Center programs are:

    • Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
    • Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
    • Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
    • Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.
  3. Program Structure

    Program Type Instructor-Led
    Program Level 3000-level course

    One 3-credit course

    Course Schedule

    Combine class during the Spring semester with study abroad in May for 1 week, after the semester concludes.

    Spring Semester 2021 course dates: Wednesdays from 3-5p.m.

    Abroad program dates: May 14th 2021-May 22nd 2021



    The assessment of student performance will include a visual journal, blog entries, paper and presentation, as well as course engagement and peer feedback.

    Receive credit for: DES 3406


  4. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Term Program Dates Application Deadline
    Spring semester course & 1 week abroad in May May 14, 2021  –  May 22, 2021 Jan 8, 2021

    Program dates are subject to change.

    If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 16 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.

    On Campus Dates

    Spring Semester 2021 course dates: Wednesdays from 3-5p.m.

    Orientation Dates & Locations

    Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

    See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    1 week in May TBD
  5. Fees for Iceland: Nature, Culture, & Design

    May 2021 ( for 1 week) Cost of Participation forthcoming

    Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. The program fee generally includes educational costs, group flight airfare, program administration, housing, some meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, and local transportation. Generally, our program fees range from $3,500-$5,500. You must also budget for passport and passport photos, most meals, textbooks, and miscellaneous living expenses.

    In the event if traveling abroad is not possible for the program, there will be an international virtual component consisting of virtual visits and lectures. The internatinal virtual component will come with an additional course fee in lieu of the cost of participation mentioned above.

    If you are registered for less than 13-credits or if you are a non-UofM student, you will be charged tuition for this course in addition to the program fee.  Notify the Learning Abroad Center if this applies to you.  


    Billing & Payments

    Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

    Bridging Loan

    Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.

    Cancellation Policy

    Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
  6. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term May Session 2021 (Spring on campus course)
    Program Name Iceland: Nature, Culture, & Design
    Track Name Iceland: Nature, Culture, & Design
    Country Iceland


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.


    After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:

    • Application Essay

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

    Next Steps

    After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.

    Register for On Campus Course

    Your participation on this program is secured by applying and confirming through the Learning Abroad Center application process.

    You will also need to register for the course DES 3406.

    Note: Registering for the course, but not confirming through the Learning Abroad Center, will not hold your spot in the program.

  7. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Roslyn Udairam or call at 612.625.0475.

Passport Information

If you do not currently have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months past your return date, or are still needing to apply for a new one, start the process as soon as possible. Visit the UofM Passport Office website for more information.

Virtual Info Session

Learn more about this program and other Learning Abroad Center May & summer seminars through this virtual info session.

Tuesday, December 15th 11a.m.–12p.m.

More info & registration