Iceland: Nature, Culture, Arts, & Design
Immerse yourself in Icelandic culture through studying the nature, culture, arts, & design of this small island country.
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.
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.
- 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.
One 3-credit course
This is an on-campus class during the spring semester. On-campus Spring Semester 2022 course meets: Wednesdays from 3-5p.m. (class day & time subject to change) on East Bank. Abroad term: Spring Break 2022.
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
Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
|Term||Program Dates||Application Deadline|
|Spring Break 2022||March 4 - March 13, 2022||December 1, 2021|
Important Note: This program departs for Iceland on Friday, March 4. If you have any class on that date, you may need to miss them in order to travel.
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 25 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 2022 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.
|Spring Break 2022||TBD||TBD|
Spring Break 2022 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-$4,700. You must also budget for passport and passport photos, most meals, textbooks, and miscellaneous living expenses.
If you do not see a budget estimate for the term you intend to go abroad, the fee has not yet been finalized. We strive to post fees for this program at least 30 days prior to the application deadline. The Learning Abroad Center will delay the posting of some fees until enrollments, inflation and exchange rates are determined. Note the average increase in fees will be 3–10%. Program fees are based on estimates and may change depending on international economic factors.
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, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.
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.
Be aware: Learning Abroad Center programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.
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.
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.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email to